The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


April 16, 2009

Name: Deployed Teacher
Posting date: 4/16/09
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog: Deployed Teacher   

Framed Teacher Influence My Polish friends (that's them on the right) are based here and maintain the Polish helicopters. Their soldiers are also based in Ghazni where they have a larger presence, along with greater military responsibility for that region. My friends Przemec and Tadek flew to Ghazni to do some work. It has turned out so far to be for 2-3 weeks, as expected. They should be returning soon.

Przemek's email from Ghazni reminded me of being back home at school, working with students who are learning English. It is displayed here without editing, except for location:

"cześć Mark, thank you for wrtting, Gazni is small place bat I thing so it is safety, I would like to come back to Base X how it is posible , bat My helicopters not flay now. Im going come back this week, TheWeather smotime is good bat not often, The acomodation is wore then ni Base X, is only small gym , bat my soliders are wery funy. I was too on Mass on Ash Wednesday, I dont have a lot of work because we heave problem with secial fiuel to helicopters. so we stay in erth. so sory my writing is not good I think co We will meet too, have you goot day Mark."

I am often humored by Przemek's attempts at spoken English. Here's an example. One evening we were at the AF rec area and I showed them how to play UNO, a card game I play at home with my son. I thought it would be a good game to teach them, because it involves colors, numbers, and words, in English. They enjoyed learning the game, and playing enabled them to practice speaking English.

It just so happened that, next to us, was a group of young Army and AF soldiers playing Texas Hold-Em; they were having their own unique experience. They were boisterous, enjoying themselves, and of course, using many colorful, descriptive English words to express their pleasure/displeasure with their poker hands.

So here I am, trying to help my friends learn English, and after a while, out of the blue as we were shuffling the UNO cards, ready to start another game, Przemec exclaims, "I like this fokking game, sheet, it is goot dam game"! The three of us busted up laughing and joined in, exchanging profanities of our own ("Shuffle the fokking deck!" "This is goot sheet game!") . A truly Joint Coalition experience.

I realized my Polish friends were keenly aware of the expletive phrases being thrown around by the young soldiers, and thought it would be fun to practice some of their own interpretations of colorful English phrasing. I'm sure they had heard these cuss words before, but in a learning mode, were intrigued by the descriptive vocabulary.They proudly wanted to emulate the usage of the newly acquired phrases, as if it were an honor to know these terms. I have to admit, they were quick f*#*n learners.


Oh man....I have seen English written like that by fellow Americans. My brother who is in high school was showing me a myspace page of a girl he liked and in her message section there were many messages written exactly like that...of course they don't have the excuse of being in the process of learning our language.

Just think that 40 years ago, if you and Polish solders had been alive and solders then, an iron curtain would have been separating you from each other. There is hope for the human family and the whole world.

Finding amusement in your friends' English is so American of us. Once in Spain, I caught myself thinking "This guy needs to work on his English." Thankfully, I caught myself before I said that out loud. I realized I needed to work on my Spanish. So, how's your Polish or your Pashto or Urdu? (In the interest of honesty, I should make clear, I am an English only speaker myself.)

Hvis der er nogen herinde som er til danske poker nyheder og poker videoer, så prøv lige at tjeck ud. De har mange “high stakes” poker sæsoner + WSOP video, ept poker, wsop poker og meget mere… Sweet site!

Great to see a collection of blog posts that includes thoughtful and perceptive commentary. Keep up the great work!!!

honestly I don't like the police but this article is very interesting and useful.

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