Tag Archives: Iraq

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!

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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?


Thanksgiving

Well, I’ve been here over two months now, and soon I’ll be going on my first regional rest break.  What this means is that they will fly me to Amman – where I go from there is up to me.  So, I’m going to Turkey for Turkey Day!  A few thoughts and impressions on my first two months in Iraq – there is one experience that sticks out in my mind.  When I was in Kirkuk, there was a group of Iraqi women that came in to talk via video to American women in their same profession.  They were amazed at some of the things they learned.  One point that shocked me a bit was that they were surprised to learn that in America, it is illegal for husbands to beat their wives.  Can you imagine?  It was like a dagger to my chest, that people would think this is okay – it made me want to get involved, to spread the word that THIS IS NOT OKAY, not in Iraq, not anywhere.

As I was escorting some of the women to the exit point, they were asking me about myself.  They asked if I went to university, and asked me what I majored in.  I told them I majored in theater.  This again intrigued them, as they told me that all the arts programs at universities were shut down – Iraq’s Education Ministry has banned all theater and music classes.  This saddens me – how does a country expect to pull itself out of this battle when you stifle creativity?  Without creativity, you have no innovation, and no hope of moving forward into the present and the future.  It pains me and makes me want to do what I can do to change this. I want to let people know that they don’t have to stand for it, that they can effect change.  I want them to know they have options, that they can be who they want to be.

Through all of this, and because of all of this, it makes me grateful to be an American.  Being here in Iraq makes me treasure these freedoms we take for granted in the United States.  These rights we have fought for over the years – as women, as artists, as people – they are precious.  Recently I went to the Marine Ball here, where they played the national anthem.  One of my friends took a picture of me from across the room, all dressed up in my finest, solemnly with my hand over my heart, thankful that I’m an American.  It’s a reminder that patriotism isn’t just on the Fourth of July.  I’m proud to be an American.  On this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to be where I am, and to have the freedom to be who I am.


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