I have officially crossed the midway point in the deployment. It is crazy how humans have the ability to cope with their surroundings, and within a short time, find it ordinary and to make a routine that almost seems normal. I know that I have gotten to this point. Home seems almost foreign, it will almost be a culture shock when I do eventually go home.
Back at home in Ohio, the temperature has been below 40 degrees most of winter and has seen lots of rain and snow. I haven’t seen a serious rainstorm since November (although when it did rain, we received the average yearly rainfall of Kuwait in just 8 hours, the base was flooded. But that was a one in a hundred-year rain storm).
It does rain, but it mainly sprinkles. And it doesn't rain for very long either.
Snow storms have been replaced by sandstorms, of which we have had 3, but none major. To me, 50-degree weather is freezing. I’ll even wear hoodies and pants when it’s in the upper 50s. I have been lucky enough to have started being here in the winter, the temperature is relatively warm (70s) and sunny during the day and cool at night (40-50s).
Sand storms are rather annoying. Unlike snowstorms you have to actually worry about the sand getting in your eyes. You also have to cover your face so no sand gets in your mouth. I'd take a snowstorm over a sandstorm any day.
Another difference is the living situation. I lived in a nice house with just my wife and daughter, I also have the luxury of a master bathroom back at home. I now live in a barracks with 35 other males. It is an open barracks, but we have “rooms” separated by the wall lockers, our “doors” are curtains. Most people have tvs, or game system to stay busy at the end of the night. The barrack surprisingly stays relatively quiet and lights are out by 2200 during the week.
My barracks does not have running water or internal plumbing. Instead there are bathroom trailers on both side of the barracks complex, of which my complex alone has 45 barracks buildings. The bathroom trailers are alright, just never expect to have a consistently warm shower, just expect a cold shower and savor when you get a warm shower.
Another interesting thing, is that some of the portlets have running water. There portlets with the running water are spray painted “western style,” and they have a real toilet and urinal. If you are wondering, yes, they do have an “eastern style” portlet, it literally is a portlet with a hole instead of a toilet.
Speaking of water, there is no “potable” running water in my zone. All water that is drinkable is bottled water. I drink anywhere from 6-8 bottles of water a day. Water stations are set up around my zone for soldiers to grab water. It will be odd paying for bottled water when I get home, as it is free and readily available.
I still get the chance to Facetime my wife (Julie) and daughter (Jane) 2-3 times a week. Pictures and videos are also my lifeline, of which I now have over 800 of Jane. Being away from my wife and daughter has still been the hardest part about this deployment, the best parts of my day are getting those pictures and videos. And the highlight of my week is getting to facetime them. I know I’ll never take family for granted. I’m blessed to have a great family that messages me regularly and sends me numerous care packages (I have been called the "Care Package King"). It’s crazy how going away 7,000 miles can sometimes bring you closer to people. I know that I feel closer to my family.