For those who’ve followed my Baghdad saga, and understand the stress I was feeling after the bombings there, you know how much I needed a break.
So, after a week of RnR in Iceland, I headed for Istanbul and then back to Baghdad.
In Istanbul I had a long layover of 10 hours, so I had pre-arranged to meet up with some friends at the Marine Ball.
The Marine Ball is held the same weekend (around Nov 13) each year, everywhere, to celebrate the founding of the Corps. There was one in Baghdad that same night.
A lot of Embassy people, the six marines tasked to the Istanbul Embassy in dress blues, a color guard, speeches, dressed up finery (I had brought something for the opera we had booked in Iceland, and so was fine in the clothing department).
To my complete astonishment, when they played the national anthem, for the first time in my life I choked up.
Obama, Baghdad, working with military for the first time and really understanding a lot more what that life entails… it must all have factored in.
In any event, danced till midnight, then changed into travelling clothes and headed to the airport for 3:00am flight.
And now back in Baghdad, weather is not hot anymore thank god.
Had a few quiet days with the Eid al-Adha (sacrifice) holiday, giving me some time to catch up a bit… with you and my work.
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