I began this journey over a year ago and very soon it will be coming to a close. It won’t be too long before I’m back in the states living a very different life, one with more freedoms and more responsibilities. I find that changes of this kind deserve a moment of reflection.
So how did I come to this point? Well it has never been my intention to make this forum an outlet about my military service, but this particular entry may require a smidgen of that detail. I had a moment in my life when I wanted to push myself and I decided that service in the army National Guard was the way to do it. In my contract there is a clause that if I am in college I won’t be deployed overseas but when this deployment to Iraq came along I waived my right to stay behind and volunteered to go. There were a few reasons I made that decision: I didn’t join to watch others go in my place, I have had experiences in life that I hoped by going others might avoid, and I wanted some adventure.
The original mission that I volunteered for was being a gunner on a convoy security operation. I would be out there every day on the dangerous roads having great adventures that would give me so much to write about later in life. Well as so many things change in the army my mission was changed as well and I was stationed as security at one of the entrances to the United Nations in the international zone (the green zone).
As you might have guessed my adventure level dropped considerably, certainly there were a few times my heart raced but it lasted for only a moment, like if lightning was striking close by.
I was a little disheartened over the switch, but if you don’t know by now I make my own life so it didn’t bother me long and as in the immortal words of Jagger and Richards “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need.”
Working the gate for the United Nations opened up an entire new world for me; allowing me to meet great new friends and share in their stories of life. It also meant that when my shift was over I had enough time to create this website and write my first novel.
So I have to be honest with you and I can’t speak for the rest of Iraq, but Baghdad is a city that I would enjoy returning to one day (when it is more peaceful). There is so much history in this city and a lot of wonderful places to see and it’s exotic in a way that I have not experienced before in my American travels. I know that I have not fully explored here and leaving now seems premature.
So it is with a heavy heart that I say farewell to the good friends I have made at the IOM and the UN and also to the city that has given me shelter for this past year. I sincerely hope that our paths will cross again.