Deployment: Week 15-20

Oh, hey... you thought I'd forgotten about deployment updates, didn't you?

(Riiight. Because it's super easy to forget that my best friend is 7000 miles away in the middle of the Afghanistan desert. Slips my mind all. the. time.)

A lot of people ask me if Zach tells me everything about the deployment: the things he sees and encounters. And he does. He's incredibly honest with me, and I really appreciate that. I know some people prefer the "ignorance is bliss" approach when it comes to deployment, but I like being informed. Fortunately, there haven't been too many situations where he might need to leave out details to prevent me from worrying to death; the deployment has been very smooth & he hasn't been involved in any overly dangerous situations.

So really, there isn't much to update. Yes, sometimes there are stories, like nights where Zach hears explosions and sees artillery blasts while standing post. Or last month where the Afghanistan police-in-training lived on the base & made everyone uneasy, since there's always a chance that a terrorist is posing as a Afghanistan policeman. (They all graduated last week and left, thank goodness).

But all of these stories are not really stories, you see. It's real life. It's not some romanticized blog-story; it's not a thrilling update. And apart from "How is he doing?" (fine) and "Does he need anything?" (no), I'm not sure what else to include. (If you have any specific questions, email me or leave a comment! I'd love some guidance...)

Hence why I asked Zach to write something when I talked to him yesterday :) This is what I got:

Hey blog world, I have the honor of getting a message posted on the blog. (Be jealous.)
Everything over here in Afghanistan is winding down as the fighting season comes to an end. (The fighting season is the summer months... not sure why. It has something to do with the crops and such.)
Also, I'm two thirds of the way done.
The weather is starting to cool off; some people have started wearing warming layers out here. I'm enjoying it, although I sometimes get the chills.
I know one thing: I'm not going to want to see sand for a long time after this.
Thanks to everyone who sent me mail since I've been out here. It means the world to me. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the change of seasons. I also hope to have another paragraph on here soon.
- LCpl Jones Zacharie K

Let it be known that the above paragraph or so is significantly longer than the emails I typically receive. Somebody is showing off... :)

However, the boy did bring up a good point. As of super recently, deployment is 67% over!

(I now regret not designing that sooner in the deployment. It's cute.)

Also, let it be known that after working 12+ hour days for 140 days in a row, Zach got the day off on Sunday! His unit got some combat replacements that are rotating through the posts, so he got a surprise break :) Can I emphasize the 12+ hour days for 140 DAYS IN A ROW once again? He's constantly telling me that he doesn't see how I can take five classes, work two jobs and an internship, and volunteer in two different Durham public schools. Um, are you kidding me?! I get a nap more than twice a year...

Lastly, I feel the need to elaborate on Zach's comment about the weather starting to "cool off" in Afghanistan. It's still in the triple digits, folks. But it's no longer 140 degrees, and the temperature does drop at night. Last week (or the week before that, I'm not sure... it all runs together), Zach told me that it was so cold, he slept in sweatpants! For those of you who know Zach, you know this is absolutely unheard of! Just how cold does it have to be for this Marine to bust out the sweatpants?

It got all the way down to 75 degrees---I was freezing!

Truth. The weather is cooling off, but their bodies are so acclimated to the extreme heat that typically warm temperatures feel cool to them... or even downright cold! Boy is going to have a huge reality check when he arrives back to the states in the dead of winter.

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