Scouting in Iraq and a VTC

Today was a really good day.  After formation in the morning, I took care of my 15+ e-mails that arrived in my inbox since yesterday, briefed a few people on stuff, and cleaned my weapon.  No, not all at once.  That took until lunch.  I stitched during lunch and then we had salsa rehearsal.  I left rehearsal a tiny bit early (had prior permission to) so I could get to the palace parking lot on time.  As mission permits, I will be volunteering with the Boy and Girl Scouts over here.  They have started up a troop for local boys and girls.  We had a cookout/campfire tonight and it was lots of fun.  The kids have TONS of energy, but they are just like any other kids.  The language barrier is a bit of a problem, but they sure understand laughing and giggling and chasing each other around and swinging on swings and sliding down the slides and playing soccer.  They started the "official" portion with all the kids singing the Iraqi National Anthem – very cool!  I wish they would teach American kids the U.S. Anthem in school.  Some of the older boys were put in charge of the food preparation (under adult supervision of course) and helped all the kids put together their own foil dinners, which consisted of a hamburger patty, potatoes, and some other veggies.  They had a lot of fun doing that and then watching their food cook at the campfire.  I ended up not getting any, but that’s ok.  All the kids had plenty to eat and that’s the important thing.  Then the "fire adults" built the fire back up and we had a campfire with a skit (the invisible bench) – I took part in that.  We had a translator to translate the skit and the kids loved it.  Then some of the kids sang some songs they sing in school and the translator talked about what they were singing about when they were done.  And we sang some American camp songs.  And we ended the night with s’mores!!  I decided that I haven’t had a s’more since I’ve been in the Army.  9 years is a long time to go without s’mores.  I think Ryan and I are going to have to take Robbie camping next summer if I’m home.  I hadn’t planned on having any, but I soon found myself with a small hand slipped in my hand and a stick with a marshmallow on it in my other hand.  The little girl led me to the fire and "helped" me toast my marshmallow.  I thought that was really sweet.  Then we got everything cleaned up and started saying our goodbyes to the kids.  I got tons of kisses from the little girls and even a few from some of the little boys.  And one little guy (well, maybe about 8 or 9??) opened the truck door for me.  What a little gentleman!  I really enjoyed my time with them, and I hope I can go often.  But boy was I tired from all the running around and playing with them.  And I was hungry, too.

My friend DG is the one that got me into this, and she was one of the drivers tonight so I rode with her.  There was one other Soldier and a translator as well.  She dropped the translator off at where he lives on camp and then the 3 of us went to Subway for food.  I got my food and then then she brought us to where we live (the other Soldier happened to live in the same living area as I do, so it was a one stop trip for D).  Once in my room, I unwrapped my sandwich and managed to eat about half of it.  UGH!!  Subway here sure isn’t the same as Subway back at home.  Bleh.  LOL  But at least it was a little food.  I chatted with Ryan for a little while and did e-mail and message boards and stuff, and then about 2200 I headed back out.  I was meeting one of our new Soldiers to walk with him up to Battalion for his VTC (video teleconference) to make sure he knew where he was going.  He had the slot right before mine.  So I sat and read my book while he was in his VTC and then soon it was time for me to go in and see Ryan and Robbie!!!  It’s always awesome getting to see them and talk to them.  And we had fun tonight.  I had gotten Robbie a little stuffed horse for his birthday and I made sure he brought it tonight.  So we get in the rooms and I asked Robbie about his horsey and he showed the horse to me and stuff.  Then I asked him if he wanted to see what was in my pocket and of course he said yes.  So I pulled a matching horse out of my pocket and you should have seen the look on Robbie’s face!!  It was priceless – when he realized that Mommy had a horsey just like his.  So we spent the half hour doing silly things with our horses like putting them on our heads and other stuff.  Of course, Ryan and I talked about big people stuff as well.  And then Robbie would go hide behind the couch in the room they were in and while he was hiding, I’d get really close to the camera and when he popped his head up he’d jump a little.  All too soon our half hour was up and we blew each other lots of kisses and gave each other air hugs and had to say our I LOVE YOUs and goodbyes.

And now I need to get to bed as I’ll be getting up in 4 hours to run the Army Ten Miler that starts in 5 hours.

Today’s High:  89
Current:  74 (12:25 a.m.)

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