Saturday, March 6, 2010

Family reunion

It’s a small Air Force … that’s a pretty common phrase used in the Air Force to explain how you can run into the friends and previous co-workers when you least expect it. I guess the same can hold true for any branch of the military. I have several relatives serving in the Air Force and Army but the last place I expected to run into one of them was in Afghanistan, but yesterday my cousin Haley, whom I hadn’t seen since 2003 (when we both enlisted; her in the Army National Guard, me in the active-duty Air Force) met up at Camp Eggers, Kabul.

When I left for this deployment I had hoped I would have the opportunity to see her; her unit deployed in August so I knew we’d be in Afghanistan at the same time, but initially she was stationed at a Forward Operating Base in the south. When we found out she’d be moving up to Kabul and I got really excited. Then Thursday afternoon, I got a phone call at the office; my co-worker answered, and with a confused look on his face, he came in and said there was a girl on the phone and she was saying she was my cousin. We chatted and Haley told me she would be at Eggers the next day so I was super excited to see her.

The last time we met was the summer before I left for basic training; we were at my Aunt Lorraine’s house in New York and Haley was young, only 18. I wasn't sure what to expect six years later, but when she showed up at my office I was blown away. Now, she’s 24, all grown up, beautiful and totally in love. She possesses much more poise and confidence than I did at that age, and probably more than I do at almost 29. We had a great time laughing, catching up and sharing stories. Haley is a Brown, through and through.

She goes on leave soon, and I hope that her time in Europe is amazing and everything she hopes for. But most of all, I’m excited to have a cousin, whom I hardly get to see, here in Afghanistan so we can re-connect. I think she’s most excited about the fact that I promised to get her a mattress pad at the BX. That’s what big cousins are for!

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