or perhaps managing change or at least coming to grips with expections that don’t relate to the current situation. That was what I was thinking early this evening.
In some ways, working and dealing with Afghanistan is not all that hard for me. I know it is different from the other locations to which I have been deployed. It is certainly not the Balkans, Kuwait, Korea, Iraq. The weather is different, the bases are different. It almost is an island or time onto itself with its own peculiarities rules and expectations. I don’t make the assumption that I understand the place or know the rules without asking. Yes, I can get surprised by something, but I don’t walk in the door thinking that I have it all under control.
Dealing with Germany, whether it be one of the bases or the country itself is a different matter for me. We have made our home in Germany off and on since 1981 and I get caught in that challenging word – “assume.”
I assume that I know how to get around or get home (this one has bitten me more than once since construction patterns have forced me to backtrack or go around a different direction). I know what services are where, and what time things are open.
Wrong. The world is not stagnent. Opening times are not the same as they were 30 years ago. The stores lining the main street through downtown Landstuhl no longer has a yarn store (it closed sometime around 1993-95) and many of the family owned stores have given way to chains and franchises. The train station no longer has a lobby or ticket window meaning that you are going to have to operate an electronic ticket machine while freezing outside in the cold.
You can’t drive up to the front of the hospital complex from town. In fact, that gate has been closed by years but, again, there is construction with the appearance that eventually the wall which now has a set of gates that look like river locks just might open for the right kind of traveling vessel.
On the grounds – two of the old Ramstein Inn buildings have been converted to house those registered with the WTU and a new USO, open from 1130-2300 has opened between.
As I look around me most days and realize just how young the medics, docs and nurses are, it gives me a fright. Sometime when I was not looking, the world changed around me. Since looking out my eyes I really don’t think I am any older, something else must have changed. Not me.
But that really is the point, isn’t it?
We’re not getting older; we’re aging like fine wine. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The Greeks said a man could never cross a river twice, as next time both he and the river had changed.
I was a Transportation Corps Officer in 1973.
Now here I am at Ft Eustis, and there is no longer a Transportation Corps.
It has become part of Logistics Corps.
I look in the mirror and I don’t always recognize the 54 year old face with the drawn lines looking back at me. One of the joys of academia is being around people who are mostly younger than me – it helps me stay a happy resident of denial-land.
I had similar experiences every time I traveled through Ramstein coming back from Turkey and other bases in that part of the world. I have had both good and not so good experiences with the US Customs folks and have been billeted in various Qs. Having first started going to Germany in the 70s through my last visit in 2002 brought home the points you have made. I too wonder what has happened since I obviously have not aged as much as I am told I have. I did realize I was getting older when the sons and daughter of my peers began showing up either in my unit or in one of the services. When they came to visit, especially in uniform there was a change in them but a realization that since I had known them for years, some since their birth that something was up. One thing I do have to accept is my body has not aged as gracefully and I think I have…LOL
yes indeedy do , have we seen our best years?
are you one of the old foggies? i never think how i look.