Burgee goes to Afghanistan!

 

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy New Year from the Reno of the Orient! I bet I beat you all into the new year. My roommate was promoted on the first. I can claim to know the first Major to be promoted in 2009. As I am writing we are on our second day of snow since I arrived in Bagram. While most of us don’t necessarily appreciate the snow and slush, it has slowed construction on my project a little. The contractor was taking advantage of the sunny weather to go full speed ahead. He is pretty good so I don’t think it will slow him down for long.  I am still enjoying learning about construction. Last month I picked some more engineer lingo, “Purlins and Girts.” Purlins run across the rafters and hold up the roof. Girts are the horizontal members that go between the studs to attach the walls to. I have also learned more about placing concrete and preparing slabs. Not to mention plumbing, electrical and communications.  I might have an edge when it comes to HVAC.

I have been quoted as saying that everyday is Monday here except Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is pretty much true. Christmas was pretty low key here. I think most folks just missed their families. We have a little Christmas tree in the office that someone sent and we added some ornaments from the many packages we received. THANK YOU! The Christmas menu was the same as Thanksgiving with the addition of sparkling grape juice. The big decorations were toned down and replaced with Christmas banners and the mess hall walls were lined with banners and cards from school children. This was a nice touch. I attended the Christmas Eve communion service at the chapel. It was very uplifting. Did I mention that they had real wine for communion! Afterwards I was able to open presents with Beth and boys thanks to many folks and the magic of Yahoo Messenger. Christmas morning I did the same with my mom and dad and spoke to my sister Andrea on the phone.  Many thank yous for the many cards and packages.  There were so many cards it is taking me two Sabbaths to answer them all and so many packages we send some to my old battalion. They say there is something for everyone in those, and there really is.

RJ is on the mend and Beth and the boys have dug themselves out of the Christmas snow storm and have their shovels at the ready. We never did get a definite diagnosis, but the important thing is his recovery. They are hanging tough and we are all very excited to turn the calendar to the year we will be  reunited. My new year’s resolution is to come home.

There have been a couple of humbling times this season. There is a bombed out old Russian village outside our construction site. Some shepherds took up residence there with their flocks just before Christmas. I wondered then if the angels would come and sing them a chorus on the Eve. Also on the Eve we had another Fallen Comrade ceremony. We hadn’t had one in well over a month and it was a very sobering time.

Mind your Purlins and Girts,

Rich,