I'm back in Bagram, unpacked and working. I hated leaving Maryland, but really once I'd gotten on the plane all I could think of was being back in Afghanistan; I hate being held up in Qatar. I nearly didn't make it on the plane out of BWI, to be honest- had a bad moment where I thought, Screw this, I just won't go back, and nearly turned around. It was definitely harder to leave this time, but at least now I'm past the halfway mark.
Ruth left us- she went home for health reasons, which was unfortunate. She's all right, but the doctors here couldn't help her the way she needed. It was odd to be met at the airport by the team and not have her there. Also, her absence means that I'm officially the only person on my team without a beard. Well, it did mean that. Behold:
A little bit of felt fixes that situation, damnit. Insert hours of thoughtful beard stroking in my future. (Beard courtesy of lupin!)