It is often said: “What goes around comes around”.  2013 became a special year in my life. It was a return to where it all began. I left in 1994 from my birth city Basrah, Iraq and in 2013 I returned. If someone had told me 20 years ago that my life would take an exciting turn to start a new life in America, and then return to work in Basrah with the American Consulate to help the American Consulate General with social outreach using social networks like Facebook and Twitter and enjoy having dinner with the American Consul General (CG) a few nights a week, all of this would have been mind blowing wishes. Yet, 20 years later in 2013, all these things came true. As I am humbled, honored, and thankful for the opportunities presented to me, I will continue to live my life treasuring this experience.

Consul General Bill Grant

I was stationed in U.S. Consulate General located in the National Airport of Basrah. Due to my contractual agreement, I could not leave the premise. It was a feeling that was killing me softly. I grew up in a house about 10  minutes away, yet I could not go and see it. I could not walk the streets with the nostalgic feeling of the past that seemed to have passed so quickly to my future life, 20 years later. This thought will remain an itch that I could not scratch, a feeling that could not be satisfied, and a desire that could not be fulfilled. During my six months in Basrah, what echoed day and night in my head was that “I am 10 minutes away from where I grew up, yet I cannot go and see my childhood house.” It would have been a reflection of achievement.

On the night of 26 June 2013, I took my last nightly walk around the Consulate with my replacement. As a surprise to both of us, it turned out to be that our fathers were from the same city of Basrah, and they were friends. As I was walking, I became filled with the feeling of achieving a milestone in my life. My eyes were recording the scenes as a video camera, my brain was storing the images with feelings of joy and happiness. As I continued to walk around, I knew this would be the last time that I would see and experience all of this.  It is all back to where I started first. I found myself swept up in the passion of the moment.