Tonight I'm posting an email I received from Brooklyn Welch, one of our old Troubadours, who left our merry Space Center company to join the armed forces as a field medic. Brooklyn is stationed with the Army in Afghanistan. Many of us fondly remember Brooklyn for her optimistic attitude and great smile. She always gave 110% and never stopped trying, no matter what.
Whether or not you know Brooklyn, I'm sure you will find this email interesting because of its description of Afghan life and culture. By reading it, you'll get to see what life is like for our soldiers on the ground in a strange and far away country.
Friends and Family,
Things have really started to slow down here lately with the recent snowfall and cold weather....I know you're thinking "hey, she's in the middle east. That's supposed to be like 130 degrees." But, Afghanistan is actually quite a bit like Utah. It's about a couple feet higher in elevation than Utah, and has a lot of mountains everywhere. We've put a halt to any new construction, so we've instead been spend quality time together as a platoon family. This often leads to needing a medic, but it's a good thing I'm almost always involved.
I went to the local Bazaar ( outdoor shopping area) recently, and found my favorite shop owner, Achmed. He's always very generous when it comes to offering to have one of his wives, or his son make any clothing, so I asked him to make me a purse, or more specifically, to have his son finish the purse he was working on. Achmed asked me to come back next week, and when I did, his son had added a lot of intricate beading to the purse. It's pretty amazing that such a young kid ( about 8 yrs old) could already have such a great skill. I was just getting ready to leave the shop, when Achmed stopped me and starting asking me about my personal life. He asked if I had any kids, or a husband, and I told him no just to see where he was going with this. He then went on to tell me what a great husband he is, and all his does for his other two wives....at this point, I began to realize where he was going with this. He then just flat out asked if I would like to be a wife, topping off the deal by saying there are only two others. I was about to tell him that if he threw in a couple sheep in the deal, I would say yes, but I could tell he was being serious. I politely turned him down, but I'm still considering if I should say yes....I mean who wouldn't want to be one of 3 wives, and have to wear burkha's all day ;)
We began to realize just how accustomed we have become to life here in Afghanistan as we watched some new units move in a few days ago. ( Mom, don't read this part) The base I'm at had a mortar round fired at it, and rather than running for the bunkers, and screaming like the new guys, we just watched it go across the fob, (and miss the fob...how they can miss something this big is beyond me, but oh well) and then went about our regular lives....at least until we were told that, yes, we did still have to go to the bunkers just like every other time. It's interesting to see how in just 7 months, we can go from being the guys running to the bunkers, to where we are now. Kinda crazy how we learn to adapt to new situations.
Most of us have started the countdown to going home by now ( about 70 days), and it's going to be very nice getting back to all the nice things we have back home, like painted walls, or bathrooms in our houses. As we get to this point of the deployment, its about time I have to ask those of you that have shown so much support this whole time, to stop sending letters or packages. We have just enough time to let the mail already sent get to us, but thank you for all the treats and letters and emails throughout this.
Earth-like planets, and possibly alien life, may be right in our celestial backyard.
"Confirming what “Doctor Who” fans have long suspected, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA) have found that Earth-like planets, and possibly alien life, may be right in our celestial backyard.
The closest Earth-like planet could be as little as 13 light-years away, the scientists said in a report released Wednesday". Read On
ESA Moon Base Plan Could Use 3D Printing & Lunar Soil
"As if planning to build a moon base weren't enough, the European Space Agency may try to do it with 3D printing.
"Printing" a building out of layers of lunar soil could be much easier and cheaper than bringing the whole structure from earth. And there's even a printer that can do the job -- a device known as the D-Shape, produced by London-based company Monolite UK". Read On