This is a post of thanksgiving for the lovely times I have had over the last few days.
Most importantly, I got to talk to my kiddos for a bit on Sunday evening. It was great to be with them, albeit over the internet. They are so beautiful, and I miss them dearly. All the same, to be able to talk to them and see them almost whenever I want is a great thing.
I also talked to my wife, the wonderful, beautiful woman who helped me to raise two amazing kids and went through hellish times with me, not to mention moving around the world all the time. While we are moving through separation, and eventual divorce, I can still be thankful for the times we shared. We each grew a great deal, in many different ways, during the 14 years we spent together.
Also, I had the opportunity to celebrate two birthdays with colleagues from my security company and their friends. I say 'their' friends, because I really only have a few friends of my own here. Most of them work for the security company, and need to consider me first and foremost as a principal, or client. The few others that I do have are mostly not in Erbil, but scattered around Iraq, the US, the Balkans, etc....and it's hard to stay in touch.
I think a lot about my Russian musician friend, whom I helped navigate immigration problems (before 9/11). Also about the Bosnian Serb pharmaceutical engineer that ended up being an office manager (he was good with systems, and was also my upstairs neighbor and spoke English). And Dr. Abdulai, and Fr. Kirby, and Jimi, and Jim M. (whose kitchen we nearly burned up once or twice, and Jared S. (with whom I spent many nights philosophising, until I tried to steal his girlfriend and he hated me forever!), and Mike B., whose mom passed away not long ago, and Dave G., and Steve S., and Jenny S. (with whom I was secretly (or maybe not so secretly) in love for many years), and so many others that have been a part of my life so far. All of their love and friendship has made me what I am today, for better or for worse.
Thanks to Facebook, I have started to reconnect with many people with whom I have not spoken in years. I was on the planning committee for the 20-year high school reunion, but had to drop out (haha) when I got assigned to Iraq. It's a neat tool to stay in touch and waste time at work.
To my parents, and my brothers, I am also eternally grateful for all the wonderful things they have done for me, some without my even knowing. I am really going to miss you this Christmas.
And to my grandparents, aunts and uncles, who have always treated me with love and respect. I thank God for Danny and Peter, who are not with us anymore. I remember many fantastic Christmases with those guys and the other relatives and friends that were always around.
It's amazing how many beautiful people one meets in life. Thank God for all of the ones I have met and all the ones I haven't yet, but may one day meet!
Love and Peace to all!