It has been nearly two months since I’ve written anything at all. Time flies. In the time since last putting any thoughts down on a keyboard I flew home for two weeks and reconnected with friends and family over Christmas and New Years, and then turned around to fly halfway around the world to come back to Duhok.
Duhok lies at 43 degrees east longitude, Sacramento at 121 degrees west. By extension my flight path from Erbil to SFO was only about 700 miles short of being 180 degrees longitude, a perfect halfway around the world flight home and back.
Two nearly-half-world-flights are not easy on anyone’s body. I spent my first five days back in Duhok trying desperately to readjust while dodging any self-admission as to how unsettled I had become. Due in equal parts to; having gone back home, coming back to an uninterrupted week of straight rain, and struggling like all hell to shake a 5pm-2am jet-lag sleep schedule that had me living surreal days where my mind and body seemed to peak at 4am.
– – – –
More than anything, I’ve felt the need to write recently to end any sort of writer’s block that I’ve cultivated. January in Kurdistan always seems to breed it. The harsh grey weather lending few favors to creativity or enthusiasm, much less an opportunity to go out and see new things in a place that can feel severely limited when the weather is not agreeable.
Even now the wind hums continuously and rattles everything around. A ten meter light post stands outside my apartment window, and I use it’s slowly swaying silhouette cast on the neon lights behind as my measuring stick for the intensity of any gust.
I’ll wake up intermittently between 2-4am as thunderstorms pass directly over Duhok’s narrow valley, clouds hemmed in by the steep mountain cliffs and forced to drop their payload over the city.
January is when Kurdistan owns it’s oft-mentioned title as being one of the most formidable and inhospitable regions of recent time. I still want to get out and see as much as I can, but winter can, and does, hit hard here.
Only forty miles north, snow has inundated the Sapna Valley and completes the spectrum from the desert plains of Nineveh only twenty miles south of me to the frigid windswept top of Gara mountain thirty miles to the north.
Two months since I last wrote flew by, and feels almost anecdotal for the 14 months that disappeared while I wasn’t home at all. Leaving Sacramento in October 2014 was supposed to be a 5 month trip, and turned into a 14-month near-circumnavigation of the globe where I saw the Pacific Ocean in Vietnam but did not cross over it.
I’ll just have to wait a little longer to make my way entirely around the world.