Part XI: Off the Job

Off the Job:
Beats me — 7 days a week, 12 hours or more a day…what do you expect? Usually I shower and shave, brush my teeth, that sort of thing. Sometimes I read just a little bit. Now that my laptop and movies have showed up, I can watch some DVDs or play games. Before (sometimes during) going to sleep I listen to a little bit of music on my MP3 player. That’s really the only time I start thinking about things “back home.” I have been able to drop a lot of things that bothered me, because I am …a lot of thousands of miles away from it. The outside world doesn’t really exist for me so much anymore. Less so of course than when I used to do the same thing in the Army, out in the field: we were a whole lot less in touch with the world then. No internet, no email, no phones over satellite. The time passes quickly because I am kept busy. I used to have a real problem with thinking, especially on the drive home from work where there was nothing else to do. I’d get all wrapped up in some issue, or some bit of my life that I should have done better. An individual that I know is fond of simply saying “you think too much.” Pining for the past doesn’t do any good. Sometimes you need a way of disallowing that as an option. That’s one of the reasons I came here. Of course, the money was a prime motivator too. Smile But I knew I needed to get away, if nothing else at least for a while. I didn’t feel necessary, so I figured I needed to go. This isn’t something I could do while attached to anyone. I had enough of separation years ago and it isn’t anything I’d do now. I can see how some people might short-term this for a financial shot in the arm, but it’s got to be rough on a family. Some of these guys have been working away from their families for years. But I can come back in a hell of a lot better shape than I left, and financially probably better off than I could ever be. Slaving away for erasing debt? Hell yeah! Anyway, I guess the point is that there IS nothing but the job.

When R&R comes up after 4 months, we’ll see what changes. Smile It’s better than I thought though. Since it can be so hard to get in and out of here, you get 13 days instead of 10. Now, the other three is on your dime, but you do get the days, so you aren’t burning 40% of your time going out and back. I feel sorry for the guys down south because it can be enough hell just catching a military flight up to here, much less the stellar service from Karshi to Tashkent. Ok, so it’s only bad in the winter, so that is an unfair dig.

There are also MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) trips to Tashkent, where if you are really burnt you can take 3 days, fly up there, sleep in a bed, sit on porcelain, shower in peace, shave in front of a good mirror, and generally wreak some havoc on the native populations. However, you don’t get paid for that time and all costs are on you. I’ll probably pass on that. This is a(n extended) cash run, baby!

Working my itinerary for my first R&R. I’m going to Ireland, and the North too. Just gonna wander around for a while. I’m planning to hit Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and a few other places you’ve prolly never heard of. Jameson and Bushmills have distillery tours, and Guinness has a brewery tour. Twisted Evil Stopover a day in Frankfurt, Germany on the way back since the flights to Tashkent are a little goofy. I’ve been to Germany before but not Frankfurt, so it doesn’t bother me at all. After that I’ll spend an extra day in Tashkent as well, wandering around and checking things out I guess. Part of the compensation deal involves getting a certain amount of reimbursement on tickets for R&Rs, and it works out my ticket will be about $10 less than that amount, so it costs me nothing to fly out. Yaay!

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