Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nine months in Afghanistan - the 75% update

Greetings all,

I know I just wrote at the 8 month mark – 66% of my adventure – but I am passing the 75% mark today and wanted to give a quick update.

Not much is new on my new base. The hours are longer, but I am working to build a management program for an officer I’ve known for years, so there is a bit of personal gratification there. Alas, with 14 hour days and the fact that I still don’t really know my way around this base after 6 weeks, I haven’t had much time at all do or work on comedy. So no more updates from the stage. Sorry.

But I do have two points I do want to give an update on.

One, it’s cold. Not arctic frigid, but cold enough for my Florida self already. We are dipping into the low 30s at night and the high 40s during the day. And when the heater in my room doesn’t work, that’s cold. I haven’t seen the sun in at least three days. Supposedly, it’s supposed to snow soon. I haven’t seen snow since 1999 in Bosnia. I thought global warming made snow extinct. Must be an Afghanistan thing.

One thing I have to remember out here is perspective. It always helps to have perspective. Although it might be cold when I walk from my building to work or from my building to dining facility, I eventually reach a heated interior. While walking, however, I often pass a group of Afghan laborers who work on the base digging ditches or doing other forms of manual labor. All day, all night, and even in the rain. The cold, wet, bone-chilling rain. I feel bad for them, but they taking advantage of an opportunity to work in the few places that are hiring in Afghanistan. At least for now.

The second big thing I want to update everyone about is my first novel. I am writing a book out here. Not about Afghanistan or anything like that, but about baseball, the blues, and the Devil. It’s been a great way to escape in my little free time and dive into my own universe and story. I am currently nearing page 90 of my rough draft. That might not seem like much in regards to a book, but I am working on it. I hope to have the rough draft done before I leave. Then the editing and re-write process begins. Maybe I will have it done by this time next year. Maybe I will be published, maybe I will self-publish. Whichever way I go, I will let everyone know.

Third and final note of this abbreviated update goes along with the “whichever way I go” theme. That is, I need to figure out which way I am going when I get back. Do I stick with the current field, which may or may not face severe budget cuts? Do I finally work on a book on the Kurdish military of Iraq, the subject I wrote my 90-plus page master’s thesis on? Do I go get that MBA I’ve often thought about getting? And if so, in what? Marketing? Finance? International business? It would help to have a plan. So for the next few months, I need to make one.

Or I could wing it. It’s worked so far.