Sunday, September 24, 2006

Final Iraq Post

Adios Iraq.

This will probably be the last post I make from Iraq. I may come back on another contract but as it stands now, I am done.

I can honestly say that Iraq has had the most profound impact on my life that I can remember. Losing loved ones is profound, making major career changes is profound, many things are profound. Iraq is leaps and bounds more profound. I can honestly say that I am leaving this place a changed man.

The other day I wrote about my most surreal moment in Iraq. Today I had a new one. I was laying out at the pool around midday and the “Giant Voice” went off. It was a warning that I had never heard once in over 900 days. It was a warning that today, there was a threat of indirect fire attack on the embassy. So there I am laying at the pool, sun blazing on my face, and they decide to inform me that today, contrary to every other day since I got to Iraq, that a mortar or rocket might impact the embassy. I have heard many hundreds of explosions maybe nearer to 1000, and they choose the second to last day to broadcast this? What a joke. So I flipped and got some sun on my back. Not everybody flipped, some stayed sunny side up, and others went to get cold water. The hilarious thing is that the guys playing water-basketball didn’t even stop to listen to the announcement.

The reason I make mention of days is because I had wanted to stay long enough to throw a “1001 nights” in Baghdad party. Someone else threw a 1000 night party. As it is, I will have to settle for 992 nights and there will be no party. I will simply pack my bags and go. I will depart and someone will replace me and they will get to experience a little bit of what I have experienced for the last nearly 3 years.

I will miss the people I know, the excitement of the work and the general environment. I will miss the random things that happen. But I will not miss Iraq. I am happy to go. I have done my time and then some. It is now time to move on and see what else is out there.

I was hoping that I would have something more exciting to talk about when I left but I fear this is about all I can say at this point. Not being one for much drama I am just going to go. I have done as much as I can do here and I am looking forward to a much needed 5 week vacation and then a reunion with my family in SC. I am looking forward to my repatriation.

I can say that Iraq has given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world as well as travel it, it’s given me lessons in trust and comprehension, compassion and composure, and it has given me a new perspective on the Middle East (to say the least). I am changed, hopefully for the better, and I will look back fondly on the time I spent here. Am I sad to go? Yes. Am I eager to leave? Definitely.

Tomorrow, when I write my out of office auto-reply, I will not be sad, I will be happily looking forward to my vacation and to my future back in the States or wherever destiny pulls me.

So, goodbye to my friends, my hooch and a country I love. Goodbye Baghdad, and finally, goodbye Iraq. It has been an experience.



Anonymous kanrei said...

Congrats Walt!
Welcome home bound.

992 is more than enough nights.

Monday, September 25, 2006 at 7:06:00 PM GMT+4  
Blogger RexZeitgeist said...

Nah, Stick around for a few more days...I am sure there is a hotel you can stay at to get the extra few days in....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 8:03:00 AM GMT+4  

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