Tent City
Roughing it?>>>
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December 12, 1996

Tent life was good. I enjoyed eliminating the distractions and living the simple life. On December 6, I was issued a cheap Huffy mountain bicycle which I rode the wheels off (I'll explain later) and my spirits were the highest they'd been in years. Everyone at Langley missed me and sent me emails to my work computer to tell me. It was the first time I'd ever used email too...neat.
One person was Amanda K., an Airman I'd known for two years. We spoke occasionally and two weeks before Turkey, she was moved to my office and I became her boss. She and her husband were divorcing and we began to email often. It made me uncomfortable, because I'd been suppressing affections for her (I was faithfully MARRIED) and now as part of my duties I had to be involved in her life.
Miimii and I were getting along okay but she didn't seem to miss me. Once I told her "I love you" on the phone and she didn't answer. It was rare that I said that anyway. I was nervous about what was awaiting me when I returned to civilization. She'd gone back to Japan to visit family after being away for six years. She and I had tried to visit twice, once in early 1993 when she cancelled literally
at the last minute, and in the summer of 1996, when her father decided he didn't want me to sleep in the same house, so Miimii told him forget it. My father had just died and I was really interested in having a relationship with Miimii's family, but her father was very stubborn. I guess I was the guy who stole his daughter from him. So, for the holidays, with my encouragement for her to make peace with her family, she went alone. It was very sad for me because I'd longed to meet them for six years. I felt abandoned.

And this is my 31st birthday photo for my mother in my tent on a windy, rainy, blustery Turkish afternoon. It was the best birthday I'd had since I'd been married. Every year, like clockwork, within a day of my birthday (Mimi's birthday was six days earlier) she'd start a major fight about something...or just keep me up until 3am on a workday complaining about something. Here I was at peace and thought, hoped I was, for once, missed. I made it a point to ride my bicycle that day although I couldn't even see the road from the torrential rain for much of the ride, and my tent mates told me I was nuts. It was a pleasant ride...

Thirty Wonderful!>>>