Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! This is the first July Fourth I’ve been in the USA in many years. It’s starting off as a beautiful day. I’ve gotten a little festive this year, with jello molds.

20130704-080200.jpg Because what else says America like jello in all its festiveness? Today we are having that American creation called the taco too. 🙂

I’ve been enjoying my home leave with family and seeing some old friends. We’ve gone out on the lake (it’s Minnesota, “the lake” means whichever one you’re closest to) a few times on the pontoon and I’ve had more than a couple Bloody Marys – because nobody makes them like Minnesota does, and it’s also the only place I’ve been where you get a beer chaser with it!


I got a message from WordPress yesterday telling me I’ve been writing this blog for two years now! Looking back on the adventures in Iraq, it was a truly unique experience and I think I learned a lot about myself in that time. Not only that, I also turned forty! I thank you, my dear readers, for all your support these last two years. It’s amazing for me to think that people all over the world are reading my blog, and it reminds me how big and small the world is in the very same moment.

America is an amazing mixture of people and I am proud to be home on this Fourth of July. I hope everyone has (and had) a wonderful day!

The Next Chapter

I am officially out of Baghdad! I’ve ended that chapter in my life and am ready to start the new adventure! It’s been a strange six weeks or so since I last wrote. I’ve let go of much of the anger I was holding on to from Mr. Wrong, and after a few weeks of moping decided I was ready to truly forgive and move on with my life.

There have been some very positive changes in my life in the last month! The sale of the house that I owned with my ex-husband was finalized, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. I found a place to live in Arlington that is only a mile from work as well! I had looked at apartments when I was back last time, but none of them really grabbed me and said THIS IS HOME. So, I decided to start looking on Craigslist and found a condo that was just perfect for me! The owner is very nice and helpful and I look forward to being her tenant. 🙂 Having the stress of where to live gone is a wonderful feeling. I’ve even set up my electric to be turned on for when I move in and have been researching Internet options for the place. I’m trying to decide whether or not I want cable as well – how much tv do I really watch?

Along with moving on, I decided since I’m moving somewhere I could actually have a normal dating life, I would check out the dating sites online. EHarmony was having a free communication weekend, so I tried it out. Their process I liked a little better than some of the other ones, which kept pairing me up with people that said they definitely want kids. So, I started chatting a little with some matches and there is one so far that has captured my attention. We’ve been emailing back and forth daily, and have had a couple Skype dates that went on for 2+ hours each, and are looking forward to finally meeting in person (for sushi and trivia!) when I get back to the area.

As I said, I made it out of Baghdad now and am currently relaxing on home leave. This last week I’ve mostly just been decompressing from Baghdad trying to figure out what I should do while I’m here. It feels a little weird, knowing I’m not going back there, but I’m looking forward to my new adventures in DC!

Love, Anger and Lies

The break up is official. Mr. Wright turned out to be Mr. Oh So Wrong. I’m not all that surprised to find out from him that “he hasn’t been completely honest” (his words) with me. In other words, he lied. In email, of course – as usual, he would rather hurt me in text, because it’s easier for him and gives me no chance to ask why. So the last post I wrote about the hope for the future, apparently, was him just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear. It makes me feel foolish for being so trusting. But I will not let this change my inner nature.

While I still can’t hate him – hate is foreign to me, because it’s a destructive emotion that only hurts me, so why would I bother giving that power to someone that has tried to hurt me so bad? – I am definitely still angry. All I ever asked, from the very beginning, was for honesty. And from the very beginning, it was lies…lies that made me fall in love. I relayed the details to my BFF and she knows I don’t hate, but she wished I could just for a day, because he deserves it.

He told me how sorry he was, and that he hopes I can forgive him one day, and hopes we can be friends. I forgave him, told him I hope he has a nice life and that love is in my heart, but that we can’t be friends, because of all the lies. He doesn’t deserve any more of my time or energy. But I will learn from this roller coaster of a relationship. I’ve learned about myself, I’ve learned to trust what my instincts are telling me. I’ve learned how strong I am, because getting through this will be tough, on top of all the changes that will be coming in the next two months – moving, living in a new city, a new job…I’m going to need a lot of support, which is hard for me to ask for most of the time. Here’s hoping for the best. I’m trying to stay positive!

Two months left

I have about two months left in my tour here.  I can’t believe I’ve been here this long!  The last two months have been a whirlwind of emotion.  Since I wrote last, I’ve taken a trip out of here and visited a friend in Naples.  It was a fun trip, and I got great news in the middle of the trip – the man I love (mentioned in my last post) was called back to Baghdad!  He was here when I returned, which made me very happy.  When we first saw each other again, we stood and hugged for about five minutes straight.  I think we both realized just how much we’d missed each other.  So, after a little talk, we got back together.  It was a great month.

He had applied to some jobs back home in the limbo time he was in, and had a couple of phone interviews once he got back here.  I told him he was awesome and that they’d love him, and they did!  They offered him the job (as I assured him they would) and wanted him to start in two weeks.  He found out Wednesday and told his company, and they decided to ship him out of Baghdad on Saturday.  A bit of a shock to both of us at the quickness of it all.  As we sat together Thursday night,  all he could say was that he didn’t want it to happen this fast, and that he doesn’t want to leave.  I had a few tears leak out, because those were the same thoughts I had.  (Did I mention dating in the Foreign Service sucks?)  But we pulled our happy faces on and had one last fun game night together with friends.

Friday we had a good talk about where we want this to go from here.  We agreed that we want to see each other, and when I told him I’ll miss talking to him every day, he assured me that he intends to talk to me on the phone almost every day.  I told him about options down the road, if we decide it’s too hard being apart, where I could take time off from my job and move to where he is for a year and we could see how it goes.  He left a couple of days ago, and I am already starting to miss him.  This is not going to be easy!  Some days I think it’d be easier if I just broke it off now and moved on with my life.  I can’t do that though – I believe in our love and can’t just throw it away because we aren’t in the same place.  The two months we had apart made me realize that.  Our talk made me hopeful for our future.  We’ll see where it takes us!

17 Months

I have been in Baghdad for 17 months as of today.  I have a (hopefully) short four months left.  This last month and a half has been hard, and the last two weeks really hard.  Two weeks ago I thought I’d see the man I love again in two days.  Twelve days ago I found out his position had been eliminated and he wasn’t coming back to Baghdad – he didn’t find out much before that.  While we were no longer ‘together’, I still love him and was really looking forward to seeing him again.  The thought that I might never see him again filled me with pain.  SO MUCH.  It left this dark spot in me.  However, we are still in contact and he assures me that we will see each other again – he will come visit me in Washington DC once I get settled.  That seems so far away.  I want nothing more than to be in his arms again.  I can’t imagine loving anyone as much as I love him.  However, I know I need to try to start to move on.  Que sera sera…  I’m slowly, SLOWLY, working this out in my head.  It’ll take time, and it won’t happen overnight, so I just have to be patient with myself and try to have fun in the meantime.  As I’ve said before, and many will say after me, dating in the Foreign Service is not for the faint of heart.  In a word, it sucks.

As well as him not coming back, I have a lot of friends here that are leaving due to the ‘right-sizing’ of the embassy and their own positions being eliminated.   Since I arrived before the military left Iraq, I’ve seen quite a few changes around here.  It’s a never-ending change – you go on vacation and so many things are different in the short span of a few weeks when you return.  But I think the changes going on right now are some of the most drastic that I’ve seen in my time here.  It almost makes me want to leave early too…but four months should go by fast, especially with two more trips out before I go.  It’ll be over before I know it.  Right?

Looking Back

Just taking a quick moment to look back at the year and remind myself how fortunate I am.  In the last year, I have fallen in love, traveled in and out of country, and received a handshake for a position that is perfect for me.  I have made great friends in Baghdad, strengthened friendships in other parts of the world, and am generally happy and content with life.  I got a bracelet for Christmas – it says “Life is a journey, not a destination…enjoy the moments.”  My New Year’s resolution is to live up the this saying, and enjoy the moments that come into my life, as they are what makes life worth living.  While there are some tough moments for sure, life is defined by how you react to what happens.  I plan to react with love in my heart and a song on my lips.

Wishing everyone a happy and loving new year!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Food...cooking...eating....tools - What works, and what doesn't!

Come believe with me.

I was once on an island and eight parakeets landed on me. I had positioned myself to welcome them. Hope has that effect. I want to see all of creation awaken with hope~ especially the Middle East. Anything is possible for those who believe. ☆☆☆☆ Come believe with me. ☆☆☆☆


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