Afghanistan Arrival


foreign service apartment, foreign service housing, embassy housingDrexel Heritage furniture, how I’ve missed you.Kail and I arrived safely to Afghanistan last week. It’s been a whirlwind first few days in country, what with the long journey, jetlag, various orientations/check-in processes and trying to meet our colleagues and neighbors, learn our way around and, oh yeah, dive into work. We’re adapting, slowly but surely.Truth be told, I’m so relieved we’re finally here and this whole thing can get started. I feel like we’ve been gearing up for so long — ever since bidding started almost a year ago — it’s a relief to experience the reality of life and work here instead of talking about it and reading about it and thinking about it (and worrying about it). As I sometimes tell myself before heading out for a run: The sooner it starts, the sooner it ends. Our countdown has finally begun.We haven’t been here long enough for me to really develop and properly reflect upon first impressions of this unique experience (I’ll save that for another post), so I’ll share just a few observations and thoughts from our first few days:We have a nice apartment. We are fortunate that, since we are here as a couple, we get to live in a pretty decent-sized apartment instead of a modified shipping container (also known as a “hooch”). Our apartment here is definitely larger than the first apartment in which Kail and I lived after we got married (in Arlington). Now, it’s not El Salvador nice but it’s comfortable and feels like a home. We’re looking forward to receiving our UAB/HHE and consumables shipments so we can really feel settled.foreign service apartment, foreign service housing, embassy housingWe are experiencing jetlag, but it’s not awful. Maybe the worst of our sleep problems are yet to come (sleep issues apparently are one of the larger health problems here at post), but since we departed Washington, we’ve been So. Tired. by the evening that it has not been a problem to fall asleep — and stay asleep for at least five to six hours. Obviously, five to six hours is not enough sleep, but with each passing night we have been able to sleep in slightly later in the morning … so we’ve gone from 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. wake-ups. I actually like getting up early and starting my day with a workout or some reading (or both) because by the time I show up for work, I feel like I’ve already accomplished something.We’re all about fitness. We’re loving the exercise facilities here and have worked out everyday (sometimes twice a day — remember those hamburgers? Yeah, that’s why.). I especially am loving all the fitness classes here. I have done yoga (I am really not a yoga person but I have vowed to become one here!) and am going to check out a spinning class soon. There are even some other things (Zumba, Crossfit) that I never really would have considered before, but am willing to try out.We’re definitely buying some carpets. There are so many beautiful carpets for sale it’s tempting to go on a shopping spree right now. One of our good friends from El Salvador who is also here on a one-year tour organized a shopping trip (not off-compound, obvs) and Afghan food lunch with one of the carpet vendors. But we still have a year left and limited space so we I have to exercise some restraint.We love seeing familiar faces. Not the same faces all the time (which we have heard wears on everyone eventually) but “familiar” as in friends and colleagues from El Salvador, Kail’s DLI class and even new friends we met in training in Washington. This transition has been very intimidating and overwhelming and exciting and a bunch of other adjectives all across the spectrum. It was comforting to know we were going into it (and are in it) with all these other people, friends and strangers alike.Do you have any jetlag experiences/remedies to share?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

11 thoughts on “Afghanistan Arrival

  1. I’m so glad you are safe and sound! Seems like you are adjusting to your new life just fine. I am excited to follow all your experiences and adventures on the blog as the year goes on! Miss you.


  2. Happy to hear you got there safe and sound and can start settling in. Have you tried melatonin or ambien to get on a decent sleep schedule?


    1. Thanks! I took Zquil on the plane and have taken it a couple nights. The health unit here recommended coming in for sleep aids if problems persist for like a week or a week and a half, and since we are able to sleep a little bit later each night it hasn’t been a problem thus far. I’m nervous about getting too reliant on drugs for sleep though (I know melatonin is natural).


  3. If you like reggaeton, you will love Zumba. (or, at least, Zumba done properly, not YMCA-class-for-moms version). I have never heard you mention reggaeton, but it is a Latin American analog to Yin Yang Twins, so…


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