Flashback Friday: Love, the Kosovo & Poety Bits

When I was deployed to Kosovo, I got this poetry book. It’s got 366 poems and it’s meant to be read everyday. Poetry Daily. One poem a day for a whole year. Since I wasn’t keeping a journal at the time, I decided to use the poetry book as a way to organize my thoughts. Mostly, I just wrote in the margins my thoughts on the poem of the day. Sometimes I just underlined words or poem bits that I liked.

There was a lot going on then. My world was upside crazy. Batshit crazy. I spent a lot of time thinking about things. Life. Love. How nice it was to not have to do my own laundry. How much I missed cooking my own dinner. How weird it was to sleep in a twin sized bed and share a bathroom with 25 other women.

I flipped through the poetry book yesterday and found this, from January 24, 2007, on page 398 next to a poem called “Ballad” by Sonia Sanchez:

Is there a moment, some span of time that we are just right for love? Are we ever too young for love? Are first crushes at 12 and 13 nothing really because we are far too young for such an adult thing? Does sex cause this? Why is sex so wrapped up in love? But what about being too old? Too old to learn to love? I think love just is. Love exists when and how it wants to, regardless of age or situation – love just exists, purely for its self – no one else. It enters when it feels like it, regardless of how inappropriate or rude it may be, and then, when tired of its own self, it leaves. Quietly. So quietly you might not even have heard it close the door on its way out. Sometimes it stays, sometimes it doesn’t. Love just is. It is beyond definition, beyond limitations, expectations and qualifications. Love is Love.

It’s weird that I wrote this. I have no memory of writing it down. No recollection of what my current mood or state of mind was. Sure, there was some love shit going on in my life, but I didn’t expect to look back and seem so okay with everything. I guess peace comes when we least expect it.

Flashback Friday: Tasting Freedom


When: May 2, 2007
Where: Frankfurt Airport, Germany

The above photo is of a cup of chamomile tea I had with breakfast at the Frankfurt Airport while on my way home from Kosovo for two weeks of leave.  I hadn’t seen Virginia, or the United States, since the previous October.  A lot had happened. In the seven months since I’d been away, there were a lot of things I hadn’t gotten to do. Like drink beer. Or wear civilian clothes. Or shower in a private bathroom.  I was itching for some freedom and there, at the Frankfurt Airport, was were I got my first taste of it. 

First, there was breakfast. I wish I could remember more of it. I remember the tea. And the toast. And maybe some fruit. But that’s it.  I was too busy taking in everything to notice the food. 

I was with a group of about six other Soldiers all going home on leave.  We were talking about what we wanted to do when we got home. We all had checklists of things to do and see and eat and drink.  We wandered around the airport for a bit. Because we could. Because the Army believes in being there at least six hours before your flight. Just in case.  So we wandered. And found a place with beer.  And a deck of cards. And there we sat. Six of us, drinking beer, playing cards, talking about the things we wanted to do, the family members we would be seeing after just a few hours over the ocean. 

Every hour or so another person would leave the group.  We all had planes to catch, some sooner than others.  It was a beautiful thing, that first taste of freedom.

There’s something about lady bugs that makes my heart clench. In a good way. Seeing them that day, on that tea-cup, was perfect. They gave me back a bit of the femininity I’d missed so much in the time I’d been gone from home and curling irons and finger nail polish.

Camp Bondsteel on the Travel Channel

Yes, you read that right folks, Camp Bondsteel, what was my home away from home for almost a year, was indeed mentioned on the travel channel last night. More specifically, the Burger King on Camp Bondsteel was cited as being the “World’s Best War Zone Fast Food Stop.” See, the show it was on is called World’s Best and I guess it goes around and finds top ten lists of the world’s best whatever. Well, last night it was the world’s best fast food stops. Lucky for the Soldiers deployed to Kosovo right now (can you sense my sarcasm?) they have the privilege of dining at the #2 world’s best fast food stop.

I know the show was made long before they put in the Taco Bell on Camp Bondsteel which makes me wonder if they were to do the list over again, who would win out as the best?  Taco Bell or Burger King?

Jeopardy, I heart you right now

Sitting on the couch watching Jeopardy.  The category is languages.  The answer: The native language of Kosovo.  The question I got right even though some crazy lady on the show said was Bosnian: What is Albanian?

And that is how being deployed made me smarter.