My travel companions:
2. Journal with inspirational travel quote on the front
3. Three Cups of Tea - book about a dude who built schools in Afghanistan
4. hideous eye mask that makes me look like a dorky super hero (CVS didn't have any cute ones)
5. Super soft pashmina from India that can also be a blanket/pillow/head scarf
7. "Big G" - Lucky elephant from Gretchen's trip to India (I was going to call him Ganesh, because I remember Nitisha had elephant figurines that are an Indian god who removes obstacles, but I'm not sure if that would be offensive to call him that, so I've just named him Big G).
So leg one of my trip is finished! We're in Kuwait! I'm proud to say my luggage was exactly 50 pounds! Woot! No overage charges! (well I had another one that was 30 pounds, and had my mom send some boxes ahead of time, what I'm going for a year!) Flight was fine minus the guy next to me chewing tobacco and I didn't sleep at all. We got in and there was a woman waiting to help us through getting our visas and going through customs. Then they took us on a shuttle to the hotel. We check in, finally take a deep breath and then all 5 of us had the same thought. Uhhhhh guys, what do we do now?! I was nervous for about a half an hour until Dustin knocked on my door and said that Ferron was here to debrief us. Ferron is the USO liason in Kuwait to help us get everything done. I love USO people. Everybody acts like going to Afghanistan is no big deal. Ferron said, oh yeah was there last week. People in the headquarters in Arlington when I would joke and say yeah come visit, they'd say, oh we wish we could, actually I might be there in November etc. When I say hey come visit to my friends and family they think I'm nuts! It helps to have some people who downplay it, keeps me grounded and my head on straight. Speaking of nice USO people, they threw us an impromptu going away shindig with cookies and cake before we left. Hugs abounded and they all said the same thing, "We're so glad you're leaving!" (not that we stunk, well at least I hope not, but because they knew we were itching to go out in the field and do our jobs).
I had an interesting thing happen in the bathroom in the Kuwait airport, bear with me, it's a good story. I couldn't figure out how to turn the water on. I thought, oh great, 5 minutes in and I already look like an ignorant American. A woman in a burka came out of the stall and looked at the faucet and we both giggled and then she said, "Yeah I don't know how to turn the water on either." She then pulled her veil over her heavily made up eyes and then offered me part of her burka and said, 'Here to wipe your hands." I politely declined and said I had antibacterial in my bag. It was so nice.
Well, I'm going to go try to figure out how to turn on the shower. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers everybody!