The normal day? Things in Kabul revolve around work. Six day work-weeks from Saturday to Thursday with long hours each day. Lots to do but interesting and challenging work. Though a bit intimidating right now as I learn my new portfolio and quirks to how this Mission operates different than other Missions. Friday's are truly treasured here in Kabul.
But things here really aren't so bad, at least, better than I thought it would be. While we have regular drills or testing for various emergency scenarios, you have to take efforts to avoid becoming complacent to any security threats as you can easily forget the possibility of any danger. There are cafeterias, gyms, weekend bazaars to go shopping, and a variety of activities and events going on each day for one to participate it. And with a large embassy population, you're bound to find people you already know or whom you can become friends. The occasional "duck and cover" alarm though tends to bring back the reality of the environment pretty quickly.
Benefits of working here are pretty nice though. Cafeterias are free and the food is actually pretty decent. Financial compensation is at least a 70% bump due to danger and hardship differentials and we can take up to five trips out of country each year as R&Rs (rest and recuperation) or RRBs (regional rest breaks).
I think the hardest part is the separation from family as they are not allowed to come. However, there are a lot of job opportunities for spouses whom would be allowed to come with their significant others if they take one of the positions.
Over the past few weeks, I'm starting to settle into a routine of work, gym/exercise classes, hanging out with people I've met, and then video calling family in the evenings. Also have plenty of time to self-teach myself Thai, improve on playing the guitar, and read books. Activities I look forward to each week include spin classes (when I'm able to pull myself out of bed for the 6AM class), quiz night/trivia every other week, meeting up to play board/card games, and then the impromptu fun events people put together. Here's to home for the next two years.
|A winning medal from the compound olympics|