Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Doing better on a six month deployment than on a six week TDY

Well into completing the fourth month here and I can't help but notice that I'm doing better on this deployment than I did on my six week TDY to Montgomery, AL.  I would venture to bet that the off-duty stuff is what makes it happen.  At Gunter, the students were pretty isolated from the working side of the base so the folks that we had to had to hang out with were other students and, really, I saw them almost every day during the duty day.  I didn't really want to hang out with them off-duty as well.  Not to mention that I'm not a big fan of hanging out with a bunch of people that I don't really know and drink with them.
Here, is different.  Only two people that I work with (on the same shift) have the same day off and I don't see myself hanging out with them.  Okay, that part is the same.    However, I can go to a couple of the other agencies on base and visit with the folks that I know there.  I think the other difference is the amount of off-duty time that we have here.  Less time to not hang out with anyone.  At school, we started around 7am and then were off around 3pm and had Saturdays and Sundays off.  Here, I work noon to midnight but am at work by 11:25am and don't get home til any time between midnight 30 and 1:30am.  My day off is totally routine--laundry, movie, coffee, and food; usually gym and a trip to the Exchange, as well--and the day is over before I know it.
The point is: with more of my time being occupied--even if only by work and sleep--I don't notice that I'm far from friends.  This is especially important because my natural self is wary that folks won't accept me and therefore I stay guarded and tend to be a little heavy on the sarcastic side as a way to protect myself.
Okay, that tangent was very subtle but damn, so true.  Anyhow, the days aren't flying by but they aren't dragging either and I'm making it through pretty well.
Now, let me share my Off Base Excursion with you.  Oh, a Off Base Request is the verb but an OBR is a noun.  I know, it's really the same thing but "I'm going on an OBR on such and such day" is an accepted phrase.  So, my OBR was on the 25th of February.  I earned it by submitting an improvement suggestion for one of our technical orders for fixing our planes--oh, on another tangent...the Feb 25th issue of the Air Force Times talks about the withdrawal from Afghanistan; what it doesn't mention is that my workcenter (which isn't in Afghanistan) is going to be hopping in the upcoming months...just sayin'--back to the focus of this paragraph...
The first stop was the Hyatt in downtown Bishkek for a small repast and a massage.  It was night and day different from the one on base (  This time, it was very much like the ones that I'm used to in the States with one slight difference: they rub the dickens out of your glutes.    It had the nice robe, though, and a dimly lit room with relaxing music playing.  I had to conciously tell myself to relax when she was massaging my "cheeks" cause they're not used to getting massaged.  Once that part was passed, though, I was able to fully relax.  I even fell asleep when she was massaging my legs.  Loved it!! 
After everyone got their massages, we headed to lunch.  It was an Indian food restaurant.  Not a big fan so I had salmon.  It was excellent and just the right amount.  Our final stop was shopping.  We went to a "mall."  Imagine one big, square building with five levels.  There were very few interior walls though.  You could easily tell the borders for each "store" but they really weren't separated by anything more than strategically placed shelves.  Really tall shelves.  The nicest looking store was the perfume one with high end perfumes like you'd find in any Macy's or Nordstrom in the States.  Yep, I spritzed myself.  Felt great to smell like perfume again.  :)  I didn't buy anything though.
Bishkek, itself, appears to be very rundown.  The infrastructure is well worn and, in some places, crumbling.  There are a ton of shanty-like homes.  It was kind of depressing.  I'm looking forward to visiting again; if only so that I can see the contrast between winter in Bishkek and spring.
I do have another OBR next week.  We're going to visit Babushkas (grandmothers).

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