Things I’ve Learned on Deployment

  1. Sometimes you just can’t drink enough water. I remember when I first arrived here last summer after passing through Kuwait. Kuwait was hot. Afghanistan was hot. And I was outside most of the day, setting up equipment, tearing down other equipment, ferrying equipment around. I had no trouble getting my 10,000 steps per day in at all.It was also Ramadan when I arrived so to be courteous to the people around us, we couldn’t eat or drink in front of them. All day. I had to hide my water bottles in my cargo pockets or my helmet and duck behind or inside something to drink the water. Even so, I couldn’t ever seem to drink enough for the amount I sweated all day.
  2. You can get used to just about anything – helicopters taking off, jets taking off, sleeping in the cold, sleeping on all different surfaces, sweating through your clothes and wearing them again the next day, having no privacy, no time off, seeing the same people everyday and the same people everyday getting on your nerves the same way everyday. And it’s okay.11813492_10100886253667994_7789019476222554506_n
  3. A good attitude makes a huge difference. The best people I’ve worked with have been the ones with a positive attitude. They may not have been the best person in their field or in their job, but being pleasant to deal with has made a big difference in relationship-building and working together. Similarly, it’s hard to find extra motivation to go above and beyond for people who treat other people poorly.

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    They really love Toyotas out here

  4. It’s the little things that matter most. Mail is incredibly important and a huge morale-booster. Hot showers can make a bad day more bearable. And some of the best meals I’ve had were with my new makeshift family. One man brought in smoke salmon, another brought in a jar of capers, and together we had a really delicious smoked salmon and bagel breakfast with cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and onions. It was such a special treat and made even more special by how we had to plan ahead to get the items.

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    Too funny not to take a picture of

  5. The only way out is through. It’s frustrating enough to argue with my husband, but it’s even more frustrating when I’m 7,000 miles away and on completely opposite time zones. I can’t do anything about those things. I can’t help bad weather that grounds me for days, I can’t do anything about what’s for chow, and I can’t do anything about the enemy’s actions. But what I can do is grin and bear it. For something like this, the only way out is through.

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