For months I’ve been staring up at the calendar in my office asking myself is it November yet? And now, while November hasn’t arrived yet, KFOR 9 has and that’s just as good in my opinion. Yes folks, at long last my counterpart, the person that will take over my job, has arrived in Kosovo. I can’t even tell you how happy this makes me.
Soon, so soon, I will be able to hand over all the responsibility I’ve shouldered for the past year, along with the keys to my office and leave him in charge, because, guess what? I almost don’t work here anymore!
Really though, watching KFOR 9 arrive on Camp Bondsteel, and watching them go through long (read: boring) briefings reminded me of when I first got here, all those many months ago. It was November 14th. It was nighttime and I remember, as we rode from the airport to Camp Bondsteel, that there weren’t any lights on anywhere because, as we’d been told, electricity is scarce in Kosovo. We went to the chow hall and I remember being impressed that they had vegetables and things to make salads with because we didn’t get those things in Germany (the food in Germany was actually really, really bad. I couldn’t identify most of it and what I did eat was gross. German food is not bad, but the food they served in those Army chow halls in Germany was really, really bad.) Having arrived at night, I had no idea that Kosovo is amazing and beautiful and so, upon waking up the next morning, stepping outside and seeing Big Duke in the distance, I was awestruck. I also remember getting lost A LOT, not because Camp Bondsteel is necessarily confusing, but because I lack a sense of direction and could, probably, get lost inside a cardboard box.
What’s weird now is seeing so many new faces. While KFOR 8 consists of approximately 1500 soldiers, and while you’d think I’d see new faces all the time since that’s a pretty big number, I’ve gotten used to the same faces and feel like I’ve seen everyone on Bondsteel at least once. Until now. Now, thankfully, there are new faces. KFOR 9 faces, which, well, just rocks.
The only downside I’ve found with the arrival of KFOR 9 is that they brought bad weather. Cold, wet, gloomy weather. But really, that’s a small price to pay when the end of this deployment is in sight.