Sunday, July 24, 2005

Recent Goings On

My dear friends back home… many of you I have never met, but I still feel close to you. I feel the self-imposed obligation of fidelity. In a comment a few posts back, Randy asked me about the positive things, the things that keep me going, the things that bring smiles to my face.

I didn’t realize until he pointed it out how often my focus here is negative, tolerant, survival-oriented. Through comments from Randy, conversations with Mary and others, I’m realizing that the differences between here and “real life” back home are significant but not as numerous as I first thought. Here are some of the things that have made me smile, and sometimes even laugh:

  • It turns out that the Iraqi Arabic word for “crazy” is too similar to “masturbation” for a new learner to know: One of my soldiers was trying to shout “crazy” at some of the Iraqis in the hallway at the gate and mistakenly said the wrong word! The interpreters were rolling with laughter. The soldier kept asking them, "what, WHAT?!" After picking himself up from burying his face against the wall, Jr. (Fox's brother) finally responded, "You didn't say 'Crazy'; it's wrong word...[more laughter]'s what you do in the shower when you're alone!"
  • Every time I walk into the new Seattle’s Best coffee shop, my fun little Philippino buddy, Jericho, is singing to the blaring "Where is the Love" by the BlackEyedPeas. I finally told him that his English was good enough that he should stop just making the sounds from the songs and actually look up the lyrics and sing those! The next time I was in the shop, Jericho piped up even louder, but with the right words, as if to show me he’d accomplished the homework assignment.
  • The night shift at our office has been pulling pranks to the extreme of me finally wanting to take action to stop it. I spoke with the senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) for their unit and insisted that it stop. Several days passed with no token vandalisms taking place. Then, yesterday I walked in to see a lanyard-spider web, spinning from the ceiling fan with a 9”x 6” paper sign in the center reading: DON’T TOUCH MY REDBULL. Fuming, I started taking pictures and documenting time frames, only to hear the senior NCO laughing in the background. “You can take that one up with me, LT; just a friendly reminder not to mess with my Redbulls!” I had forgotten the it was me who initiated this one: I stashed his energy drinks in my office the day prior, just to ruffle him up a bit. I guess that should teach me to lighten up!
  • There’s a Hungarian guy who brings new employees to our office for access badges. I swear he can only speak about 20 words of English now, and his language skills have improved since he got here. I just had to deal with him again yesterday, struggling through the language barrier. I’m reminded every time of how humorous his name is to me, on top of other stranger pronunciations: Koochie (phonetic representation).
  • Have you ever heard of someone having a “shit list”? It’s the blacklist of bad people you don’t want to deal with if you can help it. A couple organizations on this base were REALLY getting on my nerves a couple days ago. After the second of the two sending their numbskull representatives, I walked back into my office, silently picked up a black dry-erase marker and wrote: “Shit List” (underscore); [insert pest #1 here]; [insert pest #2 here]. At least we got some laughs out of the irritation!


At 7/25/2005 11:01 AM, Blogger Kat said...

That picture of you brightens my day: to see your smile and then read your posting. I laughed at your stories and applauded your optimism.

Life sometimes just grabs us, spins us around and demands we view the world with a different eye. Good thing you peeked!

At 7/25/2005 12:20 PM, Blogger bdg said...

I, too am very happy to see your smile. I know it isn't always easy to find a reason, but it's worth it when you do. We back home easily forget that life isn't just another mundane day for you "at the front". I'm sure some times are, but those that aren't more than make up for the discrepancy. What a way to learn to appreciate being bored! I'm a little fried right now with my own version of negative factors (namely too much work to do in too little time at my job). But you know all about those conditions. Even so, your smile touches off one in me and so the upward spiral begins. You are a good influence in many places, my dear. Thank you.

At 7/25/2005 6:10 PM, Blogger Mary Godwin said...

I LOVE the "Redbull" story ... just LOVE it! And it is so much a touch of you, Tommi, that along with Kat, I laughed out loud. The masturbation story is a "second favorite" on my list... I love the turns that language can make. Great stories. Great post. Great photo. Are you going to make the music connection soon? I'm waiting to hear the song you promised. Oh, yeah! -mg

At 7/26/2005 2:14 AM, Blogger Sentinel 47 said...

Music should be coming soon.... KAT!!! I NEED HELP ON THAT! I'll e-mail Kat about that too, Mary.

You are all so great. Thanks. More posts of substance soon. Had to go for the light twist first. Be well.

At 7/27/2005 10:22 AM, Anonymous Randy W said...

Good job. There is no way you can explain to any one where you are at in your life jourey right now in that place. Sensory overload. I guess you don't know or will not know for some time yourself. You can only give us snap shots, single still pictures of one second at a time. The interpretation and impact of that second on you is way beyond most of us to understand. Remember this. Attitude is everything. Do an aggrisive, honorable, best job you can do and be positive through out. Be true to the reason you signed up for; love of country, duty and honor. According to Larwance Kolberg the higer values of moral reasoning. No one else may understand but you will always be proud of the fact that you served honorably. (it takes on new meaning) You do not have to like, agree, understand or be of the same party. You are serving honorably. Be positive for your own mental health you will bring home enough baggage without reinforcing all the negative around you to carry around the rest of your life. You will get out of it what you look for so be careful what you put in your baggage. I do pray that God protects more than your safety. What's that old saying, render unto the green machine what is the green machines just don't sell your soul to the company store. Ah - something like that.
I really am proud of you! This was a really good entry to see. Don't ignore the other it educates us. Careful what you focus on. You hang tough there Soldier, Officer, Warrior, young Lady.

At 7/29/2005 12:02 PM, Blogger James said...

LMAO! Ya know, it's good to laugh with you again. A well-deserved laugh. lol....crazy! Love you T.



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