A Criminal Background check. Doesn’t it usually take 6-8 weeks to be issued? I think I had a NATO Secret Clearance hidden somewhere in my piles of kept paper work. I didn’t know if I could or wanted to secure this job at all. In the Letter of Offer I found that I had more than 60 days of unpaid vacation per year, I was underpaid (for Kabul) but was rewarded by a great health plan and free tickets to/from home.
I also mentally bargained with myself to never divulge my present and future plans with my family- that I may work in a war zone again. You know now, that my parents had issues with departures.
The first time I went to Kabul my mother cried and told me I would come back in a coffin. My plan was to tell them – that is my parents at the last possible second but prior to catching my flight. However, I was usurped of that right as the hiring company called my parents house and in their introduction they fully disclosed who they where, the nature of their organization maybe all the way to the regularity of her bowel movements and, and, annnd that I was going to be deployed to Afghanistan. Baffled? I was too.
The second time I had been hired to work in Kandahar, which once I arrived I discovered was worst than Kabul who had been quiet and the epitome of all parties and hedonism; that the environment was different, this was war. When I arrived in Kandahar or KAF as we called it, everybody from civilians to military personnel had the same reaction. “You should have lied, we all told our families we are working in Dubai. Duh. Why bring excessive stress to your family? It’s not like you are going to go out of camp.” I recall this was said by a meddlesome captain. I told my father of my plans while we were in his car and he bluntly told me: “If you die I am not going to your funeral.” Sigh.
Yes. I was still going to Hong Hong and I would successfully learn Cantonese, to the great dismay of my parents.
But if I had to pack. What would I wear in the land of sad sand and woes this time…