My coworkers/roomies and I were talking about, well what else do 3 single girls talk about, guys! We were discussing the possible merits and drawbacks of being married to a guy in the military. We talked about our experiences here and how they made us realize how hard it is on military spouses. There are long and frequent deployments, constant threat of losing your loved one, raising your children without your spouse, lots of secrets about their job and the list goes on. It's a lot to worry about while you would be back in the states.
My coworker said, "Oh yeah that's why I know if I married a guy in the military, it'd be: you deploy, I deploy." I immediately thought of the Gilmore Girls episode, You Jump, I Jump, Jack, which the phrase is taken from the classic love story, Titanic. I completely agree with my coworker. No need for me to stay at home and worry about him, he can worry about me! You Deploy, I Deploy, Jack.
Friendships are a tricky thing in a warzone. Every detail of your life is more intense. Back home if I saw a guy at a coffee shop reading the same book as me, I would probably not approach him. If I did, it'd be a 2 minute conversation and done. But over here I yearn to make connections. Life can get boring, monotonous, and very stressful. I think we all yearn for these connections to others and relationships because they provide a sense of normalcy to our lives. Normal people discuss books. Normal people get coffee. Yes, I am discussing this book with you at a coffee shop while you have an M16 strapped to your back and I'm sporting the ever attractive accessory: the neon yellow reflective belt, but it's some form of normal.
Over here we never know when a troop might leave. We have a lot of transients. These are troops that are just here for a week or two to go out on leave (back to the states for 2 weeks of vacation) or they are here before they go out to a FOB (forward operating base) or COB (combat operating base). They usually don't have much work to do, so they'll be in the USO Center all day, every day, for a week. Then they're gone.
During another coworker discussion we talked about the Afghanistan Time Conversion. It was decided that 2 months here is like 1 year in the states. I've only been over here about a month and half, but I assure you I know more about my coworkers than I know about some people that I've known for 7 years. I also think that with the void of media and pop culture the topics of small talk are severely limited. It's like re-learning how to create small talk. Therefore, the conversations become more complex and deep, quicker. Instead of discussing did you see Glee last night, it's did you hear that rocket attack last night? Instead of did you see Lindsay Lohan entered rehab again, it's did you get to talk to your son yesterday on his birthday?
In other news:
My friend, Valerie, is interning for Life Gives Heat - a non-profit dedicated to adopting creative ways to empower Africans to form sustainable economic development in their towns. Currently they do this through selling Suubi necklaces. I found out about these necklaces through another friend, Brittany, last year and I purchased two for Christmas presents, and brought one with me to Afghanistan. The necklaces are beautiful, only around $20 and they are made of recycled paper by African women. Good for the environment and the African women! You can find more information at their website here: http://lightgivesheat.org/suubi.
Valerie had this posted on her facebook yesterday and it really resonated with me.