Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From Kandahar, Afghanistan, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  All of us wish we could be home with our family sharing this day.  I especially wish I could spend it with Barby and Violet.  However, I am very thankful to be alive by God's grace and mercy today.  I'm thankful for a country that allows us freedom and for the cost so many before us in uniform have paid to make us free.  I'm reminded of the first pilgrim thanksgiving and some of the foundational and patriarchal traditions that were passed down from it.  Thanksgiving is a time to remember.  May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and your family today as we are also reminded to be thankful for the price He paid for us on the cross in our place.

Me about to enjoy the spread of food. We had a US Military only 'dinner' serving time of 11am-12:30pm at the DFAC I went to, so it was a big lunch.

Gary Sinise serving us

Me with Gary Sinise

Me with Kristy Swanson and Kevin Farley

Giant cake that says 'Hanks Giving'! Thanks Hank! Not sure if someone took the T or if this is what they really meant. Reminds me of poor English translations we see of other languages.

Eagle ice sculpture. Not sure how they kept it ice...

Sunset on Thanksgiving.

Viewing North. It's mostly always blue sky and sunny. We don't get too many cloudy days around here.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy 3 Year Anniversary!

November 18th, 3 years ago, Barby and I were wed!  Happy Anniversary my beautiful precious dove!

This is me the morning of the 18th:

Smoking the really nice cigar Barby sent to me:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kandahar Update

Kandahar is an interesting place. I wish I could explain or show all the different and weird things that go on here. Crazy things also. Especially since this base is a coalition/joint operated base. I'm keeping a journal, so maybe once this deployment is over will I be able to share more. War is hell.

After living in a nasty transient tent (nastier were the latrine and shower containers), a couple weeks ago we were moved to a 20 person tent just for the guys in our unit. That was a little more comfortable and secure. Even better were the cleaner latrines and showers, plus good hot water. We were relatively comfortable there, but yesterday we found out there was permanent housing for us guys in the MOD container buildings! These are long, single level container buildings with about 7 6-man rooms plus indoor plumbing. They saved 2 rooms for us 12 guys.

Yesterday we spent the better part of the morning moving our stuff over and trying to rearrange the furniture in the room. Each 6-man room comes with 6 beds ready to setup as bunk beds, 4 large wall lockers, 4 night stands, and a small fridge. The number of beds and wall lockers don't add up, that's what we thought. We believe the rooms were really meant for 4 people. However, there is enough room for all 6 of us to be relatively comfortable.

In re-arranging the furniture we ended up setting up 2 single beds, and 2 bunk beds. The guys who got the top bunk got a wall locker in exchange for being on the top. I am on the top of a bunk, so I have a wall locker. It is a nice trade, actually. I am really glad to finally be able to spread my things out and organize them in the place that we will stay living in. We were tired of moving around. Unfortunately, the fridge had leftover food that had been sitting in it while unplugged for about 2 months and had molded over pretty good. We regretted opening it how strong the smell was from it. That got put outside.

The MOD housing also come with good LAN line internet connections ready to be setup. Today I went to the internet shop and finally got a decent internet connection to communicate home. It's crazy, actually, the different prices for the packages don't compare to what we pay and get in the states. We are getting ripped off here, honestly, but we are at least able to get a connection. The packages are $35, $70, or $100 per month (30 days). The lowest package connection is about 80 down/30 up kbps, middle 120 down/60 up kbps, and highest 120 down/80 up kbps. I got the middle, $70, package. We are paying a lot for what we get. I hope I will be able to Skype good enough on it. I think I will for sure be writing a lot of these 'work' expenses off on my taxes after I am home next Summer.

About a week and a half ago it started to get a lot cooler at night, and even during the day. It still stays pretty clear blue skies and sunny during the day, but it is in the 60s or 70s usually. At night it's been getting in the 30s. We've been turning the heat on during the night and the days now. We have these really slick AC/Heater units that help keep the temperature good. I've never heard of the brand Chigo before, but they honestly make a pretty good small unit that does AC and heat. We really haven't seen many clouds here also unlike back home in Seattle right now. It's weird because it kinda feels like a late winter in Eastern Washington.

The holidays are going to be interesting around here. I'm not quite sure what we are going to do. I know we will, at least I will, make the most of it.

I have a few more photos from around here. I will put some more up soon, now that I have good internet. To be honest, there doesn't seem to be as many interesting things to take pictures of here in KAF compared to BAF. Maybe I just haven't explored around here enough.

Tomorrow, November 18th, is Barby and I's 3rd year anniversary! I really wish I was home to celebrate with her. We are trying to make the most of it while I am away.

Any help anyone can bring to Barby and Violet would be greatly appreciated. Especially through the holidays.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Photos of Kandahar

Here is a link to my Picasa Web Album with some photos of Kandahar.  I am thankful for the LAN line connection that I am able to use while here for a day in Bagram.  It used to be in my b-hut room, but now I am living in Kandahar.  Thankfully while I crashed here for the day in that same room I was able to use the connection.  It would be nice to have a connection like this in KAF.  Enjoy some of the photos.