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I love my country dearly and I care deeply for the friends that served with me in Desert Storm. I think about the soldiers that are in the Middle East now and wonder how they're doing. I hope they have everything they need to keep them safe and I wish they would come home soon. Almost every night when I lay my head down on my pillow and get snug under the covers, I think of all the soldiers who are over there on guard in the early morning hours while I am warm and restful in my bed. And then, I thank them!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When in Rome...

After the war, but before going back to Germany where I was stationed, a few soldiers from my company got the opportunity to go to a secluded destination, on a ship, for some much needed rest and recooperation. Myself and three of my girlfriends were three of the few who were chosen. During that time, we decided to spend a day exploring one of Saudi-Arabia's villages. I can still smell the mixture of inscense and dust, and feel the dry heat on my skin. We seemed to have been in a town market with lots of fruits and vegetables displayed in the store fronts. Women strolled the streets covered from head to toe in their Abayas while men seemed to be standing in the background guarding an invisible enemy. No one bothered us, yet looking back I can't say that we felt completely welcomed there even though we were in civilian cloths. Perhaps it was our clothing that bothered them. All three of us girls wore t-shirts and pants that we rolled up to our knees due to the heat. For footwear we had on flip-flops. Our guy friend had on shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. Now, had we known that women in Saudi-Arabia do not expose any part of their bodies in public, we most definitely wouldn't have dressed the way we did. But we didn't know. I feel a certain amount of rage toward our military for not sharing this information with us prior to even entering the country. To a large extent I feel that we misrepresented our country. Some may say that the phrase "When in Rome do as the Romans do" doesn't apply when you're at war, but I disagree. We should have known about the proper dress for women and perhaps a bit more about their culture. How can we expect to build positive relations with countries when we so blatantly disregard their customs?

2 comments:

  1. When in Rome WE did as the Romans!!! LOL! But the culture wasn't that different. Going in to a country so vastly different from what you are used to is hard! You're right, you should have been warned at least. The Government is always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to taking care of the troops! Don't get me started on the whole VA debacle! But as for the experiences you had during the Gulf War...best thing I think you can do now, even 20 years later is use what you learned to teach and help others! I hope this blog helps you sort through all the feelings and I can't wait for your book to get published! Did you read "Thre cups of Tea"? That book really gave me great insight into the people of Afghanistan and ways to meet on common ground!

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  2. Hey Anonymous--"Three Cups of Tea" is one of the few books on Afghanistan that I haven't read yet. Although it's on my list. I just received my latest shipment from Amazon and I'm so excited to start reading. It's "My War: Killing Time in Iraq" by Colby Buzzell. I came across his blog and loved his writing. Although his last entry was in 2005. Makes me wonder what happened to him.

    You're right, when in Rome We did as the Romans. If we didn't we probably would have landed in the Coliseum on our asses!

    Right again, always a day and a dollar short of taking care of its troops. I have to say though that after the war, they did take care of me and provided me with a nice monthly disability due to the intestinal problems caused from the water there. But I know there are many people out there who suffered/are suffering more than me and are Not being taken care of.

    Thanks for your comments and well wishes, they mean alot!

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