Thursday, August 16, 2012

50 Shades of Beige

I arrived in Kabul without incident (not counting the 5 hour delay getting out of Dulles). Having served in Baghdad, my first reaction is to compare everything with that experience. In terms of the living situation, Baghdad wins hands down. That's not to say things are that bad here; in fact I'm fairly lucky. I have one of the nicer hooches, a storage container that has been converted into a "housing unit." I have a 30-second commute to my office, the gym, and the DFAC. The downside here is that so much stuff is crammed together and combined with all the closed-off construction sites, I feel like a rat in a maze. And my shoes will be destroyed before long. Some days I wouldn't mind wearing fatigues and boots every day like our military colleagues, rather than trying to pretend I'm in a normal work environment and wearing office clothes.

A 1-year tour doesn't give you the luxury of easing into the job and taking a few weeks to figure things out. So I hit the ground running. Grant work wouldn't normally appeal to me, but I'm pleased with the portfolio I have here. I'll get to do some interesting projects and the job allows me to get out of the embassy often enough to keep me from going stir crazy. In my first week here, I got out three times.