Thanks to all the great people I worked with during my year in Baghdad. There are so many to mention it's hard to know where to start. But in no order whatsoever, I want to thank:
The Ladies who Lunch - Laura, Hadar, and Natalie. Without your laughter and willingness to listen, I would have gone slowly insane. And to my belly dancing buddies as well (you know who you are!) I only regret that we didn't connect until late in my tour.
Judes, my confidante, cheerleader, all-around good-time gal. She got me out of the Palace Compound and into the world of the IZ. An amazing woman that I am proud to call a friend.
Vickie, who knows all about surviving in a war zone - first Kabul and then Baghdad - and how to make a hootch into a home.
Eric, who listened and understood it all - including the fact that sometimes a girl just has to wear those red pumps. Sorry I was so high maintenance. . . And to Kelii who gave me my first pair of genuine, (RED) Crocs!
Jeff, who was a voice of reason in an unreasonable world. Always mellow; never flustered; I hope to be just like him when I grow up.
Sandy Mc and her loving husband, Mack, my neighbors in the trailer park. Thanks for making it feel like a neighborhood and for all the gossip.
Sandra S, my hootchmate who left me breakfast when I was sick and always ensured my hootch was sufficiently warm/cool when I came back from R&R.
The "World Famous Tony S," who always had something to say about everyone and whose plainspeak made me laugh. His phone calls were always a delight.
But most of all, to my two amazing, handsome, smart and incredible children, David and James, because they make my heart sing and my soul soar and they kept me focused on my goals.
And to Rolando - my best friend, my lover, my husband, my papi chulo, who supported me 110% the whole year and who did everything to make this possible. To him, I say "No necesito pastillas para dormir, si estás conmigo. Todos los sueños florecen cuando me hablas al oído. Abreme la noche y ven a ver cómo te puedo querer eternamente." I love you.