- Name: Chris Chesak
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Here is a picture of the first load of machines, just unloaded and ready to move into the gym building, which is the gray one to the right. (By the way, 3rd Platoon's building, where I live, is just through the distant doorway in between the gym and the building on the left, which is 1st Platoon's home.) We got so much stuff (from another base somewhere that closed down) that we had to put all the actual machines outside as the little gym is now full of benches and freeweights.
Recently I was watching the movie The Mummy and I was surprised to be able to tell what some of the Arabic guys in the movie were saying. Our own early attempts at learning the language quickly petered out as people in the region speak both Kurdish and Arabic and often at least a little English. Call us lazy. I really thought that I only knew how to say "I'm an American" (like the body armor, uniform, Kevlar helment, etc. wouldn't have said that already) and "do you speak English" but apparently I learned a few more words that I'd thought, albeit just a few.
The other day I was sitting up in the gunner's hatch of a Humvee while we were parked at a police station. An old woman walked by, possibly a Kurd, and she 'blessed' me, pointing at me, up into the sky, repeated it twice more and then put her hand over her heart. It was a very sweet moment and I wish I could have told her that before she scooted away.
After a raid, one of our 'terps was telling us how he learned his English (mostly from tv and a book or two). We started to talk about what a difficult language English can be, when 'Mark' (the 'terp) started to talk about how there are words they use in England that we don't use in the United States. He said that he has a British Internet pal and when he showed one of the soldiers here two words that she'd used, the soldier excitedly and defiantly exclaimed that no such word existed in American English. The words were 'adamant' and 'antagonism'. It was a sad day for the American educational system...