Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nearing the End

As I approach the end of my time here I wanted to give you an idea of what I've been doing during my time away from home in southwest Asia...

My typical day:

Wake up---getting to work, lately I've been on the night shift so I wake up around 5:00p (all times are local time).  Depending on when my shift starts, either early 7:30p or late 10:30p, I'll go to dinner.  If I'm on the later shift I'll also try to sleep in a little.  If I'm on the earlier shift I'll go to "dinner" which for me is breakfast, and then to work.  It recently snowed about 4 inches so the walk to work is treacherous.  If I'm on the later shift I'll generally forgo dinner and get the midnight meal that is brought to the office.  The food kinda overall sucks here and getting it fresh is not really a priority, so I don't mind getting the slightly-cooled-off delivered food as opposed to the sitting-under-the-hotlamp food in the chow hall.

Work, obviously I can't tell you all about what I do for work (security reasons), but the basic idea is this: I get to the office and after signing in and waiting around about half an hour we brief about what kind of mission we're going to do.  Then, after another 30min-hr (during which time I'm prepping for whatever mission we're going to do) we go out to the plane.  We fly the mission, which can take anywhere between 4-7hrs.  It totally depends on what's going on, the weather, and the type of mission as to how long it takes.  Sometimes, I'm completely bored out of my mind.  Other times, I'm constantly busy and don't have time to eat/drink/pee/whatever.  Then of course there are in-between missions that are neither busy nor boring.  After returning and landing we debrief what happened and how the mission went.  Of course, if the mission was complicated and busy, the debrief could take a while as we talk about all the things that happened.  If it was gouge-my-eyes-out boring, we just meet up, fill out the paperwork, and say, "thanks for flying" or something similar.

At that point, I'm technically done with work.  I can (and sometimes have to) stay later and do work-related stuff.  However, most of the time I'm done, and I spend time (at the unit compound) hanging out with my coworkers.  We play spades, smoke cigars, play video games, and just in general hang out.  If there are lots of people hanging out and playing, I'll stay and be social, if not, I'll generally head back to my room.  I've paid a fairly exorbitant price to get WiFi access in my room so I always have something to keep me busy.  Also, my roommate is one of my best friends that has worked with me almost my entire career.  We agree on so much of life.  It's been a pleasure spending this time together; I'm actually going to miss him when we have to leave (we're leaving the same time though so that'll be fun).  Also, since I moved to Japan (about 8 months ago), and he's planning on getting out of the Air Force, we probably won't be able to see each other again.  We'll keep in touch and we'll always be friends, but it's a bit sad to go through transitions in life where you know things will probably never be the same.  Especially when it comes to friendships, it's hard to think that we might NEVER see each other again.

In my room I've been keeping myself busy with a free class online, editing a friend's new book Notes from Afghanistan by Steven Specht, putting together my dad's next book Sermons from a Tiny Pulpit, reading, praying, and watching movies/TV (of course only downloaded TV shows as I don't have regular TV access in my room).

Overall, I felt I've kept myself productive enough, though I'm looking forward to returning home to Japan and being with my family.  Some of my plans for when I get home...  First off, I'm going to eat real, homemade, good food!  The food here isn't bad (as I've said), but it's certainly not good either.  We're going to open some late Christmas presents (this is the first time I've completely missed Christmas with my family), and have a mini, late Christmas party.  I also can't wait to go to the beach!  Living in a sub-tropical paradise certainly has its perks.  Those are the big things I'm excited about, some of the little things include: sleeping in a regular sized bed, NOT having to wear a uniform all the time, NOT having to wear flip-flops to the bathroom, NOT having to wait 4 days for laundry, NOT having to walk a mile or so to work regardless of the weather, and NOT having to walk past a sleeping roommate to go to the bathroom or leave the room among other things.  All those minor inconviences add up after a while and I'll be glad to be rid of them.

A couple other plans for the new year and returning home...  I want to read through the whole Bible cover-to-cover (I plan on writing about it on Facebook but I'll probably discuss my reading here also).  I also plan on reading 50 books over the course of the next year; I don't have any particular preference on what books, but the first one is The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins.  One last plan, I want to start training for a triathlon. My goal, right now, is to train for a half ironman (1.2-mile [1.9 km] swim, 56-mile [90 km] bike ride, and 13.1-mile [21.1 km] run, also known as 70.3 because it's a total of 70.3 miles).  I'll discuss my training plans in a later post.

Sorry this was so long, I've been thinking about a lot of stuff lately.  I'm going to separate what I originally wrote into two separate entries and I'll definitely be writing more soon.