Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Closing the Chapter that is Iraq

Iraqower.  Or, "How Pablo got his groove back."

I returned last year to America brimming with optimism and momentum, only to watch it crash onto the shoals of a depressed bout of American anxiety.  I found myself suddenly worrying about things that never troubled me before- things deemed important in America, but were never things I had cared about before.  Amid the unsaid peer pressure of friends starting families, buying houses and the like, I felt like somehow I had chosen the wrong path.  As if it had all been a Quixotic flight of fancy as I had been busy chasing down windmills.

For some reason, nothing suits me so well in America as leaving it, and when I departed I was able to shake off all the woes that weighed on my weary shoulders.  Funny that I can find more peace in a country that is thrown around as writ shorthand as a war-torn conflict zone than I ever did in the year-and-a-half I was back in America.  You can't change who you are, and I was not meant to stay put.

As always, I leave Iraq with more questions than answers.

I think the singular moment from my trip that best symbolizes the very essence of life was my desert ride from Kirkuk to Erbil in the back of the truck.  Life is like that very ride, with the sun beating down on you and the winds whipping so fast that you can't see what lies on the road in front of you; only looking peripherally into the distance and backwards down the road you came can you gain some respite from tempest and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, and that has passed you by.

To all my new friends in Iraq, may God bless you with safety, and, inshallah, peace.  God-willing, I will return soon.  

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