I have trouble sleeping. I used to have trouble because of some things I had seen but lately it is because is is too damn quiet. There are no IEDs in the middle of the night, no endless drone of a window unit A/C struggling to keep the room cool, no Black Hawks flitting overhead at 75 feet and 100 knots per hour. No radio chatter at night. No war.
I feel guilty. I am living in a luxury apartment (luxury to me) and commuting to work. I see people wandering around without weapons, vests, helmets, and wearing civies all the time. The PX and DFAC have fresh milk! I have been scarfing down milk ever since I got here. That and eating salads. Everyone thinks this is funny but they have been here instead of up North.
Milk up North is the irradiated type in a wax box. It tastes like rehydrated Elmer's Glue. It's awful and the only thing you can stomach it in is a sweet cereal. Salads are at the mercy of Haji and the FFV (Fresh Fruits Vegetables) truck. Sometimes it gets there and some times it does not. The most amazing thing is that we have olive oil and red wine vinegar for dressing. I can't get enough.
I have a window in my office. No sandbags, just a tree outside. I can walk around and not worry about where the closest bunker is in case of a mortar attack. I don't slightly cringe trying to make myself smaller in a vain attempt to avoid sniper fire when I am around the perimeter.
I will do the best I can here but I will always keep in mind why I am here in The Surreal Life. I am here to make a difference for those up North. I am here to remind the people living this cush life that there is a real war and people are dying every day. I know that there are soldiers who did not get a salad or a glass of milk after they left home. they didn't get to swim in a pool or see a movie. I will be able to.
I'm not a religious man and I hardly ever pray unless it is a social setting and/or church related but tonight I will say a prayer for the finest soldiers on the face of the earth and for all their supporting cast. God Bless them all.
It is surreal to me. I woke up yesterday and wondered if I were on R&R. I know I'll get used to it but I really don't want to. I am a veteran of OIF and when I finish this assignment I will go back with no hesitation. Not because I love war. Not because I love Iraq. I will go back because I love my brothers and sisters up there and I need to be with them.