Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape neurotic Iraqi wife: August 2007

neurotic Iraqi wife

August 28, 2007

A Really Heavy Dose of TLC...

Im in my unphased mood, so no politics for today. There are a few things that can give me a real fright. And when I say a real fright I mean a real fright. Id lose all rationale, freak out, scream, and sometimes I can lose consciousness. Yup, that bad. And no, mortars, rockets, and bullets dont have that effect on me. Its thunderstorms and lightening, injections/needles and blood. Infact, when its winter time here, and it starts to rain and get really stormy, my coworkers would calm me down by telling me "Dont worry Neurotica, its only mortars" And that really relaxes me. I know, its lame, but thats the way it is with me.

So for me to get an email saying that Anthrax shots are mandatory, I freaked out. I didnt really know what to do. I sat at my desk, with one hand on my cheek and the other, fingers tapping the table trying to come up with a feasible excuse. Then a light bulb started flashing in my head. Eureka! I know exactly what Im gonna say to the major giving me the shot. So I made my way to the CSH. And believe me I dont exactly like going there, because its like a self inflicting humiliation. Kinda reminds me of the Jordanian officials at ALi airport treating the Iraqis, where they ask you a million questions before entering simply because Im not an American citizen. And the Iraq Wide MNF-I (Multi National Forces-Iraq) badge does not have the same privelages as the DOD card (for US citizens only). Besides Im a TCN in their eyes afterall. UGHHHHH. A Brit, is regarded as a third country national here..And we are supposed to be coalition. Such snobs!!!

So I get there, the first guard asks "why do you wanna go in". Umm I need to take my anthrax shot. He says "I need another badge". I looked at him with my disgruntled look and said "what other badge? These are the only badges I have.". I need another badge, he repeats. I angrily took my passport out from my ID pouch and placed it infront of his face. "I have no other badge, will my british passport work???" I almost spat out. I mean I dont even wanna be there in the first place. God. So he finally smiles and says ok, go in. Phew. I go in, then theres another security that stops me. She looked at me and said, so why do you wanna go in? I rolled my eyes, its like deja vu all over. I said, MANDATORY ANTHRAX SHOTS. Then I said, believe me, if it wasnt mandatory, I wouldnt even come here. Show me your ID, she said. I showed her what I had, then before she asks for "another" ID, I just gave her my passport. She took it, gave me a visitor's ID, smiled and said "have fun with the anthrax". I gave her a fake smile and walked off, cause I knew she was being sarcastic.

I finally arrive to room 112. I wait and wait and wait. The Major isnt in. I waited about 20 mins until she came in. She was very nice, extremely gentle contrary to the security woman. She asks me a few questions, gives me a leaflet and I warned her that I have a phobia from injections. my light bulb flashed again. I almost forgot. "Umm, Im trying for children at the moment, do you think its a good idea to have anthrax shots?" She smiled and said no, no problems at all. Darn I thought to myself. Then the bulb flashed yet again. Umm, you know, my last period, was pretty bad, and was extremely late. I mean, I think theres something wrong with my system. Do you think I should wait incase the shots will make things worse???. She smiled YET again and shook her head, no sweetie, you will be fine, just sit here, and you wont even feel a thing. DARN....Nothing is working, she must know all the excuses in the book...So I succumbed to my fate and sat down. I held my left arm out and shut my eyes real hard. Relax she kept saying. Relax. I tried to. There, Im done, she said. Wowwww. I almost didnt feel a thing when WOWWWWWWWWWWWW, this burning sensation just seeped deep in my body. I almost cried. I felt my eyes well with tears. Its ok, Its ok, she kept telling me. I wanted to shout "Nooooooooo it aint ok, Im in pain and I dont need this darn shot in the first place: Ughhhhh

Come yesterday, and we receive an email from the Big boss, asking us to get current with our shots. Oh damn it. I tried as best I can to dodge having my second shot which was due two weeks ago. My coworker has access to employee records, I asked her to change my data, but unfortuantely I wasnt on the system, because Ive already started with PP. So I go to my big boss and asked, Umm what happens if we dont get our shots? "You go home", he said. I had the slyest smile on my face. I said "Cool, what if my home is infact here?". He raised his eyebrows and had a grin on his face, "We will have to see about that". Hmm, I walk away, shaking my head. There is no way out is there. So yet AGAIN, I make my way to the CSH, stopped twice, AGAIN for "another ID". Cutting a long story short, I got my second shot, and it didnt hurt AT ALL this time. I took Ipbrufen 600mg before I went there, so maybe thats the trick...I should remember that for my third shot, yuck...

I keep wandering, who the hell makes these rules anyways??? I mean, its not like we will have an anthrax attack, pulleeeaze...I remember before coming here back in 05, how I had a check list of all the shots and medical examinations I needed to do. IT was an endless list. When I went to my GP, he took one look at it and said "where the hell are you going anyway? to an isolated desert??" I laughed and said, no, to Baghdad. It really is ridiculus. I dont think any of these shots should be mandatory, I think it should be left to one's self to judge whether he should take it or not...ITS MY BODY, AND I DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT, right????

We did though have a few, actually only two, cases of staph infection. One was pretty bad, close to fatal. Both people had to be medivaced (sp) to the States. As far as I know, theyre doing much better and are recovering. As for me, Im just aging. Literally aging. Is it the brown muggy water???Is it the dusty hot air??? Is it the weird skin biting relentless Iraqi mosquitoes??? I dunno, but all I know, is half my face is turning into a replica of the Iraqi map chain I wear with all the zits having a great party. In all my years, I never suffered from acne, NEVER. Not even in those senstive transformation years of puberty. I thought I was the luckiest person on earth...YEAH RIGHT!!! After 30, I guess everything just decides to go haywire. And being 32 aint fun at all...I wander what 33 holds for me. Hmmm, actually I dont even wanna go there YET. Its probably the lack of some certain "activities" thats making me look like S***. Cmon HUBBYYYYYYYYY, ITS TIME FOR YOU TO COME AND TAKE CARE OF ME...Think I need some TLC. A Really Heavy Dose of TLC...
posted by neurotic_wife at 5:32 PM 28 comments

August 26, 2007

This Neurotic Blog...

Yesterday was three years to the day that I started this blog. I still remember that hot muggy day back in Aug 04 when I was pacing the flat in London, stressed out wandering if HUBBY arrived to Baghdad or not. I really WAS going neurotic. I remember the nights Id spend crying and the days Id spend locked up in my bedroom. It sure was a total nightmare. My only venting place was this blog, and you know something, it actually did help me in many ways. Three years on and Ive become older, but definitely not wiser. Three years on and my wrinkles are having a ball of a marathon. I would also like to think that Ive become smarter, but then again, thats not for me to say. I still think Im neurotic though in my own little way, but not to the extent I was then. No definitely not.

The nagging and whining may have declined, but it definitely didnt stop. The "when will I see you", "When are we gonna leave?", "When are we gonna have kids?", "When will I have a normal life?" questions I ask HUBBY time and time again. Infact, it became the opening statements of every single conversation I have with him. I wander when will the time come when Id hear the "click" of the phone, and id be left talking to myself without even knowing.

Three years on, the one thing that definitely changed are my political views. United was the key. Divided is the solution. Yes divided thats exactly what I said. At first any talk of federalism or division boiled my blood. But today, I believe that thats the only solution apart from ofcourse the ousting of Al Maliki's govt. The problem is, even if Al Maliki gets ousted, a voting process will have take place, because of the law under the new constitution. And guess what, the same factions will win YET AGAIN. So, we will end up with a different face but the exact same ideology. An ideology that is governed by the invisible masks of the Mullas. Hmmm.... But dividing this place is the only solution that I and many others have come to conclude. Let the militias in the south fight each other and have their fun, let the guys in the north flourish more and have their fun, let the guys in the west and center have their fun. Easier said than done right?

No matter what Petraeus's report will unfold in a few weeks, it wont really say anything new. I have learnt from experience, that all reports are the same. Only difference, the person's name signed below the line. The report will say, troop surge was successful, resulting in less violence (Yeah right). US forces will leave when the Iraqi security forces can fully protect their own country(as long as their loyalty lies with the militias, that will never happen), bla bla bla. Words, that mean jack to me and to the people who know exactly whats going on here. We dont need any general to lie to us anymore. Or any president for that matter. Im sick and tired of the deception and lies that all those top notch people try to brainwash the American people and the world.

The other day, I was sitting on in a brief, one of the generals was so happy because the report infront of him said, Baghdad had 9 hours of electricity. Everyone cheered and smiled. I was the only Iraqi there, staring in disbelief. WHERE THE HELL did this report come from??? I swear I had the urge of going out of the room, grabbing one of my Iraqi coworkers and tell him "Cmon, tell them, tell them that you have been without electricity for the past 2 weeks. Tell them that you spend your nights on the roof in hope of catching some lost breeze" “Cmon, tell them the truth. Tell them people are fleeing this country because they can no longer live in it. Tell them that your kids have become prisoners in their own homes” Cmon tell them!!!

My outlook on life changed. As stubborn and adamant as Im known to be, my views and perceptions changed in a surprising way. I guess alot of it has to do with just being here. Being here and interacting with the real Iraqis. Although I get slammed by many commentators on this blog for working with the USG, Im glad that I do. I dont regret anything. I think it was a wise decision for me to come here, simply because I see and hear what goes on around here. I know exactly how the reconstruction projects are being managed, I know how the money got spent and where. I witness everyday, the mistakes that the US and Iraqi governments committ. Maybe mistakes is a harsh word, because everything is relative really. You ask the Expat Program managers, they will tell you its the Iraqi ministry thats not keeping their end of the bargain. You ask the Iraqi Ministry, and they will say its the US government's fault.

Im here to say the truth, the truth and what I think, and believe is taking place. Beating the Iraqi Minsitries, is like beating a dead horse, especially with all the corruption thats taking place. I will give you a simple example without having to go into great details. Medical equipment. Yes Medical equipment. The US government spent millions of dollars (millions that were overpriced by the huge money grabbing US Corporations) to purchase medical equipment for the rundown hospitals and clinics here. Its the Ministry of Health's responsibility to distribute these. Instead, and because the Ministry is affiliated with Al Sadr, these million dollar equipment is being distributed to the hospitals in the Shia areas only or sold to some other party with outrageous prices. So, lets say Im an average Iraqi, and I got injured, I know I can get a better treatment in the Shia Hospitals because of their upto date equipment, whereas HUBBY, a sunni, has no chance (Although we dont really make these differences in our private lives, thats how Iraq has become). To go even deeper into the problem, even with these sophisticated equipment, there isnt the qualified callibre of Iraqis to get trained on these machinery, because all the educated and intelligent ones, have fled the country to save their lives from the non ending violence.

Yes money is being spent, projects are taking place. Believe it or not, it is. You just dont hear it in the news. And why should we, since in my opinion, the hundreds of thousands of human lives that are lost day in day out are far more important than those darn concrete empty shells of a building. Do you know how many Iraqi contractors lost their lives because of the reconstruction efforts? Thousands. And when I say contractors, I also mean the simple man. That simple man who wanted to have any job just to be able to feed his hungry kids. The bricklayer, the painter, the cleaner. Just a simple man who wanted to keep his family alive. These concrete projects should have waited. They should have waited until the human issues were resolved. For without humans, theres no point. No point at all.

Yes Three years on, and as pessimistic as I have become, I still find time to laugh. To laugh with my Iraqi coworkers, atleast the ones who still are here. I laugh over the phone with the ones who left, joking with them and teasing them. Three years on and my obssession with shoes still remains. I doubt THAT will ever change. Yup Three years on. Three years on, and who woulda thought on that hot muggy day back in Aug o4, I would be here NOW, here in Baghdad still writing in this Blog. This Neurotic Blog...
posted by neurotic_wife at 5:28 PM 16 comments

August 23, 2007

Pensioner's Paradise

Poll Closed!!!Wow, 47% each with 6% neither!!! Thanx to all those who voted, but umm results are very confusing. I can see that the poll worked perfectly, although, in the 3 days, with over 1000 visitors, I only got about 140 voters, but hey I aint complaining. I kinda like this poll stuff, will definitely use it in the future for readers' opinions on current events. Anyhow, it was virtually equal between the 2, so Im gonna go with the minority who voted neither. Yup, you read right. I believe its time to give the minority a voice. The minority who never get the chance. So all you 8 people who voted, congrats, you won!!! Thats my first reason, second reason I chose the minority, is because of another email I received from my friend S:

How are you and how is Hubby? Hope you’re doing fine. I’m doing well…the great thing is that my sister arrived finally last Thursday, she had to delay her arrival so long because she was helping the rest ofthe family to move up north…unfortunately Baghdad is no longer safe for Christians…I’m not sure that it ismuch safer up north but there isn’t much that we can do about this right now. My brother and his family went to Syria after being threatened by the Islamic militias in Al Doura where he used to live.Who would believe that we are being kicked out of our own country just because some stupid donkeys think that they own Iraq and all the others are not good enough to be Iraqis?!!!!!

Yes, people left right and center are being killed and kicked out of their lifelong homes because they do not fit the majority's criteria. This is the new Iraq. The Iraq where Yazidis, Christians, Jews, Sabeans are not welcome. Oh hold on, and I should add the Shia's and Sunni's too, depending on where they live. All the ingredients that once upon a time made Iraq, is now being sieved out big time, to leave a plain unisect, which coincidently Im from, but these people do not, I repeat, DO NOT represent me what so ever. Infact they tainted not only the sect, but Islam. But as promised Im not gonna divulge into politics, although, I really have something on my mind which I wanna share, I guess I will leave it for another time.

Ive mentioned to you on a previous post that many of the companies here are leaving. Infact, alot of the people I work with are demobing pretty soon. There's only one main organisation thats taking over all the remaining projects from these companies. Right now, is what we call a transition period, where all these companies will transition the projects and all the information on the reconstruction to this one Organisation. Let me call this Organisation, Pensioner's Paradise or PP. You will see why Im calling it that when you read the whole post. Alot of the Iraqis that worked with me were young, some infact were fairly young, early 20's, new graduates, with a zest for life, even when their living circumstances where beyond liveable. They made the atmosphere more workable, less robotic, with their loud Iraqi jokes, and Iraqi sarcasm of their current situation. Unfortuantely for me, fortunately for them, almost all of them are now in Amman, waiting to board a plan to the US. Yes their passports got stamped finally and off they will go to another life.

The expat coworkers ie Americans, Brits, Australians, South Africans, Iraqi Americans etc werent old either, probably ages ranged from late 20's to early 50's. But most of them are demobing. PP on the other hand, had different requirements for the rebuilding of Iraq. Basically anyone who fits the following criteria

AGE: 60 and over
Health: Barely runs or walks, better still someone who has experience with crutches
Weight: 200 Kgs or over
Education: Graduated some time between 1960's and 70's
Concentration: A very short span
Connections with Managers: A brother, sister, cousin, relative, friend

Im sorry, I dont mean to make fun of any of the above, and I hope Im not insulting anyone, but please, logically in a place like this, the Green zone, where the chance of a mortar/rocket hitting is very probable at any time of the day or night, how the hell are these people expected to duck under a table or let alone run into a bunker to save their lives??? Granted, they may have a great resume, with probably ten times as many jobs as Ive had so far in my life and probably 40 years more experience , but umm, why come here when you can live with dignity in your own country??? Besides, who needs to walk into a pension house or an elderly house, in this already morbid city. I dont get it, I really dont. Its a fatal health hazard for them and a definite failure for this program. I mean check this out, my new boss, I give him something, five minutes later he comes charging, invades my space asking for the exact same thing I gave him five minutes earlier!!! WTH??? And I thought MY memory was bad...

ANother thing that pisses me off is the fact that there are Iraqis, who worked with me and have been here awhile, didnt apply for the US immigrant visa, know their work inside out, are being laid off, but not taken up by PP. Reason: We dont have the money. You dont have the measly money you pay the Iraqis, but you do have the money to bring old, barely alive expats, who have no clue how the program is being run???? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE. I mean seriously. Even M, the guy who lives in Sadr city, asked me while I was having my smoke break "Why are there so many old people, what are the young Americans doing in the States? Why didnt they bring people who really need these jobs, I mean the ones here, you just blow on them, and down they go in their grave". He cracked me up, cuz he genuinely was puzzled, I had to explain to him the politics behind it. I doubt he understood what I was trying to say...I doubt that I myself understand the beurocratic attitude in this place...

What also boggles my mind, is how the transition is going. Although I got hired by PP, they removed me from the sector that I have been in for the past 2 years and put me somewhere, that I have no knowledge in. I spent my first few days, googling and finding out all about the other sector. Then as I go and ask questions, I get rude replies and a huge attitude problem from a few people. Reason:The companies that are leaving, are not happy that their contracts came to an end, hence, their plan, give the new guys a hard time. Being an Iraqi, it pissed me off, and I told one of the guys "You are missing the whole point of why you are here. You are NOT here to compete, you are here for a specific mission, a mission to provide services to the Iraqis, and make their daily lives liveable". I practically spat my words, cuz people like that just aggravate me. No wander the reconstruction program is a failure. Half of it is because of ignorant people like that and the other half is because of criminal acts by insurgents whose only goal is to see this country in ruins.

This is all Im gonna say tonight, for Im tired, and exhausted. And I do need some space, some private and personal space. This place just sucks out all the air from me, or whatever is left of it. Especially when you have people hovering all over you all the time, UGHHHHHH. Unfortunately tomorrow is yet another day. Another day in this Paradise, the Pensioner's Paradise...

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This is me in my usual working position
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The sign, still DIDNT stop people bugging me!!!
posted by neurotic_wife at 10:51 PM 12 comments

August 21, 2007

A Poll

Im gonna try this for the first time. There are two posts I wanna write about all at once. Not sure which one will be more of an interesting read. So, I decided to set up a poll and see what everyone thinks and wants. This should be interesting, dont you think? So cmon take the poll and let me know...I may start using polls for other stuff too, if it works out.



I wanna write two posts at a time, but which one do you prefer?
Neurotic Iraqi Wife's Politcal Opinion?
Neurotic Iraqi Wife's Funny Musings?
Neither
Free polls from Pollhost.com
posted by neurotic_wife at 5:44 AM 16 comments

August 17, 2007

The War of Empathy...

Im not really in the mood to blog. But I do have good news to share, so decided to share it with you. Almost all of my coworkers who had their interviews for the US visa, were told they will be getting it in 5 days instead of the 2 or 3 months wait!!! Yaaaaaaaaay. That was the best news Ive heard in a long time. Im so happy, yet so sad at the same time, because I really am missing them. Im missing them alot. I also received an email from my very good friend S, who travelled to the US on that special immigrant visa, here is what she had to say:


"First of all I’m sooooooo sorry for not contacting you for the last two months…please forgive me…and please know that I haven’t and will never forget you…I want you to be my friend for life …because I really like you a lot and like your unique and honest personality. How are you and how is hubby…are you still in Baghdad?What is going on at work? Who left and who is still there?What about the other people who applied for the Visa…did any of them have his/her Visa yet?Keep me informed with the latest….I really miss you and miss our gossiping…I can’t say that I have friends here …I met a few people here but I can’t say they are friends…not too many Iraqis…I really miss speaking in Arabic and make jokes of nothing and everything. Life here is not as easy as I thought…too many challenges every where…but I won’t give up and I will keep trying to find my way and establish a new life….but it is another struggle. So far I have received my Green Card, Social Security Card, and Training Driving License…finally I’m learning how to drive!!! Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in mine…and please keep in touch."


Words like these made my eyes well with tears. Yeah it seems everything makes me cry lately!!! God. Im probably PMsing I guess...Im trying to give my coworkers a snapshot of how things will be. Because their desire to leave this place exceeds any logical thinking, they cannot begin to imagine the challenges theyre gonna face. The hurdles. And worst of all, the yearning. Yes they will yearn for everything they complained about when they were here. They will yearn for the sleepless nights they spent on their roofs trying to catch a breeze in the dead summer air. Oh yes, they will yearn for the lack of water and the times they had to come into work and wash up here. Aha, yes they will yearn for all the bad times, cuz for them, the good and the bad times took place in their country, their country Iraq. The country that no matter what, they will never stop loving. They will never stop living in memory of....

Before I end this post, I have a few words for the govt of Britian. Shame on you Britian for abandoing the only people that believed in helping you. Shame on you for refusing them entry to your country. Shame on you. I shake my head with disgust. When Bush announced the war on Iraq, and his infamous words "You are either with us or without us", you were the first to jump on the boat. Where are you now, where are you when the US govt has atleast started paying back some of those that worked with them in one way or another??? How come you are not following suit??? How come, the country that boasts about human rights, abandons the Iraqi translators that gave them their all. SHAME ON YOU....

Those young men and women who risked their lives, are now being left behind, left behind in the merciless hands of the criminal militias. Their only sin??? Their only sin is they believed in the so called freedom your war promised. Their only sin, their only sin is they believed in the so called democracy your war promised. Yup, youre either with us or without us. I wander why, I wander why you didnt follow US's steps this time. How come you didnt put a program together, to help all the Iraqis that worked with you. Its the least thing you can do to pay back the only people that believed in you. The only people that cheered for you. Right now youre a loser in the war for hearts and minds, atleast try and win the war of compassion. Atleast try and win the war, The War of Empathy...

Please read the articles on the struggles of the Iraqi translators in Basra on Times online
posted by neurotic_wife at 9:53 PM 25 comments

August 06, 2007

Bitter Sweet Memories

Alot of developments happened during the past week. Some are good, some are sad, and some are just plain funny. Therefore Im gonna have them in the three sections, so Im warning you, this is gonna be a rather long post. My Advice, read it over three days ;-)

A BITTER SWEET MEMORY (1)

Its Tuesday morning, and Im not that busy. Checking emails, chatting to my coworkers when my phone rings. I pick it up and its Z, the HR guy, asking me to go over to his area. I do just that, and as Im standing next to him, I see a veiled woman sitting with her back towards me. As she turned her face around, I froze. Literally froze. Wowwwwww, I havent seen her for almost 18 months now. And for that split second, that split second that our eyes met, a roll of film started playing in my mind. A roll of film that I have stored away to never be opened again.

H, H was someone who worked very closely with HUBBY. A man in his late fifties with a typical Basrah accent. HUBBY used to spend alot of time with him, not only because of work, but because H was indeed a very interesting personality. He would tell us stories about traditions we never knew about. Things that occur within the tribal world of Iraq. Demeanours, mannerisms, and how everything has rules. If a fight takes place between tribes, there are certain rules and regulations for revenge or unity. Infact they have their own rules for anything and everything you can think of. HUBBY would be all ears when H spoke.

It was late July, July 05, on a hot summers night, when we received a phonecall. It was his son, asking the whereabouts of his father. HUBBY was confused, and told him that for some reason, he didnt show up at work and so we presumed he was at the site. His son went quiet on the phone, it was 930pm, and no one stayed that late out of the house, especially in the current circumstances. HUBBY calmed him down and told him that he will try to make some phonecalls and find out if H was at the site that day. After HUBBY hung up with H's son, he turned to me and said, You know Neurotica, I have a bad feeling. I fear that H has been kidnapped. He had previously received threats from certain contractors, but never took them seriously. After a few phonecalls, we realised that H was never seen by anyone that day.

The next day, his car was found abandoned, a few miles away from his neighbourhood, and his family received that fateful phonecall from his kidnappers. It was official, H had been kidnapped. My god, that day, that day were HUBBYs fears turned out true was probably the worst day I have ever experienced here. I remember how I just collapsed at work and cried for hours. I couldnt stop. I also remember how HUBBY contacted a few of H's friends that knew of someone that knew someone, that knew someone, who knew the huge kidnapping cells. There are 2 main ones, the Sadr one, and Al Dhari. They asked them to check if any of their people had H. Negative replies came from both. But the kidnappers continued their psycological war with H's family. They kept calling, kept demanding money, kept threatening and painting horrific pictures of what might H's fate be if the ransom wasnt paid. It really was a nightmare. The ransom was paid, but there was no H. No H found anywhere. Not even in the morgues that were frequented on a daily basis to check if his body was somewhere out there. H disappeared, disappeared from the face of the earth.

And my roll of film came to an end. My tears welled up as H's wife hugged me. She hugged me tight and asked me how I was doing and how HUBBY is. I smiled lightly and told her that all is fine with us, and asked her about her news. Not once did I mention H to her. I didnt want to know, I guess, I didnt want to believe that the man from Basrah, that funny man full of life, has been murdered. Then we stood in silence, for a few seconds, I asked whether she needed anything, she shook her head, and with that I kissed her goodbye, and returned the roll of film back to where it belonged. To my own oblivious cells, for it never will be rolled again. One thing I have to mention tho, the VP of the US company H worked for, vowed to continue paying H's salary to his wife, indefinitely. A move that I thought was amazing and very thoughtful. As for me, H's face, his wife's face will remain a memory. A bitter sweet memory....


A BITTER SWEET MEMORY (2)

Monday morning and just before a brief I have to attend, I hear claps, whistles, and screams. Then H (the reuters of our office) comes to my area and tells everyone that K got his interview. He received his interview date. A few minutes later, D got it, then H, then O. Everyone started running to their desks, checking for that lifechanging email. That long due email. Over the last week 90% of my Iraqi coworkers, got their interview dates for the special visa immigration at the American Embassy in Amman. It was a joy felt everywhere. That Monday, was the day after Iraq won the Asia cup. And when I said, God was finally smiling at us, I believe he truely was smiling. For all my coworkers dreamt to get that opportunity. The opportunity of tasting freedom. The opportunity of tasting Life. The real Life. I guess Crockers words did make a difference. And its time for the US to take responsibilty of all those who truely helped them and risked their lives on a daily basis. It may not be enough, but it is a start.

Everyday since that Monday, we hear the same whistles and claps. Its now S, A, E, H, Z and Z. Then A and R and many others in the other companies. They all huddle up together, making plans. Plans of where they will meet back in the US. How will they meet. They ask me about cash and how much they can take with them. They ask about expenditures and airport procedures. You can see the colour has come back to their pale grief stricken faces. Wow, the difference in their attitudes, the difference in their words is amazing. Within a day and a night, their whole outlook on life changed. Those slumped shoulders, and sad eyes, are no where to be found anymore. When I ask them whether they will be coming back if their visas take longer than usual, the majority opted out for staying in Jordan waiting for it. Even if it takes 3 or 4 months S said, I will never come back to this place again, NEVER.

There are ofcourse a few who still havent gotten their interview dates yet. Those I feel terribly bad for. They look at their coollegues and wander why not me. Why didnt I get it yet. They look at their collegues with envy, yet mixed with happiness. As for me, I cried when some began to say their goodbyes. My tears welled in my eyes, even with people I didnt really get along with. FOr I realised, I will terribly miss them. They were my driving force. They were the reason I was here. They were the ones who taught me how to be strong and never give up. They showed me what true heroism is, and what it really means. It was them, who changed me. They changed me and made me into a better person. They may have learnt technical skills from me, but what they gave me, was far more valuable than any technical solution. They gave a meaning to my life. My life that 2 years ago was pointless, pointless and empty...

So now, they will travel a different journey. A journey filled with hope. A journey filled with dreams. A journey that will teach them the yearning that we Iraqis who left this place more than 25 years ago felt. With all the suffering and all the hardship they endured here, they will most definitely reminisce together and remember the "good" old days. But for now, for just a short while, this place, this place for them is going to be just a memory. A Bitter Sweet Memory...

And Finally...

A BETTER SWEET MEMORY (3)

Show me your cute toes he said. Huh? I typed. Show me your toes he repeated. I laughed. I laughed with all my heart. For it wasnt too long ago (3 years), that HUBBY used to tell me these same words. Its like deja vu all over again. I connected my webcam, and instead of pleasing HUBBY's weird fettish of toes, I scared him to death by sticking the lens to my crooked teeth. I cracked up laughing. I guess its gonna take a miracle, a real miracle for us to have a normal married life. Right now he is based somewhere other than Baghdad. A place that gets hit by 20-30 mortars daily. Although I worry about him all the time, but as long as I see him online, I know he is ok. Ever since he moved there a few months back, I dont get to see him, I dont get to see him at all. The only time I did was just a week when I went on my vacation, and even that wasnt enough. I wanted him and needed him more this time than any other time I can remember. I missed him. I truely did.

The skype, the yahoo messenger, the cam, the phonecalls, are our only way of communicating. Our only way of checking on each other and listening to each other's woes. Show me your cute toes, took me aback. Wowwwww, was it really that long ago when we used to flirt with each other??? Was it that long ago when we'd play and have fun??? It seems that this place sucked all the life from us, all the fun loving stuff we used to have. I almost forgot how it felt like to be loved and teased by HUBBY. Do you love me he asks. I go quiet, for HUBBY rarely asks me this. Can I sleep on it I answer and tell you tomorrow? He types the B word, and I do my Loooooooooooool. ATleast for those precious moments, he doesnt talk about his work, nor complain about his bosses. For those precious moments, I have him , I have him all for myself. I may not see him, I may not be able to touch him. But I feel him. I feel him with me, with me in my heart. But the toes fettish, that, that definitely will remain, will remain a memory. A Bitter Sweet Memory...

And with that I conclude, My Bitter Sweet Memories
posted by neurotic_wife at 10:54 PM 45 comments