Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I just finished “The Last True Story I Will Ever Tell” by John Crawford. It was a great book about a Florida National Guardsman who was sent to Iraq (got the call on his honeymoon) just two credits shy of graduation, and almost out of the Army. He was there for much, much longer than he was told he would be. Much of the book talked about homecomings. I know mine will be much different than a combat one, and would never lump them in the same basket. It did make me think though about what it will be like for me.
There is all this talk about “re-entry shock” and hating everything in America. I am excited to have a cheeseburger and a beer. The reverse stuff seems to come true if someone goes to a place they fit in better than America. I enjoy the Middle East, but don’t feel or identify as Arab. My home doesn’t lie in the Middle East, it is in the Midwest. I don’t think “re-entry shock” will be an issue for me.
There are definitely things I think more about now. I think democracy is great, and am fully ready and willing to die for my democracy. However the Omani’s could not get done what they have with everyone voting on everything. (When our own government almost shuts down, it may be time to reevaluate whether the elected have America in their hearts or if partisan bickering is more the flavor of the day.) This is one place where a benevolent dictator works. (Egypt didn’t, Jordan it kind of does.)
I think I will be less worked up over things. My biggest pet peeve is people blowing up on each other or little things. Want something to blow up on? Work for 16 hours building a tower in Dubai for 60 cents a day, go home to live in a one bedroom shack with 10 other Indians. (And this is a step up from staying home.) Oh and you will never, ever be able to afford to even set foot in the tower you are building.
Imagine being a woman and only studying or gossiping. You aren’t free to go out and sit in coffee shops or have male contact outside of academic institution.
Stuff like that makes yelling at the guy in traffic or yelling about some clothing placed in the wrong room of a house not worth it. It could always be worse.
I am worried about reintegrating with my friends. I have talked to a fair amount and with things like facebook I am not as out of touch as I thought I would be. However I don’t have a clue what is popular in movies or music (and probably won’t like it.) We lived very different lives for the last few months. I am excited to take it easy this summer, but can’t manage to find a 8-5 outdoor one allowing me to do so (if you know any in DSM shoot me an email (i.weller@mac.com)
It is going to be interesting having a summer to adjust but also be on my own in DSM, and one that I am looking forward to.

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