Friday, July 25, 2008

We're Here!

Yes, we're in Kabul, Afghanistan.  There is so much "blog worthy" material in just the first two days...but right now I'm going to step back and tell you all about the journey here.  So, let's rewind to Sunday night, 8:55 PM Seatac Airport.  After some tearful goodbyes and mad last minute packing, Joey and I found ourselves sitting on a British Airways flight bound for London.  I can't not say enough good things about British Airways; they make nine hour flights much more enjoyable.  Our layover in London was about 6 hours long.  We like adventures and time crunches, so we hopped on a train to central London and did a quick loop to see some sites.  Joey had never been there and it was fun showing him some of the typical tourist places.  With overworked feet and exhausted eyelids, we rushed back to Heathrow to board our plane for Dubai.

What can I say about Dubai?  I think someone should invent a word to describe that place, because there is nothing else like it on earth.  It's such a mixture of cultures, consumerism, and extremes. . . veiled women shopping at Gucci in a shopping mall with an indoor ski hill next to the tallest building in the world; UK tourists perusing gold jewelry designed in India at one of the oldest gold markets in the world just south of an island shaped like a palm tree; Starbucks signs in English and Arabic.  I think you get the picture.  It was a great place to get a little rest after sleeping on a plane for two nights, and we took some time to pick up some last minute things and eat some meals without having to worry about what future effects they might have. 

And finally, Wednesday morning, we boarded our plane for Kabul.  2 1/2 hours later we landed and began the passport control/immigration process.  It went surprisingly quick.  We were able to go through the family/fast track line which is a lot faster as there are not many families entering the country.  Our base manager, Mike, was waiting for us on the other side of the queue with our foreigner registration form.  The only hiccup in our arrival was that the government official refused to accept my passport amendment with my name change.  According to my visa and registration card, I am known by my maiden name.  We don't foresee this being a problem, but I did have to fill out the form several times.  

And then we were off to our new home.  We live in a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with another couple (Steve and Sari).  It's a great place and we're all working together to make it feel more like home.  Our living arrangement was the one thing that I was nervous about, and it has turned out to be a wonderful situation. 

There is so much more to share, but I think this is enough for now.  I don't want overload everyone with too much information on my first post!  


anya* said...

I am so glad to see pictures of your new home! I loved all the slide shows Julie, nice work. You look beautiful in a head scarf.

Alicia said...

wow, Julie, I can't believe you are really there! So exciting. Your home looks lovely and you do look great in that scarf. Can't wait to see what your new wardrobe looks like.

Hope you are doing well and adjusting to all the new sights and sounds!

Ailsa said...

You're amazing, Julie. I still can't believe you're there. Be safe, and post lots of pictures and blogs when you can.

If you're too housebound, my aunt - who's worked for the UN forever - said she could try to direct you toward possible employment. She has friends in Kabul.

Dubai sounds insane - I sort of loathe it from afar based on all its human rights violations. Did you see any redeeming qualities in it?

The Gores said...

Oh Julie, I am so excited already from your first post, about your adventures there. You really should write a book when this is all said and done! I can't wait to hear more! Please blog often, you are in our prayers and thoughts often.

Can't wait to hear how your stomachs adjust to the food.