Tick-Tock. The clock is continuing to tick down. The end of November is here - which means as of one hour from now I can say... "this month". Most people are starting to get very excited about leaving, a return to normality, the ability to wear jeans and whatever hat we want. Hopefully nobody opts to wear my Halloween outfit ever again. I say 'most people' because being here has a strange effect on some. It is like we live in a bubble where the real world (i.e., back home) doesn't really exist. People's problems and issues that are home are easily forgotten. We are in our own world here where we don't have the stresses of decision making in real life - what to wear, what to eat, who to be friends with. While I can't wait to get out of this 'bubble', there are people who are stressing over the return home more than they stressed about coming over here.
In addition to the views that we got, we also stopped for some food at a local restaurant. Surprisingly, we did not get the runs despite the swarms of flies that surrounded the place and dive-bombed our food and our faces.
Speaking of food - Thanksgiving was interesting again. The interpretation again by the caterers from Pakistan and Bangladesh was comical at best, disturbing at worst. It was our second Thanksgiving here, and it actually felt quite a bit different than the last one. For one thing, we knew what to expect both in the food and in the decorations. But at least it was like eating with family having spent the equivalent of a lifetime or two here in Iraq already. The people make it just about bearable. I have told them that while I feel pretty strongly about my friends here - I really don't want to see them again for a long time.
In the meantime, we will keep trying to stay sane for the time that we have left. Todd will keep trying out new patterns of Army camouflage. If you are interested in investing in some property in the Green Zone - there are some phone numbers that you can call. We hear there is quite a demand these days. And hopefully, the next time I send one of these out, it will be when we have started to pack our bags and are heading out the door.