I know I have not updated this in the past few months, and I apologize. I have kept in touch with many of you, but I have wanted to continue this even though I have returned to to the U.S. It has also been a crazy few months and a little overwhelming. I figured that to make it all easier to read and be somewhat organized I’d split this up into a few posts. I’ll put them up over the next few days.
First, thanks for all the positive responses to the post about the experiences I shared going through cancer with my mom. It was difficult to write, but I am glad to know that so many people were able to read it. It was great to share what we all went through, and while many may see it as a negative experience, it really was a lot of positivity overall.
14 months in Bahrain
When I arrived in Bahrain in September 2013, I did not know what to expect. I figured it would be hot, strange, and different. I was unsure as to exactly how different, but I thought if I went in with no expectations then everything would surpass what I expected. And it did.
Honestly, the first few months sucked. Those I am closest to know this as they had to walk me back from the cliff quite a few times. Recently, I mentioned to a friend how great Bahrain was. She laughed and almost reached through the phone to kick my ass, reminding me how upset I was during the first few months in Bahrain. As I got settled in Bahrain, getting my housing situated, adjusting to new coworkers, I was sent to Djibouti, Africa. This was positive and negative. Positive in the fact that again I was going on a new adventure, but negative in the fact that I as just getting to know Bahrain.
Being able to meet people in Djibouti, supporting the military’s mission there, and experiencing what I could was another awesome trip. January 2014 and I was back in Bahrain to continue working and getting into the whole experience. It was not just about work, it was about meeting and knowing people who lived there, the civilians and military members as well as their families.
I was able to get into activities that took my mind off of the stressors that I had when I got to Bahrain, and all the adjustments. My photography was a lot of it, being able to set up a studio in my villa, meeting photographers both US and Bahraini. Hockey was a big part of it, of course. It was amazing that I was able to play hockey with people from all different countries. And then, I was able to play hockey in Qatar, and Dubai. When I started playing hockey 20 years ago, I never thought I would have done anything that crazy. Tournaments, helping start a league, and helping players to understand the game and sportsmanship were all great things that I will always remember.
Work continued, but had its own difficulties. Again, I was able to meet people from all over who I connected to. Something I realized was that all of us as civilians and those in the military were all there together. We were stuck, and while there was enough drama as there is in any type of situation like that, there was a closeness. We all looked out for one another and when we “hit the wall” everyone understood what you were going through. They had gone through the a similar situation. It was quite the experience. When I returned back to the U.S., to a location where most people have been here their whole life, I saw how special it was to be in a situation where we were all there temporarily.
I knew I was not going to be in Bahrain forever, but when the time came for me to leave, I was not ready to go. I wanted more time. I was supposed to be there through at least March 2015, and had finally looked forward to continuing past that time. Yes, I was promoted to a new position, but it wasn’t how I wanted it to be. Of course, I did not think I would even have been able to experience anything like Bahrain.
Over the past few months I was able to put together a video of all the photos and people I met. What an experience. I can’t wait to go back and am so appreciative of everyone.
Next post will be about my transition back to the U.S.
Thanks for reading!