Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Two Weeks of Normalcy, Sort of
AG was recently home on leave. The two weeks flew by faster than I think either of us would have liked. It felt almost like he had never left, right up until I had to take him back to the airport. He seemed to re-adjust to life back home well--razzing me about my driving, "Slow down, I can't find IED's at 75 mph!"
We did a few wedding things-- cake testing at a bakery, and menu tasting at our reception venue. It was his first time seeing the church and reception site, and he seemed pretty pleased with my choices. Initially, when we got engaged, he said I could just tell him what to wear and when to show up. However, over the past 11 months he has been interested in every detail of the planning. I think that it has been a nice distraction from war talk.
We also squeezed in some car shopping because about this time last year, AG's car decided to throw a piston through one of its cylinders and it had to be sold to an auto recycling company. Several days were also spent at his parents' home, and we were able to see a stand-up comic that came into town.
One of the most memorable parts of his visit was a trip to his old college campus. We went into the Telecommunications building and ran into one of his professors. It was amazing to me to see how easily AG makes an impression on others around him. We walked into the professor's office and there was a blue FBI hat sitting on top of his computer. The hat was from AG when he did an internship with them over ten years ago! Apparently, it was quite memorable as several agents had come in person to interview the professor and to do AG's background check.
That is probably a big difference between the two of us. AG doesn't really know any strangers. Although I am a friendly person, I am slow to warm up to people, and especially tend to stay under the radar when it comes to authority figures. I don't think very many of my college or med school professors could pick me out of a police lineup, let alone would they keep something that reminded them of me in their office.
As it turns out, despite being an infantryman by Army training, and a more recent stint with law enforcement, AG has been thrown back into his old telecommunications realm. With his last promotion, he was transferred to a different province in Afghanistan and now has a much more political position. His job mainly involved promoting the recent Afghan elections, and he set up several remote radio stations and was in charge of their programming. When he got there, the higher-ups were pleased to suddenly have someone with broadcasting training amongst them. They were so impressed with him, that they wanted to promote and transfer him yet again, but he turned it down because it would have meant another 6-8 months in Afghanistan. Apparently, everything fell apart while he was gone, but now that the re-elections have been canceled, they are now focusing on influenza prevention.
Putting him on the plane was easier this time, particularly now that he re-deploys in just two months. I found myself being more emotional when people would come up to him randomly out of a crowd and thank him for his service. It is nice to see soldiers being treated with respect. Apparently, on one of his flights in, random passengers gave up their first class seats to all of the soldiers. Other than some security stupidity in Atlanta (They made him throw out a pair of tennis shoes and a sleeping bag because they had foreign soil on them, despite all the dirt on his boots and uniform!), he did not run into any problems.
Before he left, he gave me a boyish grin and said, "Come on, what can happen in six weeks?"
I keep cringing because I do not want to find out.