BEING HOME |
June 27, 2008
It is the most amazing feeling in the world to be back in the States after so long in Iraq. While over there, it seemed like this day would never come, but finally it did. The flight back was full of anticipation as we all just wanted to end our long journey and be back with the ones we love and care about. For myself, from the time I was last walking around the streets of Baghdad until I landed back in the United States was only four days. Mind blowing, really.
Once we arrived at Ft Bragg, there were so many friends and family there, that it was a HUGE crowd. We formed up and marched in while everyone was screaming and cheering, and it was so hard to not break out with a huge smile across my face. The shivers ran throughout my body, and even a little bit right now just thinking about it. It was amazing and I couldn't have asked for much more. We headed back to the company, turned in our weapons, and got released for six hours until we had to come back to receive our safety brief before going into our three-day weekend.
That weekend was a good time of just relaxing and enjoying being back. Of course the alcohol consumption was a necessity, but fortunately everyone drank responsibly and had a plan for being out there. No one fucked up, no one got a DUI. So far so good. Hopefully everyone continues to do the right thing and no one ruins it for everyone. For the next five or six weekends we will be having three- and four-day weekends every weekend. We work half days, so by 12:00 we are done. I'm not going to lie; it's nice.
We started doing typical PT, and I am hurting. Although I was going to the gym in Iraq I really didn't run all that much, and being back running hills and fire breaks in the woods has taken its toll on my legs. By the end of the third day of PT, I was officially broken off and walking a little funny. Guess it's going to take a little time.
One thing that was a little unsettling; out on some range on Ft Bragg they were launching mortars or artillery or blowing up something really big and often. One day the explosions were so loud it was shaking the barracks and could be heard AND felt throughout both adjacent cities of Fayetteville and Spring Lake. I was at the car stereo place dropping off my car to get my new system installed, when I walked outside and heard an earth-shaking explosion. It didn't startle me, but it sounded like how an IED sounded going off just outside the gates of the FOB, and I thought to myself, "I thought I was getting away from this crap!" Hahaha. I got used to hearing explosions back there, but I surely didn't expect to continue to have to hear them. Fortunately I only have a couple more months left in the Army and then I shouldn't have to hear them again.
I decided to take a last minute trip back home to Phoenix for our four-day weekend. I didn't let my mom know that I was coming and totally surprised her when I showed up at her place. It's been good to see her, as well as my friends. I'm having a blast here and I'm really enjoying my insanely low alcohol tolerance. I went all out on the car rental too and decided to drive around a brand new Infinity G35. It is a sweet car and I really really REALLY don't want to have to take it back.
It's amazing how the weather is totally different here than in North Carolina. In NC I was freezing, especially in the morning, and it was incredibly windy all week. Here in Phoenix it's a completely different story. The temperatures are near perfect, the beautiful blue skies are amazing, and the sun beams down brightly and full of warmth. We were at the pool the other day for only a couple hours, and as a result of not applying any sunblock I have an attractive redness to my skin. Hopefully it turns into a nice tan and doesn't peel away.
So that's about all for now. Like I said, I am loving every minute of being back. In many ways it's so surreal, but I'm taking it all in, slowing and experiencing many things that I had missed out on over the last 15 months. It truly is so amazing to be back and I'm so happy that I am able to experience this amazing place again!