I have been so busy getting ready to go on R&R, moving to a new office building, and trying to get internet up at that new office...that I have totally forgotten to write anything. The soldiers of today's army have a saying "Too Easy!" I guess it kind-of means that compared to all of the real hard stuff that we do, some things just seem so easy that it is almost without any effort. To me, writing is one of those too easy things...so that is why I don't do it, it is easy to overlook, almost "too easy," if you will? Anyway, I just didn't have much to comment about. The holiday of Eid-Al-Fitr is over today, and tomorrow is back to the normal workday. We have been basically taking it easy for the past 4 or 5 days.
I have been taking some Ice out to the soldiers and guards out at our school. When the officers go on vacation, they forget about the soldiers that are stuck there for guard duty. So I try to take them some ice so that the water that they drink can be kept cold during the day. The soldiers all laugh at me, and say that I don't know how to take a day off. We sat today and drank Chai together after I dropped off the Ice (Thellege in Arabic). They really appreciate the small gestures. It is amazing how they respond to little things. Big things, not so much - Like when we do their classes for them, or re-wire their entire simulation center. Things are done to/for each other here on a much more personal level. They still see the government as some mythical entity that they hold almost no allegiance to. So, when we do something that benefits the school, even if it does make their lives a little easier, they see the benefit going to the Iraqi Army (or the Iraqi Government) and not to them individually. But something like bringing ice, which will result in a chilled drink, benefits them directly and has NO benefit to the mythical "government."
I made a collage of all of my pictures so far into a picture of the country of Iraq. Here it is. It only took about 2 hours to render. Not as bad as the movie that I made of the creation of this mosaic. It took almost 24 hours to render, and then all it did was produce about 165 Pictures. I had to run them through a movie maker program to put it into a movie...at least I could add music to it. It turned out ok, but I am not sure I will waste another 24 hours of compute time to make a silly thing like that. Who would want to see how a mosaic was built, anyway? But, I've included it here because I like the music. Not sure of why you would even use this feature on the mosaic making software, anyway. I did out of curiosity. Didn't think that it would take 24 hours to finish.
I really cannot even imagine what it will be like to go home this week. There is no real way to describe this. It reminds me of going home for the first time for Thanksgiving when I was a plebe at West Point. I was gone for 5 months that time. I think that this is the longest that I have ever been away from my home, any home. It has been almost 9 months since I was home. The time has flown, the sweat has been sweat-ed, the beer has not been drunk, and now it is time for some R&R. I wish that I could say that these next few days were going to be easy, but that is just not the case. I have several meetings, several other things that need to happen...not to go on leave, but just to make sure my guys here are set up for success.
See you all in the states in a little while...