Sand Through My Toes

My big adventure in the sand

Full Circle

Hi All – 

When I left in June 2012, the Colonel of the base came to our last faculty meeting and he presented me with the Garrison coin, Garrison Coin along with saying a few words as I headed out on my new adventure!  

When I left Shindand, the Colonel there presented me with his coin and thanked me for all the hard work, along with the sacrifices made to ensure success for all my future Afghan pilots that I had the pleasure of teaching.  Wow, the Shindandy Sunny Days sure gave me a nice tan….but nowIMG_1225 

Now, IT IS OFFICIAL!!  February 2014 brought it all to a close.  The same Colonel from June 2012 came back to my school and presented me with the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism.  Thank goodness I wore a cowl neck sweater so the Colonel didn’t stick me with the pin or worse…  ha ha ha :-).   

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THANK YOU  to all of you who helped to keep my spirits up while away for 15 months!  It meant the world to me to know so many people cared and I honestly can’t thank you enough!  Now, time to get back into the swing of things and share all the great adventures that are still come……  hmm, with France, Munich, Italy, Finland, Switzerland already visited this year, now it’s Dubai, Stuttgart, and a few other destinations in the hopper! Have I mentioned that I love my life? :-). Thank you once again! 

 

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I am HOME #2

This is the sign that greeted me when I walked through the front door of my place in Germany!  I was so excited to Welcome Home be back after 14 months but the feeling was even better with the sign, the snacks and drinks in the fridge, along with some fruit!!  Plus, Steve and Carrie were at my place when the entire Tobash clan pulled up into my driveway to let me out!  I love my friends and can’t thank you enough for making my homecoming so wonderful!   

After a quick three-hour nap, it was time to shower and get on the bus to head downtown for the yearly Wiesbaden Wine Fest!  My gosh, to have a friend drive up from K-Town and to see so many at the wine fest, made for a wonderful evening!  I was able to enjoy some very fattening Kartoffel chips — they take a potato and use something like an apple peeler to make it into curls, then deep fry, salt them up and serve ’em up with garlic sauce!  Yum yum good and to have that as the first stop, even before wine/beer made for a great start to the evening!  Kartoffel Chips

Now that the chips are had, made our way to our reserved seating and the same waitress from two years ago gets this big smile on her face  and welcomes me back — did she really remember me?  Yep, I believe she did.  Here’s to Amy for driving up for the evening and everyone else that was there that night — loved my Andechs even though it was the wine fest!  Oh well!  Fest Time with Amy

Headed into work and guess what? Once again, wonderful friends that welcomed me back to school with another banner!  Ah to be missed and loved is a great feeling! I also was given a brand new box of Ticonderoga pencils with a note that said “Enjoy the sweet aroma!”  — how I have missed the smell of the best pencil ever!!  Don’t fret, plenty of the best pencils in the sand and my students loved them, too!!School Sign  

 After a lovely week of trying to get over jet lag, it was time to enjoy the Kloppenheim Fest and be a bit cultural too and see a play!  Kloppenheim was fun with friends, wine, champagne, brats, and spundekase with pretzel!  Yummy!! I am not sure that we were all on board with their 5 Euro donation to the “Rooster Fun” — PETA would not be happy if it’s true what happens on Sunday to the rooster!  Joy, did you find out?  

Cultural night at the local theater with another group of friends —  love to meet up and eat/drink at Nova as they have a good pour and it was relaxing to enjoy two glasses of Montepulciano and then continue on to “Around the World in 80 Days”.  Olivier was great — thanks for the invite Andy! My Bald Date

Now, time to get ready for the start of a new school year!  Looking forward to reconnecting with my students I had prior to the sand  and meeting the new ones!  

I am HOME!!!!!

Thirsty....  at 3:10 am After quite the whirlwind trip home beginning last Saturday at 11:45 am Kuwait time and ending late Monday when I walked through the front door, I am finally on the upward swing of knocking out this sickness I had and enjoying my last week at home!  Fifteen hours total in an aircraft, so after five hours a lay over is necessary and although it happened at 3:10 am, it was in Leipzig — yes, my work country away from home!!  So you know what that means — although sicker than a dog, and beyond exhausted, my first Weizen beer went down so smooth I believe I could have had a slight buzz with my 102.1 fever — yep, but it tasted just great!!!  Out processing smooth, catching my flight to S FL smooth, kicking this sickness taking a bit longer than I like, and now hanging on the beach with my sister, niece and nephews — what else could I ask for!

I do have to say that there are times that I look at my watch and wonder why I haven’t heard the base wide intercom system going BEEP, BEEP, BEEP,  “Do Not Evacuate the Building, this is only a Drill!, I repeat, Do Not Evacuate the Building, this is only a Drill!”.  The crazy things I miss hearing after a week are rather interesting!!

One Wake Up

and a late night into the wee early hours of the next morning!  Yeppers, I am finally on my way after 365 days in the sun, sand and wind of this very interesting country!  Soon enough I’ll be back stateside for roughly 12 days to spend time with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and friends.  Even though I have enjoyed the sun and sand here, looking forward to putting on my water shoes and enjoying the beach in South Florida! Not to mention a nice cold beer to boot!!!!


Ah, my siblings ….venture a guess when the photo was taken due to the t-shirts and the reel to reel in the background!  Dorsch Kids

 

Plus, how could I forget how to thank all my family and friends in Germany that took such great care of Bunny while I was away — don’t be afraid of those mean people that tried to kidnap you and hold you for ransom — Trish, Mark and Susan wouldn’t let anything happen to you!!  See you soon Bunny!!  

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Now it’s Triply Official…

Last week, I received my Letter of Release.  Then, I was called to attend theIMG_1225 Base Commander’s Weekly Meeting, with whom I spent 11 months with in the sand to receive  a ribbing and my “coin”.  I still appreciate the Colonel even though he is a South Carolina Gamecock supporter and his team did beat The Gators and I had to listen to his rhetoric in front of all at the meeting — but all in all, a great guy and geez, with Spurrier as his head coach, he should be winning games!

Now, the icing on the cake, the triple whammy, I now have in my hands my ULN (don’t ask as there are so many acronyms and I just nod my head like I know what folks are talking about) which is the official “show time” for my projected flights to my final destination!  I will be at the terminal bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the middle of the night — yeah right, interrupting my 8 hours of sleep :-(.  But all worth it as I get to meet up with my roomie of 7 months and a few others that have been at different sites throughout the year to make our trek stateside.

Hopefully all of you are enjoying your summer vacation and I too will be enjoying mine soon enough!!

 

 

It’s Official…….

I have finally received my “Letter of Release” from my fantastic year of teaching in the sand! No, the release is not this week but it is slated for the end of the month!  I am very excited to finish up, and be able to spend time with my family and friends before heading to my world in Europe.  I do have a tinge of sadness as I have met so many great people, including this last month here, that it will be difficult to say bye — the positive I do see in it though, I am not one to say good-bye but “see you later” and hopefully those words will ring true for quite a few of my new friends here in the sand.  I am in the process of packing up two small boxes and a medium size one so when I begin my trek across the world to get home my luggage isn’t too much of a burden to drag around. I’ll miss the images below but know that they were all necessary for my safety while here!!!  Barbed Wire Safety!

Ah, protection...

What’s an Extra Week?

10 days of Paid Home Leave — eligible for 15 but that would mean that I wouldn’t convert back to my regular ‘ol self in Europe in enough time for the start of the school year!  Although I won’t see the states or enjoy my timeshare in the month of July, I will have a bit of time for rebuilding my tolerance level for adult beverages, shopping, sun and sand but only sand that leads to the ocean, some more shopping, and friends and family before I fly out mid August (can’t miss the local wine fest)!  What makes my extra week in this sand a little bit easier to enjoy — confirmation to the following:

Welcome Back!!!

Welcome Back, the Hippodrome looks forward to having me!

50 Ways to Leave the Sand

As always when working for the higher ups, there tends to be a bit of bureaucratic red tape that needs to get worked through in order to be eligible for home leave!  Well, in order for that to happen, it delays my departure by a week but I’ll be able to spend extra time in the states before I head back to Europe for another exciting year overseas!  Although it is 49 days until I get on my first aircraft of four to start the journey to out process, pretend it’s 50!  🙂

Beginning of the SandStorm heading towards our Compound

Beginning of the SandStorm heading towards our Compound

Dig out your old records, locate it on iTunes, or just google the instrumental version of  50 Ways to Leave you Lover…and instead of singing along to the song you all know best, try it out with my lyrics below.  Now keep in mind that I am far from a song writer as you can tell from my rendition of…….

50 Ways to Leave the Sand

He came to me and said it is almost time go

I couldn’t believe it and just shook my head no!

How can I say bye to my students and new friends,

There must be 50 Ways to Leave the Sand….

I have to do it b/c my time is almost up

And my friends are waiting for me in Europe!

So although it’s difficult to think about now,

There must be 50 Ways to Leave the Sand

50 Ways to Leave the Sand….

Sand Storm arrives in our Compound!

Sand Storm arrives in our Compound!

Just pack up your stuff, girl

No time for a fun twirl;

Grab your bags and do an arm curl,

Just listen to me……

Head over to the ATOC

Sign up for your seat spot

To get out of the desert hot

And set yourself free…..

The students are really great

But it is time to cut bait

And no longer have debates

Every morning at eight!

Cold One on the Beach, Poolside, Patio....at this point, anywhere!! :-)

Cold One on the Beach, Poolside, Patio….at this point, anywhere!! 🙂

It’s fun to meet new friends at The Far East

But now I must go and enjoy a brewer’s yeast

Hopefully somewhere down in the southeast!

There must be 50 Ways to Leave the Sand,

50 Ways to Leave the Sand……

Hopefully you were able to hum along and enjoy my rendition of my new song! In the midst of the 100 days of wind, trust me when I tell you that sand tastes the same everywhere!  🙂 Don’t think I go around tasting sand when I am on lying on the beach but I would venture to guess it’s still gritty in your mouth no matter how it finds its way to you!!

60 Days and A Wake Up!!

Yes indeed!  I am now down to two months until I will be in another country getting prepared to out process and meet up with friends that I trained with at the beginning of this whole crazy experience!  To think 10 months ago  I was learning about being a monk, a chunk, or a hunk…and literally learning from hunks on how to handle my gun — oh wait, a gun is for fun, I mean my weapon!  Flying around in black hawks, learning a new curriculum with very exciting grammar points, safety drills, more safety drills, and always checking my six!  

Well, all those safety drills came in handy b/c with 60 days left in country, I have moved to another location.  The joy of packing up 10 months worth of “stuff” that made me feel more at home than in the desert in a two hour time span was rather interesting!  From a hardened building with only one roommate and a rather spacious room, to a tent with 5 other roommates and no space, but at least the rooms are plywood separated :-).  

Know that we are all safe and sound yet in a holding pattern for our next move. Check out my new digs…..  I never thought I would say this, but I do miss my compound, my space, my spacious shower and my toilet area where my knees didn’t hit the door! I was spoiled…..

My New Room

Clothes DrawerMy New Home...Tent 22

Sand, Sun, and Several More Weeks…..

After three exciting days of travel, and not sleeping in a bed since Tuesday night, I made it back to my base around 1:00 am and crawled into my single bunk bed around 2:00!  Exhausted but happy to sleep on a mattress not steel chairs or hammock type seats on the aircraft.  Speaking of the aircraft, once again, I had an “excellent to be friendly and outgoing personality” experience.  As we are loading up with our gear and finding the hammock seat that would be mine, the Capt. is chatting to me as we load up.  He wants to know if I would like to sit up front during the take off and weather permitting, the landing!  OH WHAT?  Well, my new acquaintances are laughing and carrying on about being a female and the things we get (it does help that I was one of three of the 24 on the aircraft), off I go to the cockpit (I am sure there is some other political correct word for it these days).  It’s amazing how high off the ground you are and how little everything looks on the tarmac.  After many checks, switches, turning of knobs, pushing of buttons, co-pilot check, pilot check, and making funny references to me sitting in the seat behind them, (yes, I had on headphones to hear/communicate with the crew)  control tower talks to them and off we go! Hauling ass down the runway, lift off, in the air, and up into the clouds we go…..okay, not that quick as it was a big plane with lots of stuff inside having to get off the ground, but my gosh, it was all AWESOME!  The coolest part, seeing The Palms and the 2nd Palm that was a flop b/c it is already sinking into the ocean..but I am sure the oil tycoons will figure out how to raise it and make it as successful as The Palms!  Also, cool to see the Burj al Khalifa from the air.  Although fun up in the front, opted to get some sleep and head back to my hammock!  

Back to the grind tomorrow, smiling with the countdown calendar of 77 more days in the sand (sorry family, misinformation from my co-worker)!  No photo as not permitted inside the cockpit or aircraft! 

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