Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year !! everyone

a good new years eve day.
classes went well, taught to use get with adjectives, and become with adjectives or nouns....
gym was good today, lots of back and shoulder stuff. and dinner was nice with lasagna like ghoulash, and pizza and some chocalte brownies with some sort of chocolate sauce that was like melted pudding? anyway....tomorrow jsut 2 more days before weekend. ha
I got my body armor in the mail today that I mailed to myself before leaving AR so now I am able to shuttle to different bases on Fridays. I plan to visit Camp Eggers soon, they have american food and stores there so the dollar goes farther than here with euros!
also a nice bazaar on Fridays from what i here.
also Happy New YEar everyone! You'll have to keep me updated on 2008, my new year will be spent in Kabul Afghanistan this next year.... I think it will be a very rewarding year in many ways, with God's blessing.
also i might be getting my own room this week, there is a major bill leaving for home so we are going to speak to the colonel tomorrow ha.

bathrooms at our school are different,



and the hands only sign means don't wash your feet, there is another shower room for that!....

Sunday, December 30, 2007

from last weekend......

here are some photos of the base, i've been meaning to put up. Christmas eve there was a dinner in the bingo tent at the other side of base. and then same night there was a "Christmas market" where many different countries had booths serving food and deserts. the Lithuanion booth had meat, cheese, bread and chocolate which were all good. the estonian chocolate also ok. The British booth served Haggis which I tried. and the French booth had Fois Grais on toast, sort of blah. and then the American booth had fudge. some are outside the main building where all the armored vehicles pull in while coming here or stopping by on the way somewhere.

yesterday morning in KAIA


here is picture of us before leaving to teach, only Penni and I are teachers in this photo, Izzo and Bill are also in the pic. we are about to leave in the van all of us to the school. I gave a book quiz yesterday and 5 of 6 passed . the one who didn't pass is now in a lower book class to repeat 3 books. It's better for him to do this and catch up.

Today I introduced Present perfect only with been and had. and also Present perfect progressive.... also lots of vocabulary about doctor's appointments.

I just came back from the gym, will shower, and go to the mess hall for dinner next.

Friday, December 28, 2007

weekend over here in kabul...

was a busy weekend at that!
well Thursday morning we went in for our usual 2 hour planning time, this is done for any students wanting remedial time, and also to be there while our rooms are cleaned, just security reasons ya know.
one of my students, Haji for short, did come in and I spent good quality time reviewing some things from class. (for any really wanting to know it was about adjectives followed with to + verb, and verbs followed by gerunds... ie. I was happy to see you. She was sorry to hear the news. also I dont' mind driving the car. or She likes going to Paris. also we have learned to use "supposed to" and "how to")
Thursday afternoon I had my picture taken for a driver's pass we need in the vehicle if we are driving it. and went to the gym. I worked out my legs on Wednesday and have had some back pain since. dang it all! I refuse to be all old and stuff! but I took it easy and then worked out arms and chest today and dang it if I didn't pick up something and ouch!.
Thursday night dinner and blah..
today was nice to wake up late, have a leisurely breakfast reading a New Yorker and then came home, took some laundry to get washed (all done free for us here, turn it in one day, get it back the next, hopefully all socks are there). and then today at 1pm we had this LONG meeting with General Lindell who explained the entire mission of USA here in Afghanistan and what our part is in teaching English. Basically they need as many pilots as possible asap speaking English. ha
seriously the briefing and meeting went until 3:10 so I was later getting to church at 3. next the gym, and then by 6pm I was washed up and walking over to mess hall. sat with colonel kasper, the guy in charge here at KAIA, and some others.
now I'm intereting, and going to go make some copies of some review for my group tomorrow morning. test after lunch!! then we start book eleven! ahh yeah

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry Christmas at the mess hall




these pics are from lunch yesterday at the mess hall.
the brown uniform are belgium soldiers mainly.
the workers here are mainly nepalese i think....

Merry Christmas


this is an apple I had with me this morning on the way to work and i set it down on this green transformer thing and it asked for its picture to be taken.....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas eve day for me...........

I'm wearing a red plaid shirt today just because of holidays. tomorrow is the red sweater, then back to all subtle clothes, blacks and greys and greens that fit in a bit more here on base.

well I have been waking up with a dry sore throat the last 3 mornings and I hope I'm not getting this virus the soldiers have talked about, where you feel like you have strept for 3 weeks and have to let the virus run its course, because its just a virus.... but i fell better now after breakfast so I'll just keep eating, teaching, eating, teaching, running at gym, eating, and sleeping. :)

I received a beautifully written email from a friend who grew up around many military bases and must say thank you because it put into words exactly what I've been feeling. As a Christian I never feel truly alone, and although new here yes I am meeting people and there is a camaraderie, also I think most realize that we are doing something great and big here in AFghanistan trying to each do our small part to somehow help them kick it in and get the country back in good shape. One thing you constantly hear the soldiers (USA) say is that we are here as Mentors to SHOW how to do things and teach and train, not to do things for them. As a poor country with a very long broken troubled history, it is easy to see why they might want things done for them. but Everyone here, all forces are here as mentors. I think it's an interesting concept.

I can say that although it was difficult training at times with my teaching team of 5 who are majority non-Christians, and did not undersatnd me for nothing, I think, if overall you can't work among Christians, then a military environment is the next best thing. This is because I'm around mostlly all officers here on ISAF base (probably different around sailor mouthed enlisted no doubt) , and they are well trained, successful, who are all about service and all the army values etc... You can see they are sort of all about doing good regardless of faith. ( of course I am completely the eternal optimist here, but hey that's how I see it)

well time to get on the van to get taxied over to the afghan military base where the school is and our students. today lesson 3 of book 10 is about changing a flat tire, so just think of the vocabulary one might need for that, one thing is the word nut. we just learned yesterday ( snack machines) about nuts and candy, today another meaning, the nut you unscrew before changing a tire. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

off to a good start....

this week is getting off to a good start ( saturday is our monday). i forgot to mention yesterday i went to a driver certification at 2 pm. this way I have sticker on my ID badge that says I can drive on the flightline, that means the runway, we drive parallel to the runway every day on the way to school and back on the other side of the airport. so we have to radio the tower and ask for cleearance to taxi from out gate to apron 5.
next i went to church, there is a chapel here on base, and this one guy who used to teach before we were here gave the message. there will be a special service the Tuesday at 3pm fro Christmas before the big basewide Christmas dinner at 4pm.
went back to school this morning to begin book 10 with my group. They were discouraged because half the class failed last week, i told them this book we have 6 days instead of 5, so hopefully that plus my teaching skillz will get them ready to pass next quiz on book 10.
merry Christmas to all, I know if I were home I'd be doing 100 things this weekend before Christmas. ha.

Friday, December 21, 2007

a good friday...





woke up to lots of snow on base this morning. took some pics of the mountains as i came out to the stairway down from my quarters. also i picture of the mess hall and my lunch. there was a comment the other day about the freshman 15. let's hope this only applies to me in a good way since I'll be running and going to gym while here. not much else to day actually. ha

Thursday, December 20, 2007

i'd rather be working...........

a few extra days off this week because of "Eades" here in kabul.
last night I went to a concert here on base by the Norwegian army, it was a ten piece ensemble,wind and brass and drums. and a lady singer. they performed silent night, and then some norwegian traditional Christmas tunes, and then she sang "Bie mir bist du schoen" and then she went full opera and sang the song from Carmen. next it was instrumental "sleigh ride" and the trumpet guy got the horse sound at the end perfect! and then in typical dorky euro fashion she ended with "when you wish upon a star" as a Christmas wish of following our dreams. it was very disney. over all great time
and then tonight I just got back from a norwegian magician act. sort of cornbally but OK, just that. before the magiacian I was watching in this room where the USA was sponsoring a HALO tournament, some guys I know from my quarters and guys that i know because they were teachign here before us were playing in the tournament.
I'm all cleaned up and going to bed. 11:43 am in the states, and 10:15 pm. that is late for me, I like sleeping by 9:30!!
tomorrow we go for drivers training to get certified to drive on base, this means how to call the air traffic tower for clearance to drive the flight line as we teachers go to other side of the base each morning to teach and back and forth for lunch etc. So all the guys are getting certified so we can take turns driving. also got a short short haircut today. ha

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

view from the door outside my hallway looking toward camp and the mountains




when the sky is clear, we can see these beautiful mountains so high, foothills of the himilayas. otherwise when its not clear or cold and cloudy or hazy, we only see the brown mountains in front.

rude awakening....

we are very safe on this very large international base, no one or thing is ever getting on the base, however there are mountains around the city and they are heavily patrolled. the only threat would be some sort of rocket launcher from the surrounding mountains.

well anyway, last night we had a bit of excitement on base, at 1 am we were woken up with shouts of "incoming stay away from windows", then they changed it to "everyone downstairs" and then later the military police drove by saying they wanted everyone in the bunkers. so we eneded up in bunker 5. about 40 people crowded in, cold cold. about half usa guys from our building and some belgium and 2 big icelandic women nurses and a few french I think, anyway, we had to stand there and wait for an hour and half for the all clear.

so back to bed at 2:30 am. I have considered not posting everything happening here but I think it's better to just share is and say everything is fine, and yes, we are safe and protected. the chances are very slim anything could actually get onto base, but any chance of anything at all, they just follow procedures etc...


another day off today, I'm wathcing tv and updating the blog and then going to lunch later. next i will run at the gym this afternoon and go check out all the inventory at some shop on base . dinner later etc....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

food

plane food on air france. i didn't drink the orange juice or eat the fruit.
the other airplane food was a breakfast on the way to dubai from paris, "scrambled eggs" fries, sausage and a tomato, I ate the fries and a bit of the eggs.


one of my first lunches here, they have really great salad every day and not too many choices for dressing but they are good. also some nice wheat bread toasted each meal is nice here.

breakfast this morning, the juice was "apple" but someone said it is green cause it's supposed to be like jolly rancher apple flavor. to me it's sort of like apple with ice cream flavor mixed.

smallpox


here is a pic of my arm where the smallpox vac was given. it did nothing for a week, then got all swollen and itchy , and now it's just there and i keep it with a band aid all the time so i don't spread the virus anywhere.

ice strm in bethany




pics that my mom emailed me of the icestorm hitting my house in okc. notice my poor sad shrubs leaning over on the left side of house. ahhh.
I do have to point out how gorgeous orange the sawtooth oak is in winter, keeping its leave on until spring and how nice it looks with the navy shutters etc.... yes, I miss my house. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

NEW ADDRESS...........

i will still receive mail if you HAVE sent anything,
but here is the new address now we have on base:

dean reusser
AKAG, KAIA
APO, AE 09354

a postcard even works wonders

Merry Christmas to all, I may not get any cards out, I'm not sure when our postoffice on base is going to open up for outgoing mail.
i have plans tomorrow night, 19th, to go some concert on base, who knows...
and then the 20th there is a magician performing. updates later.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

second day of classes.

...well everything is going swimmingly well. except for one of my students was absent today. so i hope he returns tomorrow. We are trying to get everyone on a five day week to a book schedule. so the students feel we are going too fast. for some reason this is kind of true but not really. anyway, after next week, I think we are considering doing 7 days a week for each book. My class is on book 9, will quiz tomorrow, and then start book 10 etc....
There is a muslim holiday here called Eades. so we are out of school on Wed Thursday Friday and Saturday.
Each book has 4 lessons and then a 5th which is review of all four. So it can be difficult to get through all 4 chapters in 4 days, then review and quiz on the 5th... anyway, what we are doing is focusing on the objectives of each book, because the objectives are on the quiz. if they fail 3 quizzes they leave the program. today my students said they have to do their homework by lantern because kabul has no electricity after 8 pm. can you imagine in the cold winter no heat or electricity. my students today said they live like 1700's not 2007, and I told them well it makes you strong. We have to be firm with the students to study as much as possible and come to school always, even though of course we are all sensitive to how they live. Yet we are told they can be like an 8th grader when it comes to leaving class, not doing homework, or not coming to school with excuses and stuff... etc.
Students are responding well to me, and I promise them I'll have them ready for the quiz tomorrow after lunch. HOPE it works!

Friday, December 14, 2007

went to church Friday

there is a chapel on base. the chaplain from camp Phoenix comes over to give services and was here yesterday afternoon, this is when they have the protestant church service.
there were 10 people in there, all male officers except for one female major, Penni with me, and then 2 other civ contractors. It was very cold in the small wooden building, but the nice thing is that Captain Mike, one of the teachers we are replacing here, has been in charge of getting supplies for the chapel, and ISAF just approved $12,000 worth of funding so we'll have a heat system and carpet and actually even a keyboard, which is cool and I hope to get a key eventually to get in there and use it at some point. ha
6:15 am here Saturday morning (7:45 pm Friday for you) and we leave for school at 7:30 for our first day of teaching. should be interesting to see what its like in the classrooms w/ the afghan students and how they respond to us etc...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

view of my quarters in kabul


this is where I live and share a room with Glen, another teacher on the team. i have the front half of the room.


this is the view of the door next to my room if I come out and turn right. Doors lead to stairs going down and then to base.

this is the view of the hall if I turn left out of my room, the showers are in the last room on the left, and the bathrooms are last door on the right.

this is the view outside the doors by my room looking at stuff on base.


we met the General today in a meeting room above the tv room here in our part of the base, his control is over all the stuff going on in Afghanistan with USA. He impressed upon us again the importance our part has in helping the success of the pilots getting trained to fly and thus getting troops to police the country by air and get control of all the country etc etc.. he was very welcoming and kind. I'm going to try and get his name in case you ever hear it in the news. He said someday in the future when Afghanistan does become stable and in control, that we will be able to say we had a vital part in that happening which was very encouraging to all of us, like wow.
we also were at the school today going over inventory and getting our rooms all set up and ready for Saturday to start up with the students.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

first day of students.....

went into the classrooms with students today, will start teaching classes on Saturday.
We are all ready and excited.
Major Bill is in charge of all the current teachers and will help up keep the program running as we are here taking over.
he stresses to us the importance of why we are here. Our students are pilots in the Afghan air force, most of them older than me.
great men who are willing to risk their lives each day by coming to classes. Those that live far from kabul don't wear their uniforms on the busses or way into school because they could seriously be caught by the Taliban and killed.
We are very important to what the air force is doing here in that they need the pilots to have English so they can fly more cargo and troops out to the remote parts of AFghanistan, which helps keep the Taliban in check here in Afghanistan.
This motivates me to do the best I can even more, obviously.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

pics from our school in Kabul, at KAIA

these pics show a classroom, the teachers lounge, the hallway of the school, and the building we use the first floor for the school.....









Sunday, December 09, 2007

more pics of travelling


this is waiting in the gate at Dubai airport for our final flight Sunday morning to kabel. notice the signs in back and how tired I look. ha

flying out of Dubai, city below

endless mountains en route to kabul....

I took this after getting off the plane and while walking into the Kabul airport

Ray and Jerry brought one driver in one land cruiser, so I was taken w/ two other teachers with some of our luggage to this road outside the airport to wait while they went back for more teachers and luggage. then eventually two more vehicles arrived from the lockheed martin compound to take us all with our things.

the meal hall at the lockheed compound. i had some great roasted chicken with orange slice on it last night with corn and a roll, also water

here are my things dumped in my room at the compound, one night only I think so far....




arrived fine in Dubai last night

at about 11:00 pm, and we got through passports and luggage and customs, and then to the hotel by 1 am, as usual some mix ups occured with the information about our plans for the next flight. Without knowing when/how we were leaving Dubai we all checked into our separate rooms and then I did emails and blogging, and then at 3 am recieved a call that we had a flight out at 7:30am to kabul. so we met at the hotel lobby at 5am to get to the airport. not much hotel time, but still I have pics of the very nice room, while i was there anyway. also called room service and had a turkey salad club. so anyway, lot of flying airport time this morning waiting at gates with ac broken, so hot. and then a bus to the plane, and then here in kabul. stuff looks quite wrecked all over. and its wet rainy and cold. but I'm glad to be here definitely.
sort of blah right now like I've been up all night at a lockin . more as it occurs. ....

travel pics....















pics are the plane from atlanta to paris, the paris airport, my room at sheraton saturday nt and then the lobby in Dubai Sheraton....





Saturday, December 08, 2007

hello from paris

well my computer says 5:33 am so that's OKC time. here in Paris, France, the time is 12:33 pm.
I just bought a lunch for $25, got my change in Euros. gave the lady $40 and got 5 euros and change back.... anywayk, we are getting on our next flight for Dubai. arrive there at 10:45, get a taxi and then find the hotel. etc etc....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

my wish list...........shameless plug

what's that? you want to send dean a book or cd?

well come next July or anytime you may be thinking of what to send overseas.....hmmmm,
just go to amazon.com, go to wishlist, and search me by first and last name.
wasn't that easy? ;)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

shots!

many shots today.
we were taken to the medical center on base, to get our checklist filled.
this meant speaking to a nurse, and then getting our blood drawn for DNA test (turns out that no prior testing was worth anything, they keep their own records here to identify us if we're blown up etc...) then we took an eye test, then spoke to a dentist.

next to speak to a medic about our prior shots and if we had a recent physical.
next a shot in the right shoulder for Anthrax imm. and left shoulder for smallpox imm.
next we waited a LONG time for a van to take us offbase to a clinic.
then i was given another eye test, and blood drawn again for blood type test.
next had the following 4 shots;
measles/mumps/polio,
flumist,
hep a and b,
and TB test.
next a doctor gave me a physical asking questions, blood p. listening to me breathe and heart, and that was about it.
we got back to base just before 6 pm and ate at the chow hall.
oh yeah the off base visit cost me $347 which will be reimbursed expense.
(and the next set of teachers will know and can do BEFORE they come)
tomorrow we have a formation call (this means lined up rows of 4) at 615am!!!
so we are leaving hotel at 530.
at 615 we will take a bus up to this huge meeting hall with tables and rows of chairs for what the corporal reynolds today called "death by power point" and we've been told it goes from dark to dark. all day!!! ugh, but that is our last day of CRC training, Thursday we will have our med reports back and our tb tests read and then get signed out. next we will ship our gear to afghanistan, I will also pack some of my stuff to send there and maybe send a box back home.
then Friday, prolly chill and plan some more, and then we fly out Friday night to paris then Dubai etc..... more tomorrow....

Monday, December 03, 2007

hurry up and wait......


some great geometry going on in this photo...

that's the tongue in cheek saying for CRC training.
we wait in line a LOT. but its all good, after all there are about 400 of us going through it all, and they do this every week!
yesterday was LONG, from 7 am to 7 pm. it included getting sized for protective vests and then filling out lots of paper work, and then watching a lot of videos. the videos were about hostage situations and what to do.
Today we were in formation at 8:10 and loaded up on buses (I'm in group 5) and taken on base to get our information checklists filled, we stopped at each booth getting initials, and got our id cards checked etc...then lunch, then waiting until 2:30to be in formation at the pavillion and load up on a bus again to go to the supply center on base to get our gear. more instructions, then our gear, we signed a paper saying we'd return it upon re-entering the country (total worth $3300 if nothing is returned). basically this was the vest, inserts, helmet, gas mask, and 2 duffle bags.
then we left base, the 5 of us, ate at chilis and came back to hotel.
I am in Columbus Georgia and will be flying out of the country this Friday night. we fly to Paris, then Dubai on delta, and I guess to Afghanistan after that.
I bought some very cool boots at the army supply before dinner. pics later.