Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Email from Kerry!

I have a few moments (and 15 minutes of Internet use that I just bought!) to write. I am unable to navigate the international phones so I will try at our next stop. I knew it was going to be tough on Katie. I was good until she started crying. Then it hit me. Then we were all crying. However, I told the kids that it is fine to be sad and show emotion. Of course, Ben and Emily are stoic!

Bangor, Maine was really neat. We arrived at around midnight and I was surprised by the reception. There were about 30 people lined up to meet us once we entered the airport. This group was made up of retires, spouses of active duty military, and normal citizens of the area. They had set up a reception area with free food and drinks and free cell phone use for service members. It was really nice and refreshing. I spoke to an older gentleman named Gaynor who has been doing this since 2005. He informed me that over 800,000 service members heading to or returning from both Iraq and Afghanistan have cycled through that airport since 2003, and his group has been there from the beginning to thank them and make them feel welcome. It was a unique and reciprocal experience. These people, a cross section of our country, were there to thank us for our sacrifices and service. We in turn were reminded vividly of who we are defending and why we do what we do. I talked to Gaynor for almost an hour and we discussed the wildlife and beauty of Maine (he had spent his entire life except for three years in that area), as well as life in general. The conversation did not dwell on politics or ideologies, and was just a friendly and genuine conversation of two strangers brought together by a deployment. I hope to see him in a few months when I return for mid-tour and then upon my re-deployment.

Oops...I just got the warning that my time is expiring. I love you and will talk to you soon. You are my Goddess! Tell the kids I love them and will talk to all of you soon.

Love, Me
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The group he mentions is at http://mainetroopgreeters.com/Site/Home-1.html. They greet all soldiers who are passing through. This is a wonderful group of volunteers! It is awesome that people will spend their time doing something like this. It means so much to those of us who have soldiers stopping there!

Then amazingly, I got a second email! (Actually I got this one first and the Maine one second, although the Maine one was sent hours before the Germany one. All hail the inner workings of the Internet!)
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Hello Goddess!

I am in Germany and the local time is 1445 (0245) in the afternoon. Of course, it is 0345 in the morning for you. I am trying to navigate this German keyboard, but it is different. The Y is in the lower left hand corner and nothing is marked. The alt key is also different.

The flight has gone well so far. We arrived in Maine and stayed there for two hours (it was a nine hour flight) and then flew here to Germany (six hours). We have a two hour lay over and then a 6 hour flight to one of the "stans" near Afghanistan. I am not sure which country. We then will have another small layover and a 3 hour flight into Afghanistan. My bottom is sore from sitting so long, and we have hours to go. It was 5 degrees below zero in Maine and it is 30 degrees here in Germany.

I do not know how the internet or phone situation will be for the next two or three days. I miss all of you already. How are the kids? I hope the Teddy Bears (and Koala) helped. I Love all of you. I will talk to you soon. Please hug the kids for me and pet the dogs.

I hope you are doing OK. I know we have done this before...but it does not make it any easier. You are my soul mate and I hate being separated from you. Just remember I am thinking about all of you. I love you and cherish you. I will talk to you soon.

Kerry

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