January 11, 2011

AfghaniDan, Part II: Departure

AfghaniDan, Part II: Departure -
My time at NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan, and specifically at the Government of Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense, came to an end this past week as I began my trip homeward. The end of it all seemed abrupt -- although that's mainly due to my tendency to continue working until the very last minute, and thus refuse to pack or prepare for departure in a timely manner. Still, I found it exceedingly difficult to wash my hands of something that became my full-time work, and life, for the better part of a year. The nagging feeling (Irish guilt?) that I just could have done MORE, or better, persists...no matter how counterproductive it may be.

As I've noted already, it's a bittersweet feeling to leave...and it honestly got harder with each passing day. I almost lunged for yet another extension when it appeared that it would be in the best interest of my ministerial development team's mission, before deciding to press on with the (oddly, more difficult) course of calling it a day. I can't easily describe this to those who haven't deployed, or put in a similar stretch of time and effort in a challenging situation in a distant land. My brother phrased it as a form of Stockholm Syndrome, and he may be on to something with that. I'll go with an extreme case of attachment.

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