Growing up in the southwest has exposed me to conversations where language was a huge road block. I’ve also been fortunate enough to do my fair share of traveling with the same issue coming up. I’ll be the first to admit that not knowing any other languages is a fault. I try my best to pick up little things when I go to a country so I’m not completely lost. Having said that, there is one other thing I understand; just because you yell it in English does not change the fact that it’s IN ENGLISH!!! I’m baffled by people that seem to think that when a person from another country doesn’t understand them it must be because I didn’t say it loud enough. There is a scene in Scrubs that sums this up perfectly when Carla’s supposedly non-English speaking brother portrayed by Freddy Rodriquez looks at Turk and says “Yeah, well that yelling it slower and louder isn’t as helpful as you might think!” This goofy practice first really hit me in ASL class. When my professor forbid us from finger-spelling or spelling out in sign what we were trying to say. He would tell us “If I asked you to tell me what an apple was, how would spelling A-P-P-L-E would help me?” That’s the truth, in a nut shell we assume that we can force feed our message by hammering someone with volume. Why?
Monday, October 24, 2011
Ok, so it doesn't sound like i'm whining the whole time on here I wanted to add a plus list. This place has been a great experience for a lot of reasons. here are a few:
- Money, Money, Money.......... MONEY!!!!! Yes I get a pretty amazing pay check. At the end of this year I will be debt free, own a bunch of new and cool stuff and actually have a savings. This is the first point in my adult life I don't count the days to payday because i'm broke. Its the primary reason we are all here and for those who have something to say, they are always hiring.
- Becoming more of professional: Lets face it, college is in no way the real world. As a matter of fact I think the way people now live from 18 - 24 is very far from being an adult. I never really had to deal with office politics like this, where my decisions have real consequences and I need to keep tabs on things. I have extra responsibilities and I have people I have to report to. I don't know if I have a career coming out of this, only time will tell. However I feel more like a working adult than I ever have before.
- Travel!!!!!! Lets face it, I enjoy using the quote "not all who wander are lost." for a reason. This year I will get to see 6 countries and a handful of new cities. I might get to see United at home, Dublin for St. Patties and Sweden. I'm never done the serious relationship thing, I've never settled down, but travel has always been my thing. So this year is going to give me something I have always wanted.
- A better understanding of what is going on in this part of the world. It's funny to think back now at all the conversations in class about how we as a country were effecting a country. How we as a nation are hated. Some people are ASSHOLESSS!!! And hated for a very good reasons, but I don't thing the rage is quite at the level most people think it is. Especially since we poor money into these countries like nobody's business.
- Absents makes the heart grow fonder. I think I will learn more about myself this year than I have in a long time.
- I've lost 20lbs in 10 weeks and I can see it continuing. It would be nice to return to my high school weight. I was getting kinda sick of looking fluffy.
So there you go, not all bad. :)
- Good Mexican, Cajun, Italian, and pretty much every other type of food you can find in the states. I've dropped about 20 pounds since I've been here and I don't think its just a lack of alcohol or having to walk everywhere.
- Fast internet. Yeah, Yeah, I get that i'm in a war zone. But shit, I'm having flashbacks to dial up days.
- My family: I was lucky to have a truly amazing family. I'm very close with both of my siblings as well as my folks. I miss talking to them everyday, and being able to vent. I miss having a beer with my brother at odd hours and the conversations about everything and nothing at all.
- Having a toilet and shower in the same building I sleep in. What a pain in the ass, to have to considered if i really need to go THAT bad. Anytime taking a pee involves putting shoes on its already to much work.
- Not living near a flight line.
- Not having to plan a run to the store, because it involves two buses and half a day.
- I miss not having to smell LN's and OCN's. If you are familiar with the title, then you know what I mean.
- Having anything in my life other than Work, eat, sleep, work, eat, workout, sleep. Being in this place feels like you feel off the edge of the world. Thank god for social networks, DSN lines and email because I don't know how I would handle this without. As much as I have traveled I have found that i'm very attached to my life and world in Texas.
- I miss having my own room. I can honestly say I would be ok with a roommate, but god I need my own space.
- Conversations that don't involve missing home, missing food, missing pretty much everything I'm listing. Most people either talk about how shitty work is or how much they miss _________.
- Lazy Sundays.
- Living with a dog, it was nice and I plan to buy one upon my return.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
One of the HUGE, MASSIVE, ENORMOUS perks of contracting is Rest and Relaxation. So where do I go? I’ve got have a grand total of a month off and I’m thinking I will follow the recommended pattern of using 2 weeks after every 4 months. I really could go anywhere, but at this point I’m looking at 1 of 3 options.
1) I could follow through with my original plan and find some sunny beach south of the Equator. Spend 10 days at some dream resort having drinks, getting tan and generally just relaxing myself out of existence. This is very appealing for the obvious reasons and it isn’t such a bad plan. However, after doing a little research it’s tough to pick where exactly I would go. I have looked at the Maldives, Fiji and Australia. All are very beautiful, exotic and I’m sure would make for a wonderful week. However, I’m think it will be money better spent on the second trip to England and Ireland.
2) If the schedule works out I might be able to meet my Dad in Germany for a few days and then maybe head to Sweden for a few days. While I have been to Germany, I have never been with money. That alone would be a nice change of pace and open up a few more things to do. Sweden is also been on my list of places to see and visit. I have a friend in Stockholm so it’s not like I would have to discover the city alone. Plus it would be nice to see a couple familiar faces without giving up the 35% pay bump I get from being overseas.
3) It might be cool to meet with Jimmy if he does go somewhere exotic in December. Not sure about his plans or thoughts so this is by far and away the least thought out plan. Again it would be great to hang out with someone, especially my brother. Plus Brazil seems to be at the top of his list of plans so that could prove to be an amazing trip. Guess we will just have to wait and see on this one.
The trip I’m going on in the spring is already loosely planned out, which is nice. I’m headed to Manchester to live out a sports dream and go watch United play at Old Trafford. This alone is going to be worth the long days and unique situation I find myself in. But to go with the amazing experience of the game, I’m also going to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. OUT OF CONTROL! I had a blast in Ireland the last time I went and it will be awesome to spend that day in the mother of all St. Patty’s day drinking towns. To top the whole thing off my buddy Robbie is gonna make the trip across the pond and join me. So it will make for a great couple of weeks.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Things are not going to go your way all the time. That’s it, that’s all I have for today. Seems trivial and it belongs in the *duh* stack doesn’t it. Yet every day I deal with someone who somehow believes they are special and desire special treatment. Now, you don’t know unless you ask and I truly believe that. Ask, get your answer and then move on. People who whine and act shitty when they don’t get their way are the Bain of my existence. Life sucks sometimes, DEAL WITH IT! I’m not asking you to enjoy it. I’m not telling you that you’re stuck with whatever your problem is. What I am saying is by trying to make it everyone else’s problem you are a piece of shit; Plain and simple. What did you expect coming to a war zone, and getting a free place to stay?! While I believe this applies to more than just my current living situation I want to address this specifically. I cannot stand people that have to bitch about something that literally thousands of others have dealt with. We have been in this country for over a decade. You are not special in that you stay a) on a top bunk; b)a room with others; c)a small dirty area; or d) lacking a lot of the other luxuries of living in the states i.e. cable and internet. Because let’s face it, if you don’t like your job quit! None of the whiners are military, its people making 100k+ that could bitch about winning the lotto. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok I’m done now.
For those of you that follow the true football whoareya.com is a great site to get some non licensed T-shirts. My favorite by far is a United shirt that says “MUFC not arrogant, just better.” That leads me into the point of this little blurb. Sports teams, who do you, cheer for? Who do you follow? I love sports. Love to watch; love to play them; and I LOVE to talk about them, but having said that I don’t really have a “team” for every sport. First and foremost I am a Manchester United Fan to the core. Outside of Futbol I cheer for the Texans, UNT, and started following the Rangers while I was attending college in Denton.
MANCHESTER UNITED- There is only one UNITED and that is the truth for me. I know a lot of soccer fans that will follow a team for each league and I can understand that. But if they are not Manchester United or the US national team….. Can’t both teams lose? I'm not really sure how I ended up cheering for United, its just always been that way. I remember running home the final day of 8th grade to catch the last couple of minutes for the '99 Champions league final. I got to watch both goals live and will always remember that game. Of course nothing beats seeing them play live. I was lucky enough to catch them in LA in 03 and I'm planning a trip with my friend Robbie to the Theater of Dreams next spring to scratch off one of the top to do things on my sports bucket list.
U.S. National Team- America Fuck Yeah! Pretty much how I feel about international sports in general. If there is a sport going on that the U.S. is involved in i'm cheering for them. I grew up a military brat and one of the benifits of that is a strong sense of national pride. While my primary focus of this is the our soccer team, I will dawn the Red, White and blue for any sport.
HOUSTON TEXANS- I enjoy the logo and the fact that they are a team from Texas not named the Dallas Cowboys. I was a fan of the cowboys as a kid, but that has faded with the emergence of Jerry “the GM” Jones. I am a player’s guy, in that I don’t care who the owner is. The less I know the better, so if I can give a short speech on you it’s because I DON’T LIKE YOU! Plus let’s face it, the NFL is about the only league you have to have a team to cheer for. The fact that so far all i've told you is I hate the cowboys should tell you how deep my loyality lies. Having said that i'm trying to become a better fan. We'll see how it goes.
University of North Texas- I am a fan of the University of North Texas because they have all of my money. Well at least they will after this year is over. I really enjoyed my time there and I will always be happy I went. Plus this is the only team I can point to and say “SEE I’m not a fence rider!” Hopefully a new stadium and a new coach will breathe some life into those lungs up in Denton.
Its been a great start for all the above mention teams and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
One of the more interesting developments so far in my job is the working relationship I have developed with my office's TCN’s or OCN’s. If you are a current/former contractor or are familiar with the term Third Country National (TCN), but have no idea what an OCN is let me enlighten you. I guess recently someone felt that it was offensive to refer to someone as being from the third world. So the term Other Country National or OCN was developed in its place. After all we need to remember that we are to conduct ourselves in a politically correct manner at all times. Discovering this and teaching my father the new term got me thinking about the “Greatest Generation.” How our military's conduct is perceived by people past and present. I wonder how the WW2 war effort would have been received by today’s media and PC culture. I mean today we have to make sure we respect every part of the culture of not only the host nation, but the enemy combatants as well. Let’s skip over the much longer conversations about the accepted and encouraged treatment of the enemy and local nationals of the country each soldier happen to be fighting in. Because let’s face it, people would think we sent monsters to secure freedom if they really understood the SOP for getting information out of people in prior conflicts. Things like treatment and abuse of POW while on the move and in our possession has become a big focal point. We also have made it a big issue to prevent offensive terms and names from being used. I just don't find it fair that this generation has to be mindful of everyone's feelings, yet they are somehow less than the their counter parts that coined the term "Kraut". I just find it funny that people can so lovingly address former generation of soldiers as being greater than this one, but they didn’t have the hoops to jump through that today’s soldier must face. Now, I am in no way saying they are any less heroic for their past accomplishments. They truly made the world a better place. I guess I am just tired of older generations talking down to the current one, because no matter the accomplishment it is somehow pale in comparison to theirs. Whether we are talking about previous wars, the good old days, or the 72 dolphins people seem to jump at every chance they get to say “nope, it was tougher when I did it!” I think we can all agree each generation faces issues that are unique to them and will never be replicated. That’s a good sign though, because we are evolving as a people and hopefully moving toward a better life. *sigh* Hopefully.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I'm wrapping up my first week as a contractor in Bagram and I've been told this blogging might keep me sain. Well, lets just say I won't get any crazier. If nothing else it will help me keep a mental record of all the crap i'm going to be dealing with this year. I can honestly say no matter how this plays out I will always be grateful for the chance to experience something as life changing as this year will be. In the past two weeks i've experienced a brief prep into living in a war zone, a weekend in Dubai and falling asleep to the sound of fighter planes and gun fire.
Well I'm going to keep this short, mostly because I haven't thought of anything to say other than I need to start something constructive. *shrug* hopefully more to follow