43. Ten Things (Afghan Style)

by 4linnea

Guest entry from Afghanistan.

10. FaceTime

The best way to talk to the family back in the homeland and a good way to escape.  At night and the early morning, camp is scattered with people talking into their iPads/iPhones/computers to their loved ones.  Used to have to send letters to communicate with people in the free world. Bandwidth on the weekends is at a premium.  Also, allows people to take screen shots of my homeless looking hair/beard.

9. Heat

Yup… I can feel it on my eyeballs.

8. Coffee

Arguably more crucial to survival here than a rifle and body armor.  I opted for the Starbucks Via and Foldgers instant coffee packs – just add hot water.  Especially critical for months four through six.  Wait… I’ve been on instant coffee for the past six months?!  I’ve delayed entire meetings because I had to make my coffee… deal with it.  Never with cream or sugar.

7. Helicopters

Who doesn’t want to ride in a helicopter.  Also great for covering us when we are in a “not so nice neighborhood.”  Yell “GET TO THE CHOPPA” while hopping on.

6. Poo

Cow, goat, donkey, sheep, camel, bird, dog, cat, human (adult and child) – Stepped in all of it – for Murica.

5. Headphones

Great for listening to music, watching movies, or Face Timing so people don’t listen in on your conversation.  Also great for tying to ignore people when I haven’t had my coffee (its for their own good).


The ultimate status symbol in a combat zone. Shampoo it and comb it for best growth.  Fear the beard!

Fear the beard!

Fear the beard!

3.Life Threatening Moments

“Why is that car getting so close to us?” “What’s behind this door?” “What are these explosives doing here?”  “Did we just walk through a minefield? Yeah, we just walked through a minefield.” “Let me see your hands… HANDS UP!” Thank God for rifle-mounted laser pointers… the international sign for “Don’t mess with me.”

Then laugh about it.


Hot trash.

1. Care Packages

Mail call turns into grown adults acting like little kids opening packages on Christmas morning.  “Oh my care package is here!  What did I get!? What did you get!?” Most are shared with everyone and the baked goods go quickly.  They were one of my few sources of life sustaining coffee.



P.S. This post is dedicated to my friends and family who put up with my craziness and support me doing this.  Love you guys!

Currently listening to: Tor/Sufjan Stevens – The Dress Looks Nice on You/Feel That Way (f. Gift of Gab)