This last week was the best week I’ve had since I left home on June 4th. I had the opportunity to travel to one of the other camps in Afghanistan to perform an assessment. The host nation for the camp happens to be the Italians. After this last week I feel in love with Italians, and truly embrace the phrase “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s Do”. While there you still know you are in Afghanistan, but somehow they found a way to make you feel like you’re in Italy. We did a lot of work and accomplished the mission, yet despite the long hours I still wanted to stay. The Italians showed us true hospitality from the moment we touched down and continue to extend this hospitality even after we are gone. Our sponsor was an Italian, Gianluca, and I certainly made an Italian friend!
The Italians are just happy. They smiled and spent time to really get to know each other. There was true comradery among their ranks and they continuously extended the same comradery to us. Multiply times a day we had to take an espresso break. Of course it was an Italian espresso break, not an American coffee break. Italians don’t drink brown water! Three or four times a day we would meet in one of the many cafes and have an Italian espresso. I really enjoyed these breaks. The Italians take 15 minutes every few hours to take a break, talk, get to know each other, do a little business and just laugh. Because of this they are just happy. They get the work done, but with a smile and a caffeine high. I explained to Gianluca how in Kabul we walk around a little down cast and we just lake the joy I saw at the Italian camp. He was shocked we would or even could operate like that. They just could not understand why we choose to be miserable.
The air quality there is much better than here in Kabul. I was able to run outside which was amazing. I have not run outside since we were in North Carolina over 2 months ago. I have no problem doing all my training on a treadmill, but it was really nice to get outside and enjoy a run in the mountains!
The food was amazing. They have an Italian dining facility and the food was delicious. There was ceviche, delicious pasta sauce, and pasta of course. There were grilled tomatoes for breakfast and aged parmesan. The best part for the first time in months my stomach was not upset. I actually digested my food. I really enjoyed every meal.
There were other really great parts. I had my own room and that was divine. I can’t complain about my roommate here in Kabul. Her and I get along, but it was nice to have my own space. I mean to be able to fart whenever you want is a welcomed changed! The part I did find strange was we had to purchase our own toilet paper. Although I would buy my own toilet paper in exchange for my own room.
We were treated like VIPs the entire trip, it made me forget where I was for a few days. We even flew VIP flights to and from. I enjoyed the time away even though we worked late and accomplish a lot. It was nice to get away. I traveled with two really great officers, one Air Force and one Navy. I hope if for nothing else I can bring a little Rome back with me to Kabul. They get their work done, but they are just happy. I am choosing to be happy, no misery here I want to change the saying a little and recommend when in Rome do like the Italians in Afghanistan!
View from my VIP flight and selfie of me inside!