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I think I’ve made some conditional decisions. Depending on what the outcome is in December, I’ll either remain status quo for two or three more years … Or Not.

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You prepare yourself for it. The colors in the mountains—seemingly made of granite and sand—are a palette you could not have imagined. Photographs taken from the UNHAS plane past the propeller blades do not do the variations justice.

And then you see it. A massive rock face, dotted with openings for caves that remind you of Dunhuang. And there, in the center, in the shape of those Russian dolls, a carving into rock that ascends through the rock to almost three-quarters of the way to the top.

And it is vacant.

The Bamyan of the Destroyed Buddhas.

I still cannot comprehend how the human breast carries within it at times such fiery disregard for and soulless destruction of the heights to which humans can ascend.

Now that a few hours over a week are left for me to begin my long trek home, I think, shaking my head, of the heavy (for me) suitcase that awaits me in Kabul. Why on earth did I bring all that stuff? All that I pulled out from it for my use in the seven weeks I have been here could have fit into one of my roomier carry-ons. I lived in two pairs of pants and six tops, jeans, t-shirt and scarf for Saturdays, toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, a very few toiletries, creams, and cosmetics, CIPRO and vitamins, a pair of sandals, and Toms-like loafers. A small hand towel and a facecloth. Then: computer, iPhone, iPad, camera, cords. A bangle and a pair of earrings.

Anything else?

No.

Even the gifts I brought are not needed.

Next time, I will not pack my fears.

I’ve been thinking all day about how the fateful events of September 11th, 2001, changed the world as we know it. And recalling the tragedies not just of that horrible day that shook the nation, and perhaps the world, but of all the trauma and wars that have followed.

And tonight, Kabul is celebrating with fireworks and partying in the streets because Afghanistan won the football match in Nepal against India. We can see the fireworks and hear the whoops of delight, but of course, cannot go out.

It is good to see that for a nation that has come through decades of war, people have something to celebrate. Almost feels normal, whatever that is.

I thought my love would grow old with me at his side, and I with him. Consciousness is solitary.

this is just a test.  i hate the italics but haven’t figured out how to change them.

How cool!

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