Saturday, May 30, 2009

There I was...

Well Bears fans it seems that I have been taken to Kabul to protect Nick. Nick is in good spirits, though he misses Liz and can't wait to see her. I finally came out of hiding because Nick got around to unpacking me. I will be his buddy on this trip and you will hear from me from time to time.

Here is a picture from the first leg of the trip: a metro ride to National Airport.

I hope all is well with all of you and Go Bears!
Mr. C. Bear

I want to see mountains again, Gandalf

One week down...only one hundred and three to go :)

This place, despite being totally surreal, is kind of pretty. Every morning is clear and sunny and the backdrop behind the Embassy is a snow-covered mountain. Coming from Illinois, where the Naperville sled hill was the tallest point in the town, I am kind of amazed at the sight. I sometimes wish I was on an adventure trekking through the snow caps, fighting an awesome snow creature. But then I realize the only creatures I would be fighting would have AK-47s and RPGs, so I would probably lose. To add to the surreal-ness, this place is also filled with small Nepalese mercenaries armed to the teeth. All in all this place has some positives and some negatives.

As for the work...well that too is surreal. I manage, I repeat, manage the Information Unit, which has about 5 staff. I can barely manage myself and now I need to manage the work of five other people? I am sure I can do it; it is just new to me. My role in the office is simple: support the data and performance management needs for all the other units at the Mission AND respond to information requests from the Ambassador AND develop a collaborative information tool for Aid, State, and the 101st Airborne.

Furthermore, I am headed on my first field trip up north (no Pops not the UP) to work with the 101st Airborne on information coordination. I am looking forward to the chopper ride up there, but I have no idea what I am doing or what I will say. I am a bullshit artist so I should be able to survive.

Well tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully I will be able to escape to the mountains one day and live my adventure. Until then I will need to live vicariously through the Lord of the Rings and Bilbo Baggins.

Pip pip cheerio and all that good stuff.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1 thing I will miss about DC

The flying trapeze school that is opening up 8 blocks from the condo!!!!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Alive and Living in Kabul

Kabul is not bad...well at least the American compound is nice. The living quarters provided are nice though a bit cramped. Somehow the U.S. Government has figured out how to convert shipping containers into living spaces. Just imagine a padded room with white walls and plastic floors adorned with various Persian rugs and mismatched furniture. It is like a college dorm created by the criminally insane. It is going to be an interesting two years.

Not much news today because the Embassy/Mission took the Memorial Holiday today instead of tomorrow. Basically I stomped around the Aid compound, checked some emails, caught up on some jet lag, and watched Armed Forces Network (AFN). AFN is not bad if you like watching "Trading Places" on a continuous loop, ads on how to deal with battle fatigue/stress, and Dari closed captioning. Frank if you are reading this I have two words...Sling Box. I am unable to stream Hulu or other channels because I am outside of the U.S.A. I blame all this digital rights stuff on Lars from Metallica, he could not keep his mouth shut about Napster... what a baby.

Anyways the Blackhawks will be on soon and I want to watch some of the game before heading to bed.

Goodnight everyone.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And then there was one

Nick is on a plane, winging for Atlanta, on the first leg of his long journey.

I'm at home, trying to pick up the mess and pieces he left behind, and make the apartment presentable so that I can take pictures to send to a potential renter.
It's a beautiful night, warm but not humid. The perfect night for al fresco dining at Lalibela.

But I don't want to do go without him.
Safe trip Nicky. I'll be there as soon as I can.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Putting a different spin on it

Nick was unhappy that the last line of my previous post made it seem like moving to Afghanistan is a bad thing. Which it's not. But in the interest of maintaining marital peace, let me try using a different metaphor.

I know it will end up being a great adventure, but right now it's rather like jumping off a cliff blindfolded. I think we're both just holding our breath and trying to maintain our sanity until we hit the bottom. Then we can start climbing back out. but right now I am Alice down the rabbit hole, waiting to come out the other end.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting into the swing of things

Nick and I are going to have to make a conscious effort to write in this blog. I don't think that keeping a log of our lives comes naturally to either of us. Hopefully once he's settled into life in Kabul we will fall into a routine.

The only word I can use to describe this experience is "chaotic." The house is chaotic. Packing out is chaotic. The HR process is chaotic. I'm sure life and work in Kabul will be chaotic. We're doing the best we can, trying to anticipate our needs for the next 6 months or so and figure out what we will bring with us to furnish an apartment sight unseen. We're working with very little hard information, and are just keeping our fingers crossed that we're packing up the right stuff. Neither of us has any idea what exactly we'll be doing out there. I imagine my job will be more of the same: meeting logistics, mission binders, basic research. As for Nick......I think he's in for a wild ride.

I know it will end up being a great adventure, but right now it's rather like jumping off a cliff blindfolded. I think we're both just holding our breath and trying to maintain our sanity until we hit the bottom. Then we can start climbing back out.

*PS: today I turn not-30.

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 things I will NOT miss about DC

5. Sweaty tourists on the metro

4. Mosquitoes

3. Sweaty tourists

2. Cab drivers

1. Tourists

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maybe ignorance is bliss


Want a preview of where we'll be living for the forseeable future? Take a look at:
Here's a peek before you click........

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The First Stages


Just over a week ago, Nick and I got married (again). During the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, our house was slowly invaded by wedding stuff. Decorations. Gifts. Attire. Accessories. Invitations. Crafting supplies.

On the Thursday prior to the wedding, we had a clear apartment for all of 1 hour when Nick and my Dad hauled all of the wedding stuff off to Hollin Hall.

Then the flowers invaded the apartment.

Then the wedding chaos invaded the apartment.

I had just started to get it all cleaned up and straightened out. Now it's time to start packing Nick up for the long haul to Kabul. And this is what happened to the apartment (for maximum impact, click on each photo).

And this is just the living room. There's stuff piled up in the hall and in the bedroom too. I am dealing with the chaos by compulsively wiping the counters and sweeping the small areas of floor that remain uncovered.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Testy test test

Testing testing 123