Tuesday, September 18, 2007

5 things I liked about my time in Iraq

Well, after 8 long months here in Iraq, I'm finally going back home to Hawaii in less than 3 weeks.  Obviously I spent a lot of time (probably too much) griping about things I didn't like about being here ... I missed my family!  But just to keep things in perspective, I thought it was important to also write down some of the things I liked.

First, let me qualify this a little bit.  During my time here I was what's known as a Fobbit ... someone who spends their whole tour on a relatively secure base.  I can hardly begin to imagine the real sacrifices that the soldiers who are outside the wire everyday have made during their very long time here in Iraq.  I feel for those guys/girls.

That being said, here's my list of things that actually weren't too bad about living on FOB Sykes for 8 months ...

  1. The food was excellent - While I'm not even going to try to guess what Uncle Sam is paying them to feed us, I do have to say that KBR put on a good spread.  Every day they had different entrees, short order food, the best hot sandwiches I've ever had, a fresh salad bar, and a dessert selection that I probably should have avoided more often than I did.   ;-)

  2. Hanging out with my friends - From March until about the end of June, I was on days shift at work, and spent literally every evening at the MWR building playing Texas Hold 'em with my buddies.  It was a great time, and I made some good friends who I intend to try to keep in touch with.

  3. Internet access - I have to say that the Internet access over here was much better than I expected.  In addition to the MWR Internet cafe computer that I'm typing on right now, I also had relatively free web browsing while at work.  In fact, I could actually get to more websites from my computer at work here, than from the one sitting on my office desk back in Hawaii.

  4. Inexpensive DVDs - We have a little shop on base that sells DVD movies and tv shows ... I was a regular visitor.  While I was here I watched about 10 multi-season TV series including Friends, Grey's Anatomy, Six Feet Under, Will and Grace, Las Vegas, CSI,  a few others, and many many movies.  LOL, I don't think I'm going to need to watch tv at home for at least the next 6 months.

  5. Cheap phone calls - Another thing that worked out better than I expected was the ability to call home and keep in touch with my wife.  In the MWR Internet cafe, they have a bank of VOIP phones operated by SPAWAR that sells phone cards with rates of .04 cents of minutes.  The quality wasn't always the greatest, and sometimes the phones were down altogether, but the simple fact is, I got to call home almost every day I was here ... that made things a lot easier.


I may come back and add to this list once I'm back home and have had a little more time to reflect.

Til next time ...

Todd

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