CPC Mindset

kabul, afghanistan, emirates, takeoffA friend who served in Afghanistan a couple tours ago told me it took her about a year to get out of a “CPC mindset” — passing the time from R&R to R&R, always needing something to look forward to. (CPC stands for “Critical Priority Countries,” like Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.)It’s been one year since we left Kabul and almost eleven months since we arrived to Amman. I’m not sure if I’m out the CPC mindset yet. We’ve definitely packed a lot of travel into our time here, and sometimes I feel like looking forward to the next trip is what gets me through tough weeks at work.In retrospect, Amman is not the best post-CPC assignment. The pace, profile and size of this mission are in some ways equal to CPC work. You have a life, mobility and safety (and don’t live on a compound) but you don’t get 60 out-of-country days to split among five trips in a single year. We’ve made our own mini R&Rs and RRBs, but is that a way to live when you are assigned somewhere for four years?Lately we’ve been trying to do more in Amman and Jordan generally. Visit new tourism sites (see: Umm ar-Rasas, Mukawir and Jerash). Explore different neighborhoods. Try new restaurants. We have our evening and weekend routines, our coffee shops, grocery stores, markets and other places we like to go.Fridays are my favorite days — perhaps obvious because it’s the first full weekend day (we work Sunday-Thursday). We usually wake up pretty early, and Kail goes to the grocery store while I do some homework. Then we spend a long day at the gym (we run and do two classes, spinning and a weights class). Then we have a huge and delicious lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. By this time it’s late afternoon so we usually just lounge around at home, or if we have evening plans, take a nap and go out later.We don’t have a long vacation planned for a while, but there are a lot of fall holidays (U.S. and local) coming up. I’m definitely looking forward to those, but in the meantime trying to appreciate each day instead of living in countdown mode until our next trip. Earlier this year I resumed my gratitude journal to force my glass-half-empty self to take a minute every night to reflect on three positive things that happened.Here are three things I wrote for yesterday (July 30, 2016):

  1. Momo party at our friends’ place
  2. Went to Istiklal Library Co., a Michaels-type stationary/crafting store, for the first time
  3. Carved out some time to write

What are you grateful for today?

Published by La Vie Overseas

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

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