Mindless musings on my thoughts, experiences, and hopes.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Took my speaking proficiency test on Thursday afternoon. I was horrible. I had one Iraqi woman and some guy who I couldn't understand at all, so I couldn't figure out where he was from. Most likely Syrian/Palestinian or North African, those are the accents that give me the most difficulty. The woman spoke extremely eloquently and I understood all of her questions. And she asked great questions. But the guy, he must of been new, because for my description part of the test, instead of describing the interior of a building or a person (the normal bit) he wanted me to describe the frigg'n Eiffel Tower. What the #%^&? Then the guy asks how I would go about building a city from scratch in such a way that would ensure a marvelous environment. Holy cannoli, I don't know how to explain that in English let alone in Arabic from a guy that garbles his Arabic. I even laughed a bit, probably not good to do for extra points. I just told the guy that his question was very difficult to answer since I had no idea where he was headed, like make green areas/parks or start with infrastructure like sewer lines, blah blah blah. Oh well. Reading test on Tuesday and listening on Wednesday. I can't wait to be done.

On another note, I'm bummed about not getting home for the holiday this weekend, just chilling here in Monterey.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I took our soldier common task training (CTT) yesterday, to make sure we're able to do basic soldier/survival skills like properly clean, check, and load and M16A rifle, employ a claymore mine, perform first aid, identify terrain features on a topo map, shoot an azimuth with a compass, and put on a gas mask properly. All good fun, except it took about 4 hours to do everything. Mainly just waiting in lines to go next. But it is important basic stuff to know.

Otherwise, it's about 80 degress out, blue skies, and a fresh ocean breeze. A great day to be at the beach.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I took my last FLOs test in arabic today, so only the DLPT tests are left. Today it was reading handwritten arabic texts, which doesn't sound so bad till you think of the worst writer you know and then let them write in squiggles with dots above and below them. It was pretty fun to do though and a lot easier than the hand-written texts we were practicing on. Off to a pub tonight to practice speaking in arabic. I take my DLPT in speaking a week from tomorrow followed by listening and reading on September 2nd and 3rd. I feel like I should be nervous, but I'm not. I'm sure that will change just as I step into a room with two people I have never met and must speak arabic well enough to score a level 2 in proficiency.

Friday, August 15, 2003

So my girlfriend's last day at work was today as she moves onward to begin grad school. I'm definitely excited for her, she's a smarty, but there is some bitter-sweetness to it as there is when any good thing ends and another good thing begins. Here's to a great, successful, and fulfilling future and I can't wait to get out of here and back to her, my family, and the east coast.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Flew from CA to DC on Friday to visit my girlfriend for her birthday and to just spend some time together. We had a great time and I took her to a nice little Italian restaurant in Old Town Alexandria on Sat. evening. I'll be glad to get back home permanently, which should be in a couple of months hopefully, to be with her and closer to family.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

All done with the course of Arabic, sweet!!! Graduation is on the horizon. My class went to a restaurant owned by a Jordanian family and had some good greek/arabic food yesterday and it was pretty good. And while Arabic food is okay, I'd rather have Italian or Thai over it anyday. Last night, I played nickel poker till 3am with some buds and was losing pretty bad till near the end where I wound up winning $6 off of my initial $5. Now only if I could get that kind of return on my 401k!

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