Sunday, August 06, 2006

Two Minor Disasters

Recently, I've suffered two minor disasters here.

First, for unexplicable reasons, the laptop I purchased from a friend in the Ft. Bragg barracks has crashed. This means I may have lost all the pictures from Kurdistan that I hadn't yet published (as well as pictures from a shalal [sandstorm] in April and the picture of me and Senator John McCain), my Arabic language course, and 2/3 of a season of Diamond Mind Baseball. (Scoff if you will, but through my managerial talents the Washington Nationals were only five games out of the National League wild card race. Let's see Frank Robinson do that while in a duck and cover from mortar fire!)

Second, I've been shut out of the new round of beginning Arabic classes starting up here at the Embassy. Although the notification email said registration would be open until a certain date, in fact, the class was filled on a first-come-first-serve basis, something that would have been nice to know beforehand! One of my goals for this year was to become, if not fluent, then at least conversational in Arabic. Unfortunately, with the poor quality of our Trailer Net connections, it is difficult to stay connected online long enough to complete an entire Rosetta Stone lesson in Arabic. So after four-and-a-half months, my Arabic is still very rudimentary. This is starting to look more and more like a quixotic goal.

I know, these are small complaints to have in a war zone. I'm healthy, I'm well-fed, and despite a recent uptick in incoming fire, I'm still relatively safe. But these setbacks are still annoying nonetheless.