Hip Hip Hooray for Hill!

So, We've got a new Ambassador. And a really bad dust storm, so not sure if he'll arrive today as planned.

A Lot of Thinking

I lost my voice on Wednesday ... started a Z pak and am feeling much better after two additional trips to the health unit. Voice has not totally returned, but I without a voice box, I’m using my blog.
#1. No voice for Beth = torture. Oh man! I have so much to say!!!! I hate not talking. I remember getting so many reminders and demerits at HA for talking…haha! It’s so funny when you realize what torture is to yourself.

#2. Have been thinking a lot about my time in Iraq.

#3. There is a going away – welcome party here every week, if not twice a week. It’s a lonely feeling when people you love leave.

#4. Thinking my end date is close at hand frightens, excites, overwhelms and relaxes me all at once. Then, I get the expected “Will you stay?” and I am overwhelmed, stressed, unhappy, out of control, plans scrapped, back at the drawing board once again. You’d think that after 4 moths of preparation to leave, and the same question still keeping me here I’d learn how to react, but still it is met with a pasted on smile and a no words.

#5. Love is Patient,
love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I have felt more love away from my family and friends than I have known in a lifetime.

Sometimes a card, sometimes an email, sometimes a photograph, sometimes a phone call, often a long phone call listening to me cry/vent/complain about my dream coming true and not knowing what to do with the expectation of what will come next. I’ve not know til now what love is without three words, but I have to say, it is much greatly appreciated with kindness, encouragement, humility, politeness, gentleness and forgiveness. Knowing I have a backbone of loved ones to stand behind me, believe in me and continue to love me regardless of the distance between us means so much to me.

So much I might extend here… hahahaha!!!! LOL! Life is funny, huh?

So what’s new:

First, let me explain Rule of Law.

The office was created as the umbrella to encompass many agencies detailed to Iraq. (I still have not memorized all of them—I’m learning every day) Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Government Accountability Office, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, ICITAP (Prison Corrections….I haven’t memorized the whole acronym) Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshall’s. All these agencies (plus maybe a few more) report to the Rule of Law Coordinator (my boss) who reports to the Ambassador. Then there is the Justice Attaché (my other boss, #2 in rank) and the 9 Rule of Law Attorneys who are the lead liaisons to the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Higher Judicial Court, Criminal Court of Iraq and each track a province in Iraq and work with the local judicial systems throughout Iraq.

Rule of Law’s 3 big goals are training police on the humane treatment of prisoners, providing education to the police force and lawyers as well as protection for judges all while assisting in rebuilding the legal system.

I handle special projects for the Justice Attaché and Rule of Law Coordinator and handle protocol for the office. There are often meetings with the Higher Judicial Council (HJC) and Joint Coordination Committee made up by judicial representatives from many Ministries including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of State and the National Security Agency presided over by the Chief Justice.

Thursday we hosted a meeting of the JCC and I organized a catered Arabic lunch following the meeting. There is plenty to keep me busy, plenty to learn and a plethora of projects to understand. This office also has the best morale in the Embassy. Maybe because many sections are segregated detailees from their respective entity, maybe because they are united in their mission, I don’t know, but I enjoy the people and the atmosphere enormously.

We work in the “school house”. Which was created when we designed the billion dollar Embassy to enable Foreign Service Officers to come to post with their families…later realizing it’s a bit sick and too soon to bring families to a hardship post, so due to limited space in the other two office buildings, we are in the school house. It’s a big bull pen, similar to a telemarketer calling center.

So that’s a nut shell of my new job.

Easter was a good celebration. My mom sent Easter baskets to T, Ash and I. We put them together and hid each others baskets around the apartment. It was really fun. We cooked all day and hosted 16 of our closest friends for dinner. Our friend got a leg of lamb and turkey from the red zone, which served as the main courses plus mashed potatoes, carrots, corn, green bean casserole, hummus, shrimp cocktails, stuffing, byriani rice and home made apple pie (by yours truly!) plenty of wine to go around and no incomings made the day memorable and fulfilling.

Tensions were high, as last year, Easter marked the day the insurgents bombed the heck out of the Americans and everyone lived in the Palace and would not leave hardened structure. Which premised the troop surge later in June.

This year, though we woke up to a gray sky filled with lightning, there were no attacks on the Green Zone. Praise God!

Some other fun parties of late have been at the UK Embassy, there was a skool kids party, where we all donned ties and uniforms.

I just got back from the Italian Embassy pizza party…which is always a good dinner, and going away party for my former assistant swimming instructor in the fall and another friend and am ready to rest my throat, pop my last dose of the Z Pak, and wake up ready to take on a new week.