Monday, December 5, 2011

Tales from Afghanistan, Chapter 10: Christmas, cars, and rumor mills

Nate's blog: Dec 4
As I write this, I am all decked out in my cold weather gear and body armor, looking like some apocalyptic war hero from the future. I don’t feel like a war hero though, but a tired Marine. Just a few minutes ago I crossed through the ECP onto my FOB, trudging my way back to this computer after a day of “adventuring”. It was a nice walk though, a clear night with a bright moon and countless stars shining above me (When you are away from the city and all that urban pollution, the night is SO much brighter). It gives the landscape such an eerie, otherworldly look. In a good way. So now I am back, ready to write another post, heat up some soup for a late-night dinner, email a pretty girl, and fall asleep, where for at least a few hours I will be away from Afghanistan.

Happy December! In just a couple short weeks, we will be at our halfway point in the deployment. We’ve also received a FLOOD of care packages lately, and it looks like this is our last trip to Afghanistan. So spirits are very high. Christmas is on everyone’s mind right now, the MWR tent has been crazy busy with Marines logging onto the computers and ordering presents for their loved ones. While we all wish we could be home enjoying the holidays, we have our own sort of holiday season here. Instead of fighting traffic jams and waiting to find a parking spot in the mall, we have long MWR lines. Instead of getting gifts in wrapping paper and bows, we have care packages in the oh so creative USPS boxes. Instead of those drives through the neighborhood to look at Xmas lights and decorations, we go on convoys and patrols to look for bad guys and IED’s. We are doing what we can to make xmas on our FOB too. In many of our care packages we have gotten decorations, lights, cards and candy canes. I even have a tree being sent to me! With every day it gets a little more “Christmassy” here.

Speaking of Christmas, some of my family still has to give me their list of what they want. You know who you are! You’re going to get a sack of Afghanistan rocks if I don’t here from you. Saija has gotten almost all of her presents. It was a lot of fun ordering her stuff, haha I have such a unique and creative wife! I also ordered a couple things for myself. One was a collage picture frame, to put in some of the pictures my wife and mother-in-law sent me. Also a movie making program for my computer. In high school I was really into Broadcast Journalism; video taping events, editing and creating movies. I’d like to play around with it a little bit more.

While we all are excited about the holidays, everyone here agrees that winter at least, should be over. It’s gone from cool to feeling like we are at the North Pole! All we need now is some snow. Mountain Warfare Training in Bridgeport was colder, but then again, that was only for a month or so. I had to break out my cold weather gear for the first time today. The good news with that is we should be getting attacked less now. It’s getting to be too cold for guys who fight in robes and sandals.

The rumors are all over the place about what is going on after this deployment. Some of them are good, some bad, others are just dumb. It’s amazing what some Marines will believe. Personally, I’m hoping that my unit isn’t going anywhere for a long time. That means Saija and I might be able to leave the desert early! Going on a MEU would be better than Afghanistan, but 7 months away from your family is still 7 months, no matter where you are (Saija don’t let me forget, I have an update to this that I need to tell you about!). Now that we are approaching the turnaround point, it’s going to be time for me to start planning for life after Afghanistan. The decision I’m dreading is shopping for a new car! I sold mine right before I left (it was a POS and kept breaking). The drunk driver who crashed into it the week before I left only helped encourage me to get rid of it. But now I have to get a new one. Unless Saija wants to drive me to work every morning. What do you think Saija? Haha there are soooo many choices out there. I’m thinking of sticking with a Mustang (but maybe not a convertible). I don’t want to spend tons of money though, especially if I’m not deploying again. Haha does anyone want to buy me a car?

Deployments are so good for saving money. While I don’t want to blow it all on a car, we’ve done pretty good at saving so far. In a month or so, we’ll have max’ed out the deployed military Savings Deposit Program (10% interest!), and I have money going from each paycheck into the TSP (think military 401k). Plus all the bills are getting paid off! Being in Afghanistan sure does suck, but we will be financially a lot better off soon.

Everything has been pretty quiet lately, at least on our end. Less firefights, but more IED’s. We are still in River City a lot, but things have been noticeably slower. Hopefully as it gets colder the IED attacks will slow down as well. We have just a few months left, and we all want to get home safely. Speaking of which, I just found out later this week I will be on an “adventure” for a few days. Fingers crossed that I will be back with new pictures and new stories, or that at least I will be back.


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  2. Come back safe! Hope you have a better December Nate, you deserve it! And keep up the great writing! -Brandi Carver

  3. Aww thank you Brandi! And thank you Fedriccalor as well, it's nice to know I'm important enough to be noticed by "luton airport minicabs" lol