Sunday, August 31, 2008

base life

this is a pic looking down on the guys here getting ready to get off base in their convoy, they go out sometimes before I've even made it to breakfast. this pic is from the stairway coming out of the building where I live on the second floor. you can see they have on their protective gear. and the black stocking caps are fire retardent for the heads when they get all geared up.


here's a pic of my icecream from the DFAC (mess hall). about a few months ago they started serving real icecream after dinners, and then I found this box of chocolate sprinkles at a BX on base (from germany) and then now I have this awful little habit of bringing my icecream back to my room and putting chocolate on it layer by layer as I eat the icecream.. yum

Sunday, August 24, 2008

moving along.....

finished lesson one book 26 yesterday.... some REALLY good chicken wings at lunch and dinner yesterday,, I think they called it Toroondi Chicken wings... yum. I never ate wings before moving here and eating them at the mess hall, and what a mess they are!
I'm also starting to box up things in my classroom and get them packed up to ship back home, of course I'm leaving a lot of stuff, but my essentials for teaching ESL back home I'll keep with me.
nothing new on base, it sort of feels like the end of summer camp, where I've gotten really used to a place and its community and seeing the same people, and now I'm heading out! ha

Friday, August 22, 2008

only four weekends left! ahh yeah

had a good weekend. we tested on wednesday, so we start our last book with the students on saturday. it's our last book because by the time this book is over we won't have time to start a new book, and plus ramadan will begin soon and they will only be with us in the morning until 12 noon. so we are going have about 3 days off for preparation before leaving here on the 18th... how exciting. I haven't heard yet if I'll be able to stay here or not, but chances are looking slim.
I've decided that I'll travel regardless this fall, which means perhaps comiong back to london after being home for a couple weeks. then I can get a little bit of travelling in thsi fall before starting back to getting work and chained down to jobs and future and events and life and all that etc. etc..
so london and afrcia are stil lin! and possibly barcelona, I'm searching for language schools now for a week there, although there will be PLENTY to see in barcelona without going to spanish classes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

off work today....

current options running through my mind are coming home and then travelling again for a month before thanksgiving... make use of my time off!

today I'm off all day, I did not go into the school today like I usually do on Thursdays. instead I am going to the gym this morning before lunch so I'll be free this afternoon.
We have been having awful interent problems ever since this captain down the hall came back from emergency medical leave. I wish he'd quit screwing with it, it's the worse now than it's ever been since arriving in December, and some guys have to walk out to the hallways next to his room to get connected. LAME. Now that he's back I'm not going to Thursday services at the chapel anymore because his character is really awful, it's embarassing that guys on base know he's the chaplain the way everyone thinks he's a total jerk. I smile and say hi and remain nice, but I'm not going to go to his services, no thanks. (It's all very rote and scripted and blah)
anyway, I have two big boxes in my room ready to be filled with rugs and clothes when I leave here, latest news is September 18th. I will either be home around the 22nd of SEP after Fort benning in Georgia, OR I will stay in europe and begin travelling.
as mentioned above I might leave in October for a month of travel anyway, whether I come home first or not! ha

Sunday, August 17, 2008

day off for independence

off work today because of an independence day in afghanistan. I'm not sure how many they have but this is the one from England, like us.
so no school today, I'm going to watch a movie "etre et avoir" and sit in bed for while, maybe go to the gym before lunch and then after lunch talk to the rug guy on base. I also hope to tear up my room today and get lots of stuff that i never touch or use packed in boxes or put out in the hall.
I'm also conisidering what travel plans I MIGHT be able to make if I'm able to stay a while before coming home.
last night I went to the Czech bar on base with Ren and Miguel and watched them play foozball and then came back to my room at 9:30 cause i was dead tired.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

last thanksgiving...

i like this pic of my and my siblings all in the kitchen doing stuff before the meal last year at thanksgiving. ha

Thursday, August 14, 2008

almost a month!!!

Our contract is up September 26th, and last word we got form the subcontractor back home was that we'd be leaving the 15th, so that means one month!!! I'm super excited, I guess just the proximity of the date, something down inside of me is opening up a bit of freedom in letting out all those feelings of routine, what they call "groundhog's day" (the movie) way of life here and finally some change!! also all the things that i never let get on my nerves, now if I think about it I am saying to myself, I'll ge GONE soon, or something like, I'll never have to speak to this person again ( hopefully, never say never to God of course). anyway, all I have to do to cheer myself up a little is start thinking about being home for Christmas this year, or what enormous spectrum of colors I'll have coming up in my yard next spring! ha.
I am still praying daily that I will be able to stay an extra month travelling if God is willing to soften the heart of said subcontractor. It's hard to know where he stands because he is not able to communicate much since he's still working on another year's contract for some of the teachers here. another strange thing, is when talking to my students about leaving and how sad I definitely know I will be to say goodbye to them to return to my comfy American lifestyle and regarding the state of things here in Afghanistan. had a great day off today and another comes tomorrow, and there are only a few more weekends left to do final rug purchasing of course. ha

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

day off tomorrow....

these are pics of the book store room at the school. i was counting the books last week, and will again be doing that this thursday morning. I bring a power alternator from my room which changes 220 to 110 volt. so I can plug in the computer speakers I use with my ipod.

here is a student's glass of tea, they drink tea here with the leaves in the tea, so this is the dregs.

no deal

well just when I decided I was willing, the deal hasn't gone through. This was a contract through a connection on base, separate from who i'm working with now. Thanks to God for giving me the answer, now I can consider what choices may lie before me this next year back in the states.
I am also continuing to pray that I might be able to stay overseas until November 9th as I had been planning to do. The word here is that our boss will want us to return in September, but I've made plans to visit Senegal and London. I'll just have to wait to hear what possible options there are, if any. On the positive side, I'll have a lot more warm fall weather time to work outdoors.... also I'm hoping for options to work this fall at Metro Tech, barnes and nobles, or my dream job would be Bethany school district teaching ESL!
today went well, in class i was teaching adverbial connective words, and they were asking, aren't these also conjunctions, and I said NO, keep reading the examples.
it's been an excellent week.... oh yeah, also the good news about not returning next year is that I'll be in the US when my students come to Texas to learn aviation english. that will be fun to see them in my own country. ha
I lost my keys today on the way back from the gym, I have no idea where, I went to the BX to buy some chocolate sprinkles to put on my icecram at dinner, and then went to the gym, and then went by the rug store on base on the way back from gym, so I'll be checking those places tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

co worker

All week God has been asking me, are you sure you'd want to work another year here? weekthis is because of just working with different people overseas. I'm considering is it worth not coming back for, but I don't think working with a person should make the difference. That seems to be the old part of me in OKC where I was in a rut of controlling who I had to see or speak to or spend anytime with. For example non Christians or be around people who curse a lot, or with people who have nothing in common with me, etc.. Working here has taught me about getting along with others regardless, and definitley about doing my job regardless of the situation or poor leadership (that we started out with).
of course we still have no news about anything, and right now I'm trying not to get my heart set on travelling or coming back next year, and focussing on what plans I need to take after coming home this fall, finding work again, health insurance, and then all the exciting house and yard plans of course. ha but job comes first. And even then, I'll have to not be too picky on where I want to work or who with.
This week is going well at school, the students are great to kid around with, I have the top group, and they are, so far, accepting my explanations for the new grammar and lessons. ha

Thursday, August 07, 2008

at my desk yesterday....

I get a good slideshow going on my computer while I'm teaching i can watch the screen change pics of my yard or home. you may notice some papers and magazines on my desk, and the antonio guadi dvd I watched yesterday morning, and my sister dana sent me a crawford cd, it's on the corner, and some water bottles, and lotion for my hands, also there is a Indian movie poster on the door near my desk. and I included a little detail of things on my desk.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

thrus morn

There's no certainty if the contract will even go through for another year. So I am making plans for either scenario and looking on the bright side. For example if i DO NOT come back another year, well then I will most likely return this fall, with more time to do lots of yard work. and also i could make it to my college homecoming in october. so that would be cool.
I'm thinking optimistically for either outcome at the point. nothing is for sure......
one thing is for sure, I'm going to have to consider pulling up the carpet in my house to make room for some rugs someday. ha
I'm beginingg my weekend here in kabul this morning, not much planned. breakfast, then to the school to clean up my room and watch an Antonio Gaudi documentary in preparation for if I go to Barcelona. and then I'll prolly walk back early and come back to my room here on base to pick up a bit. I will work out my shoudlers this afternoon, and later dinner... hmmm
and lots of surfing and reading between time.
keep those emails coming.....

Sunday, August 03, 2008

i got a haircut.....

I am pretty much decided on working another year here.

I'm waiting to see if the contract goes through or not.

Whether or not it happens, another year in Kabul, i will be home for two months in Novemeber and December, and i can't wait to see friends and family and visit ARkansas and possibly Honduras if it works out.

This week I am only working half days in the mornings until lunch because I have the alpha group which is the top group and this week is a review week for the students that need to catch up there proficiency scores. It's pretty boring in the afternoons here and the weather his sunny and hot but only for one more month according to the afghans, then it will be super nice until the cold cold winiter comes back.
I hope to be OUT of here by the end of September.
anyone can leave a comment by cllicking on comment below or email me if you kn

kabul airport

i took this pic while walking from afghan base to the airport, where I walk through under the tower, and then across the apron to our gate to our ISAF base. (all secure and protected) anyway, i thought I'd share this picture of the airport here from the front side.

Friday, August 01, 2008

weekend over

just finishing up my weekend. saturday morning now and I'll be going back in to work soon after breakfast. this week we are not starting new books. everyone is doing vocab and grammar and book review so that we can help those students with low proficiency scores sort of catch up where they are supposed to be. that is the theory anyway...
of my ten students, 4 of them have already gotten to the required 80% so i should have only 6 studentss now, however all 4 of them want to keep continue learning the books. which means they might be coming back or not, we have no idea because it hasn't been clear what exactly they are supposed to do otherwise. It's an annoying fact here that the students often look to us as being in control of their current military service, when in fact you'd expect their afghan commanders to have some sort of plan. But overall, everyone here doing "mentorship" work at times feels pretty discouraged that its all just a facade, with the afghans doing whatever is suggested and then waiting to see what they get out of it etc....
All our students had a meeting last week where the afghan airforce told them they had to sign a paper stating they'd stay in for 6 years and remain pilots. this is some sort of deal to keep them from quitting and getting lucrative jobs as translators. (they are just thinking about doing this NOW after they've already been taught English) and indeed my students who are almost at 80 percent have said they don't want to try for that 80 on the next test if it means getting kicked out of the class before finishing up to book 30. they are so poor, I don't blame them for being in it for the ENglish, but i also told them all, the govt is spending millions on us being here to teach you English not so you can get translating jobs, but as a plan to build the air force, so you can be trained in English to fly the new planes coming etc etc...
Nation building just ain't that easy, and sometimes you wonder what we are even doing here. You can read this article from Time magazine, which overall says they should be left alone to build themselves. And then this New York Times Magazine article talks about the current president who wish not to lose the support of the money making drug lords, and how no one seems to be interested in actual drug crop erradication in AFghanistan (supporting 93% of the world's heroin).
While teaching last week, the topic of pay came up an the students are very dissatisfied with their air force pay of $200 a month. They often say that even when the Russians were in control they kept the military and it's families fed. Just as afghans say when the Taliban was in control there was law and order. That's the strange thing about asking them to sign up for 6 years, who would enforce it anyway, what rules apply in a country with no law anyway.
I had a good weekend overall, worked out a lot, cleaned up the room, packed more boxes to send home. i got a very short haircut since the weather was so hot this weekend.