During September and October of this year, I spent some time at home while on leave in between duty stations. Although I spent a good bit of this time completing a couple of major projects around the house, I was still able to spend some much-needed time with Debbie and the dogs — and it was fantastic.
It had been one year since I’d last been home, so it was long overdue. We spent time hiking and playing with the dogs, as well as some good old down time, just lying around the house. I was also able to grow out my beard while home, something I enjoy, but normally don’t have the opportunity to do while working. While I enjoyed it thoroughly, like all time at home, it seemed to go all too fast.
While there, I was also able to spend some time with my good friend, Arno, who came to visit for a short period. Arno worked for me for three years as a driver for the U.S. Defense Attaché Office, while I was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands.
During his visit, we took a camping trip and spent time in the Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon National Park, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and the Death Valley National Park.
Joshua Tree was wild…like being on another planet. The Grand Canyon and Death Valley were also amazing, but although beautiful, some of the ledges at the Grand Canyon were super sketchy. There are people who die each year from falling over the edge, or from ledges giving way. There was definitely a pucker-factor involved with standing near the edge. Arno and I enjoyed some good laughs together over some of those moments.
I long for the day when I can retire and finally be at home for good; it will be nice to be able to finally keep my beard, too.
Although that day still remains some eight years in the future, it is one that I will look forward to each day until it finally arrives.