Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mama, There Ain't No Denyin'

How to mentally prepare for a new post is always a challenge. Or, more precisely, how to not look totally clueless about your new post is always a challenge. Usually you can bluff through the average conversation by reciting Led Zeppelin lyrics:

"Wow, Pakistan, eh?"

"Yes, I am a traveler of both time and space."

"Are you nervous?"

"Ooh, yeah yeah, Ooh, yeah yeah."

And so forth.

I like to take a more literary approach: there are many very detailed, thoroughly researched books on Pakistani military and political history, and if you look intent enough while you read them, no one is going to bother you with questions to which you don't know the answer. This is yet another way in which paper books are superior to a Kindle.

If you get really stuck, though, you can just change the subject:

"Is Pakistan landlocked?"

"I don't know. Want to hear about Jordan?"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wonders Never Cease

I was just thinking how pleasant, yet largely unremarkable, homeleave was -- a purposeful cocoon of ordinariness (I was telling myself) to remind you why you left it to go work overseas in the first place -- when a helicopter landed in our front yard. A person stepped out from the open side, picked an object up off the ground, then casually reentered the helicopter just as it lifted off. I suppose they dropped something.

It was sort of weird.

The truth is, I don't really know what 'real life' is supposed to feel like anymore. Did you know that McDonald's serves fancy coffee now? Dad bought me a caramel mocha there last night and I was too stunned to even ask if they could supersize it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Roam Sweet Roam

It doesn't seem so weird to come back this time. I'm not sure if that's a reflection of the relative closeness of Arab and Western cultures compared to Far Eastern culture, or a testament to how 'false' my dip bubble life was in Amman. I tell myself that vacation will be relaxing, but in reality I'm braced for four weeks of congressionally mandated restlessness. Not boredom, exactly, but a twitchy, strum-your-fingers-on-the-table impatience to be doing... I'm not sure what. Working, likely.

I foresee adjusting to this new non-work pace just in time for the start of training in May.