For a while there, I was having a short debate with myself about whether it was better in Afghanistan or in the US. I have confirmed it, the US is way better. I told you it was a short debate. As I began my journey from Afghanistan back to the US, way back on December 17th, it was such a hassle that it almost seemed like it would have been easier to stay in Afghanistan and just wait to come home for good. I ended up getting home on December 23rd after flying, waiting, more waiting, bus rides, more waiting, freezing, flying, did I mention waiting? As I went through the hassle, as everyone does, you really do debate whether it is worth it or not. Well it is very clearly worth it. I made it home for Christmas, Thomas' Birthday and New Year's. I had an awesome time with family and friends and I would definitely do it again. In fact in a few months I will get to do it again, as I am now less than 90 days from completing my one year in country. I will explain more about the redeployment process in future e-mails (this is the process to get back to the states, it will be longer than 90 days to get fully released from active duty).
My time home was really great, not only did I celebrate Christmas, New Year's and Thomas' birthday (played laser tag), but I did a few other great things. The family went to Disneyland and took a long walk on the beach. Our friends Gordy and Linda found a new Jazz club in San Diego called Anthology; we had a great meal and with great music.
I visited WD-40, did some shopping, and Rebecca and I were able to spend some time alone at a hotel (thanks Jeff and Heidi). And finally, I spent a good deal of time playing the Wii with the kids, it really is a fun video game. Editor's Note: Patrick also was treated to really fresh sushi a la Mark from one of his BloodyDecks friends.
We also went to see the San Diego Big Balloon parade.
We also went to brunch at Azul in La Jolla, which was wonderful.
Although my trip home and back to Afghanistan was grueling, I did get the opportunity to see my family in Dallas.
First visit with Austin Wade:
It really was a blessing to get to see them as I don't often get the opportunity to visit.
My trip back to Afghanistan took the mandatory five days. I say mandatory as it almost seems like that is the required time to travel, five days home, five days back. On the way out we had a stop in Leipzig, Germany and on the way back we had a stop in Shannon, Ireland. I ended up in Kuwait getting back and, of course, had to stay there and wait for a flight to Bagram which took a day and a half. I stayed the night in Bagram and then caught the convoy to Camp Eggers on Saturday, January 12th.
I am now back at work in the "Stan", digging out from the hundreds of e-mails and catching up with everything that is going on here. Fortunately, the team here covered for me well and the fight against terrorism continued without me. It is actually better being here than traveling, so at least I have that going for me. I am now known as a double digit midget as I am under 100 days to go until my tour is complete. I am sure time will go by quickly of course not quickly enough for Rebecca and the kids.
Happy New Year to you and all the best for 2008.
Peace to you all,