Settling In and Re-Creating Normalcy

Well, where do I begin?  I guess I finally made it to Afghanistan and it has been nothing short of a roller-coaster to get to this point.  At least for today, I just don’t feel like talking about car-bombs, suicide-bombs, IEDs, Taliban, blah blah blah.  It is exhausting, and  even though it’s very important to be ready for any “bad things” if I keep my mind on high alert for days on end, I might not come back with my sanity.

Still, there is so much to comprehend in the first few days of deployment and it’s a challenge to think back and put the pieces together.  From Edmonton to Kabul, there were many hours of flying, what felt like just as many hours of waiting for flights, and then waiting some more to just get settled into a new routine. In total, there were probably around 2 straight days worth of flying, and this time I changed my sleep strategy.  Normally, I set my watch forward or backward to the time of my destination, and do my best to follow that schedule from the start.  If it’s 9 am at my destination, I’ll refuse to sleep, if It’s 11 pm, I’ll try to force myself to sleep. It usually works, but it always takes a couple days to adjust.  This time, it was so much different.  We had no idea where we would be in the coming days, and what kind of work schedule we might be on.  I was just as prepared to go straight to my camp and take a few days to relax as I was to sit around in a transient warehouse-type building and sleep on floors while waiting for the next stage of the “trip”.  The latter was closer to what actually happened, and so my new plan was to sleep at every possible moment throughout the trip.  It was definitely a smart move.  On every flight, while waiting at airports, and even in vehicles between places.

Now, the difficulty is getting into a healthy and normal routine.  Life in general is so so so much different.  Going from having my car to drive around, house to hang out in, wife to be with, grass and trees to look at etc, to being in a heavily secured environment with concrete barriers, guns, dust/dirt/grime everywhere is a change.  It’s an easy routine, but it’s important to set one early.  With Kimberly, I’m hoping we can talk at the same time on most days so she can prepare for it, and I am not fighting to get the deplorable internet service to work during peak hours. At the same time, I know that she is doing the same in re-settling with me gone.  It’s saddening not to be there to help her through it.  But, the way I see it is that this is OUR deployment and it’s not just me that had to serve on this tour.  She’s facing just as much challenge as I am and we have to get through it together.

At the very least, I hope to make this a very personally enlightening experience for us.  This kind of thing is usually a once in a lifetime experience, and the memories will last a lifetime.  This is just the beginning though, and I hope to be able to tell you more about my quest for normalcy in this abnormal environment.  Now that my sleep times are getting back to normal, I think it’s time for bed.