...is weird. My boss told me once that he liked 3-year tours because it gave you time to deal with culture shock. Those who have lived overseas know that Culture Shock is a very real thing. My boss said that with a three year tour, for the first year, you're stupid. The second year, they're stupid, and the third year, it all sort of sorts out.
I don't think it works that way here. I hit culture shock within two months after I got here. After my apartment was robbed, I hated them all. Since then, I have noticed a cyclical pattern of ups and downs regarding being here. One of our local guards asked me the other day, now that I have been here a year and a half, how do I like Israel? (we don't consider Jerusalem to be in Israel because that is a final status issue for negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis, and when you have lived here you can see why we have that policy. Parts of Jerusalem are definitely Israel, but parts are definitely not. And parts like the Old City, well, it depends on where you are in there and the direction of the wind. But I digress).
Anyway, the guard asked me that and I told her I was having a good Jerusalem week, so I was content to be here. And she said that even for people who are born here and live here their whole lives, they go through these cycles of thinking Jerusalem is incredible to Jerusalem is awful. So I guess my cycling is normal.
Just last night, I was content to be here. I pretty much have been for a couple of weeks, but last night, I was even content to be in my present job for the next 9 months (some visa days are worse than others). But today, I am feeling a bit homesick. I really miss the states. Living overseas teaches you how American you are, and how you probably like everything we do better than practically anything anyone else does. I really hope I get to come back to DC next tour. I miss my condo in Arlington and I miss the beaches in SC. So I am putting them both in this entry so I can look at them!
Folly Beach, SC in April
Arlington, VA in January