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In the midst of World Cup excitement in Rio de Janeiro and the news of Michael Schumacher waking up from a coma, half way across the globe in Iraq I wake up to different news. In the fast turn of events over the past few days, the US Embassy decided to relocate part of its staff in fear of entering a different type of coma.

After a full day of shredding paper and the sound of helicopters removing people from the Embassy, I exit the building looking up at the American flag trying to absorb the surrealism of the day in my brain. I walk to my room,thinking about every detail rolling around in my brain and trying to find my voice. I see our Embassy full of U.S. Marines.

Upon entering my room, I see my mother had tried to call me many times on Skype. As my family was watching CNN news, my mother was freaking out more and more. I called her to ensure her that we were ok. And, we are ok!

June 19, BaghdadAs the rest of the world was watching a surprising and beautiful match between Germany and Portugal (4-0) in the World Cup, my TV was on in the background, and I did my laundry and prepared my “to-go bag”, ready at a minute’s notice for my re-location order to be transported somewhere safer.

As I do every night, I took my walk-and-read ritual to relax my brain. After walking for about an hour and reading 50 Shades of Grey, I sat on a sidewalk bench -the 14 date palms on each side forging an image of Roman columns lining the street. I sat enjoying the beautiful cool breeze from the Tigris River hitting me from behind, looking again at the American flag high up. Unwinding my brain in meditation of the surreal day, I am re-enacting the memory of the Fall of Saigon (1975) and U.S. Embassy crisis in Tehran(1979), Baghdaddy style.

I was meditating on the entire day’s events; I remembered a few scenes from the movie Argo where the Iranians were trying to put together back all the shredded papers using kids. (The shredders we use today will make it a lot more difficult to put the papers back together!) We (Americans), here, are living the real thing, not like Ben Affleck playing the hero in his movie Argo. He gets recognitions and makes millions of dollars. But these US Marines, and we (civilians) who stay behind serving our Nation America are the real deal.


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P.S.: Currently, reading The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan