6:30am Get up, brush teeth, dress, check email

6:50 Have cereal, greet morning cook, and chat with housemates

7:00 Gym

8:00 Drink fresh squeezed OJ, and then return to room for forgotten scarf

8:15 Ride to work with co-worker, shooter, driver

8:25 Greet various people in office

8:35 Check email, send followed-ups to unresponded emails, look through notebook at current task list

9:00 Counterpart discusses potential training his team would like with me. I have consistently said analysis can be taught through practical examples. The team wants a tool or methodology for something that is simply using logical thinking skills. (Head-butting continues)

9:35 Meet with colleague, who was out sick yesterday, about the events of yesterday

9:45 Send text to another adviser to give him heads-up that his “working session” has become a “presentation” with multiple extraneous people invited to increase self-promotion (of middle management guy who heads team) and show busy-ness

10:00 Greet each member of team; sit with translator in a working session about something completely unrelated to my work

11:15 Slip out of meeting during tea break. Check email. Prep for afternoon meeting.

11:50 Greet driver. Take car home for Afghan meal of Qabli Palow with 2 co-workers. Much enjoyment of food. Chat about non-work topics.

12:55pm Greet driver. Return to office. Try not to get concerned that my translator is MIA. Speak with team member. Decline tea. Try to get my counterpart and team organized for afternoon meeting (“who will be attending?” “yes, we should leave now because traffic is unreliable.” “did you organize the car for the team?”)

1:30 Take armored vehicle to another part of town. Hope other car actually leaves the office.

1:55 Greet Administrative Assistant with my team. Learn that the Deputy Minister had an emergency (sudden meeting with the Minister). Try to reschedule (tomorrow is booked, Wednesday is likely holiday for Ramadam (assuming sighting of moon), Thursday will likely be another no work day, Friday is day off, set meeting for Saturday). Congratulate Assistant on his recent nuptials.

2:15 Find guards eating lunch while waiting (thankfully they didn’t leave) and head back to office

2:45 Check email. Draft responses. Arrange vehicle for Saturdays meeting. Think through current lack of progress on tasks.

3:30 Meet with colleague to strategize how to deal with training issue and how to influence counterpart to provide information to his boss weekly about team activities

3:45 Decline tea. Colleague and I begin lengthy discussion with counterpart. Circles, stories, repeated comments, lost in translation, review of schedule for tomorrow, jokes, repeat.

4:40 Agree on 2 action items.

4:45 Colleague and I discuss how to ensure counterpart makes good on his 2 action items while climbing stairwell. Call for car. Work while waiting anywhere from 5-60 minutes for car to go home.

Run through the Kabul dirt roads in shorts and tank top while helicopters fly overhead. Just kidding!

My evenings are as different as my days are typical. But shorts and tank tops are only for the gym. Walking or running outside any compound is strictly forbidden for security reasons. And helicopters never get old for boys irrespective of their age!

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