It's true. I could possibly be married to an Albanian, unbeknownst to me. Have you seen any Albanian Special Forces lately? They are these crazy strong, bearded, intimidating, arms bigger than your head, speak barely any English, look like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast men. Yet, they are all incredibly sweet, well mannered men. Well at least my future children will be able to lift my couches up as I dust under them. Anyway, I digress. So yesterday I was the French PX waiting on my chicken baguette with cheese and mango freeze. This is no DQ syrupy freeze. They actually put real mango in a blender. Deliciousness! I had passed by a crew of Albanians outside a few moments before. As I was quietly waiting near the door, an Albanian soldier who frequents the center quickly saunters in the door hands me a carrot juice box, flashes a huge smile and then rapidly exits as I awkwardly say, umm thanks! (I didn't want to be rude). There I am standing in a French PX next to a British soldier holding a juice box I just received from an Albanian in Afghanistan. Interesting.
So last night I'm retelling this story to a Lieutenant Colonel who volunteers at the center. He immediately interjects, "You didn't drink it did you?!" I answer, "Umm no, why?" "That means your married in Albania. You do know carrot juice is the juice of Albanian fertility, right?" For a moment I thought he was serious, but then I realized he was completely kidding and cracked up. I mean who needs flowers when you have carrot juice boxes?
In other news, I'm starting to learn ranks! I almost have mastered the Army enlisted ranks. I'm working on the Army officer ranks. I just started with that branch because there are the most of them, and I had a patient Army teacher. More importantly than learning ranks, I'm learning slang. Most of it is degrading terms they use for one another who they think aren't as badass as themselves. There's also the 2-9-2 rule. Apparently a chick can be a 2 in the states, then magically metamorphose into a 9 simply by stepping foot in Afghanistan and then just like Cinderella when the clock strikes midnight she transforms back into a 2 when stateside. Yep, that's right troops, I'm sharing all your secrets! I also learned a little Dari. It's a language spoken in northern Afghanistan. The language spoken in southern Afghanistan is harder to speak, so the interpreter who taught me chose Dari instead.
Salam, chtor asty? Tashakor, khob astam. Shuma, chtor astyen?
Hello, how are you? Thank you, I'm fine. You, how are you?
I can also say thank you, you're welcome and goodnight.
About once or twice a week, I've been going to the French compound to have coffee and refresh my French. I was told I had "great basic French." Well, crap, according to my college diploma I have a minor in it! Guess, I'll have to do some more intense studying!
Today I saw one of my units who always come into the center. They've been bummed lately because they have not had a chance to go on missions. I asked them how they were today and one said, "We actually went on a mission today." I excitedly answered, "Awesome, way to go kick some ass!" This was answered by laughs and one said, "You're adorable." or he might have said "You're a dork." He tends to mumble, but in my head I'm going with adorable. That's me, troop cheerleader! Go USA! Beat Taliban!