Armored vehicles, T-walls, checkpoints, helicopters flying overhead, and occasional duck & cover alarms don't even phase me after 2 months.
VIP visits barely register a blip among most of the embassy staff. Since I've been here, we've had 2 secretaries, some deputy and assistant secretaries, numerous congressional delegations, and more visits are planned. In a normal embassy, these kinds of visits would shut down normal operations. Here, it's just another day in the IZ.
Simple pleasures are appreciated. A homemade banner to celebrate someone's birthday, a fresh egg, eating dinner outside now that it drops below 90 at night. Anything that breaks up the monotony.
I'm continuously amazed by the caliber of people here. Sure, there are a few stinkers. But there are some really smart people doing really good work. When all of this is over, nobody can say we didn't try.