sgtdub: September 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

28 September 08
This month and this weekend have gone by fast. We have class Saturday morning from 7 to 11. One of the instructors went to Tucson on Friday taking the car the instructors share so since I live close to them I said I could pick up the other one on Saturday morning at 6:40 am. I am awaken by my phone at 5:50 with the question, "Where are you, are you coming to get me?" I asked him what time he had, assuming it was possible my clock was wrong and I was sleeping so may not have read it right anyway. He comes back with, "Oh my goodness!, I could have slept another hour!" Yes, you could have. I went ahead and got dressed and picked him up as he was wanting to work with me for the upcoming test. Yes, I'm taking my first Oral Proficiency Interview on Tuesday and will have the results in a couple of weeks. The scale ranges from 0 to 5. From 3 to 5 you are able to converse on just about any topic with 4 and 5 speaking at almost near native dialect. The goal for the end of the school for me is a 3 across the board. So as I am half way through this now, I'm hoping for a solid 1.
Anyway, after class several of us decided to hang out together as we all go back to our individual apartments and sit by ourselves. We had a pretty good day just relaxing and talking about anything but Arabic.
I spent today mulling around the house getting housework done. Well, better go for now, be safe and have a great day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

23 September 08
Well, there just isn't much to report. I went to school, still can't listen but can talk, can write, can read, just can't listen. Don't 3 out of 4 count?
I'm attempting to work on my Arabic back at my apartment, but really, how much of this can you take in one day. I traveled up to Phoenix for the weekend and enjoyed a relaxing time. I wish I had more to report for today, but unfortunately, I don't. Be safe and have a great day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

17 September 08.

Arabic, Okie style. I'm working on my own rendition of what Arabic would sound like with a southern accent. Here's an example...

Kafa Halik? which translated is, "How are you?"

The same phrase down south would be, "Kafa Halik-yawl?" which is, "How are y'all?"

I finally put my finger on where I'm having my problem with syncing this language. Ask me a question in English and I can answer you in Arabic, ask me a question in Arabic and I have very little clue what you are talking about. Yeah, it's an issue. I'm getting better and trying to listen to various different media formats to develop my ear in order to understand what's being said, but it's all Greek to me....
Not really much else to say tonight, I'm hoping I sleep better than last night. I went to bed at 11, thought I would fall asleep to Jabra saying words in Arabic, an hour and a half later, I was still awake and Jabra was still talking on the Ipod. That didn't work. I tossed and turned for another half hour, figured I might as well get up. I did an hour of Rosetta Stone, again working on my Arabic, played some spider solitaire and finally by 3 a.m. I fell asleep. 630 comes awful early when that happens. I didn't have any problems staying awake during class, which was surprising, and now it's almost 11 tonight and I'm about to try and go to bed again. I think my problem was getting 9 hours of sleep the night before. I'm accustomed to getting an average of 6 hours a night, with a great day being when I can sleep in and get maybe 7-8, so 9 was probably too much. I liked it, but then again I like Mexican food too...
Well, be safe and have a great day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

14 Sept 08

It's Sunday afternoon, I finished my house work a little while ago and have been downloading Arabic news stories and shows. I'm watching and listening to them so I can work on my listening skills. Obviously, this is a skill Mrs. Dub might listening. We have started having 4 hours of class on Saturdays and will continue that process for the remainder of the school. I think they have worked one Saturday out of each month for us to just be off. I know, it's hard to say I have it hard at all. Certainly, this is better than any math class I have ever had to take, and it has less homework than my ethics class last spring. As one of my classmates said, I know we are learning stuff, but it's hard to consider it as work.

Mrs. Dub reported the weather in Oklahoma has finally turned nice and she's glad she's able to open the house up with the windows. At the rate that time is passing, I will be home before I know it and I'm ready. I just want to make sure I've gotten everything out of the school as I can.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 Sept 08,
Ah, Wednesday, the week is half way done. I saw this picture at The Pioneer Woman's site and had to add it here. Have you ever had one of those days. Today wasn't it for me, but I couldn't wait with this one. Pioneer Woman has an amazing ability to capture remarkable shots with her cameras, as well as a great ability to tell stories. If you haven't seen her site before, go check it out.
Mrs. Dub said she's ready to have me back home and I couldn't agree more. I'm enjoying the training but I do miss my family and home. (I also have way too many chores at home that need attention).
About 90% of the time, Arabic has been fun, in fact, as an extra assignment, two of us went to the movies last night and saw Traitor. A good portion of it is in Arabic and picking up on what was being said was fun and new. I stopped at the store today and heard a woman tell her son to come to her in Arabic and I had to smile. I'm trying to use several different tools at home to help with my learning while at my apartment.
Miss Dub is enjoying school and despite her agony during the first two days of French, now loves it. She into reading stories in French and is 'wanting' to learn at this point. Like I said, I hope to pick back up on my French when I get home.
I know all this sounds boring, but there's not much else going on for me here. Be safe and have a great day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

02 Sept 08
Here are some pictures from home.

Celebrating with a dinner out.

The In-laws, Mr. and Mrs. C with Miss Dub.

Miss Dub getting to go to the range on my trip back home in July.

This is her target, be careful.

I hope to make the rounds soon and see what everyone is up to. Be safe and have a great day.

Monday, September 01, 2008

01 September 08
Well, it's been a good weekend and it's a shame it's over. I started with Friday night up in Phoenix with my brother in law Billy Joe and his wife Christine. BJ took me out to eat and then we stopped by a friend's house.

I meet Mark for the first time that night, but it's not the first interaction between us. Back when I was in Afghanistan this last tour, Mark helped Christine and BJ get the Greg Biffle #16 flag, autographed by the entire team including Rousch, the owner. Mark's front room is dedicated to NASCAR with pictures, memorbilia, car hoods, door skins, et al.

Come to find out, I was on that wall as well. After we got the flag in Afghanistan, we took a group picture and sent it back home. It got back to Mark and his family. Well, Friday night, they took that picture down and had me sign it, and then hung it on a better wall.
I was honored that they felt that strong about me and the military. Mark served 6 years active Army and we had a strong bond.
I got home Saturday, 'on time' curosity of American Airlines and had a wonderful time with my wife and daughter. We enjoyed good food and converstation, as well as spending money. We were awoken this morning at 4:30 a.m. by a phone call. THe Oklahoma City Police Emergency Response Team had been activiated, and they called me as they normally would. The only problem was that I am on active duty orders with the military. Darn it! Not sure if you remember, but back in March - April of this last year I helped write the emergency response plan in the event OKC had to take in evacuees from coastal storms. Well, as of this morning, OKC took in just about 2,000 of the folks from New Orleans ahead of Hurrican Gustav, and that plan that I helped write, was being put to the test today. I would love to have been there. I spoke with one of my sector partners who was also called in this morning. He said things were going well, he also said he leaves for Iraq next week with the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He will actually be back to work in OKC before I will, those Air Guard guys.....
I'm sitting in Dallas/Ft. Worth airport waiting on the final leg of this flight, luckily Gustav is moving slow and hasn't affected us here yet. It's amazing that two months are already down and only 4 months to go. I'm ready, but I still have more to learn back in Arizona, so I must keep moving forward and looking forward.
Be safe and have a great day.