street life, downtown walkabout (after a Nepalese food run at the Park...mmmmmm)

Listening to Erykah Badu jam while in bed drinking some dark French Roast here in Suli. She's badass. It's a live stream from a link on FB, and some dude just finished singing Happy Birthday to her, and crowd is going wild, and he shouts out "Wakanda!"

On all matters Wakanda, I checked out Black Panther this weekend with our crew. I'm not sure if all the showings are 3-D, but ours was. 3-D; imagine that it seems so 'old skool' now. Just the cinematic experience in general seems ancient, yet it's still a pleasure every time.

I love the cool, dark vibe of theaters. Popcorn is a staple; I'm usually so hesitant to get some, but thankful after when I'm munching away I've sunk into my chair arriving at that sweet spot and prepare myself to be taken away on a journey. In a journey really.

Black Panther delivers, as anticipated. Killmonger, the antagonist - or not? That's my question. Great job delivering the conflicting identity of Killmonger. As the storyline goes, "Killmonger is not a product of the ghetto, so much as he is a product of the American military-industrial complex."


Onward. Satiated after filling up the reservoir with some cinematic wellness, we headed to Lalazar for a victory (birthday-- no, not mine) gathering. It's a really nice view of the city from there. I find myself mesmerized looking out the windows at active twilight. Sky ablaze with golden warmth fading... The last vestiges of sunset well below the horizon, I watch for the hills to stop glistening as the warm, yellowish lights of the city turn on. The changing of the guard here in Suli, Iraqi Kurdistan. 

There is some drink there A-Gra introduced me to; I like it. From what I can remember, it's a beer with a shot of tequilla in it and salt around rim. There seems to be one more ingredient perhaps, but I cannot recall. I think we called it a Ladino. As an afterthought at the end of the evening, I'm glad I ate dinner there...

As the story continues, we continued on to the Irish pub to meet up w/our larger tribe. Already in full swing, the NGO peeps were holding court. A few of their folk were finishing up their contracts and moving on to their next gig. There's not a lot of expats in Suli, so all our various tribes come to the neighboring watering hole to commune for a few hours along with the kind-hearted residents. That's one thing I love about the Pub, and living in Suli; all our tribes are together for peace and enjoyment. This is the kinda ethnography that a PhD could be made from, IMHO. 

A good evening for all. 

So yea, a shout out to Iraqi Kurdistan here. I am thankful to come to this place and call it home in this chapter. Let's see how the story unfolds! I'm stoked.

Things I've just learned about here that I will be checking out soon:

There is a Chinatown here! Yummmmm Dim Sum? We shall see.
There is a (new) Zoroastrian Fire Temple here. I'm intrigued.

Today, in part, was brought to you with contributions from:





ALOHA FRIDAY Kurdistan-style... and then this old, unfinished post: Hau`oli Makahiki Hou 2018 (Happy New Year)

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou 2018

The lost entry: Back in America, back on January 1st, 2018, back in yet another bed, with another cup of coffee, from another french press, I typed...

It's a fine, brisk, foggy, crisp winter morning here in So.Or. It's a new year, and I'm ready for it. Right now, as I sit here with the kitties and drink my coffee, I'm in preparation mode. A new year equals a new job, and with that new job comes a new country; Iraq- Kurdistan to be more specific. 

The kitties came to America ('Merica F*ck Yea!) and conquered the hearts of friends and family- much to my delight. They can't continue on in this next chapter with me, nor would they want to. The Middle East Beasts are deep in the honeymoon phase of their So.Or. HQ. 

What a journey, this ending of 2017; coming to America from Istanbul and temporarily setting up shop- first in Yosemite working for the NPS. The Yosemite Chapter captivated me. It lured me back into the beauty of America's wilderness. I got to live out that 'mountain high girl' fantasy. 

Integrating back into American life was somewhat challenging, I suppose. I think all expats feel a bit 'weird' at first going back 'home'. It helped to go immediately into a new job (NPS archaeologist) and community so as not to dwell on what I had left behind. A fantastic voyage back into archaeology and the realm of scientific methods were a welcome respite from language teaching; just what the holistic doctor ordered. The heroes and heroines of the Yosemite Chapter are far too numerous, but are etched deep into my heart. I wonder who will be the first to visit me in Sulaymaniyah!!! I have some ideas.

It had been eight years since I left America. What I realize is that 'home' is everywhere. My new 'home' is once again in the Cradle of Civilization. I'm so stoked. I'm so ready. I'm so fortunate that I have love and support from family and friends in these processes.  

FAST FWD 6 weeks and here I am in my bed, drinking my (french press) coffee, burning Nag Champa incense w/da kine on a moody Friday morning here in Iraqi Kurdistan. All I can eek out so far this morning is... oh what a night... We were all on point last night, our theatre troupe. That is all.

It's a moody morning. Solid waves of graydation interrupts the apartment buildings interrupting the Suli skyline. Luscious cashmere cocoons me in this perceived 'chill' my body is experiencing. Still, I stand strong; bare feet explore the wood floors- always.

Bare naked feet shuffling to and fro the hallway, into my living spaces. Oh the luxury. Toes spreading flat, walking my yoga-walk- trying to spread every toe up, down and out with each step- with some sort of consciousness. The toes knows; freedom. FREEDOM.

They pull on my body to enter THAT room. Yea, the one with the yoga mats; La Stanza nota come Studio di FORMolo. Funny, true story about Studio di FORMolo. Two evenings ago, after a long, successful week of work my feet bring me home. Seeking out the yoga mats, they set about into action. Unfortunately I stopped them from attaining total FREEDOM by first diverting them into the kitchen for a low ball glass of ice, tonic water, and a fresh lime. At this point said feet knew exactly where to trot off next; you guessed it- the bar, which also happens to be part of the open-air (of sorts) floor plan of Studio di FORMolo, which also moonlights as both a workspace and living room. Yea, give me some of that Sapphire gin (secretly pining for Hendricks). 

A friend calls & joins me for  pau hana cocktails (finish workweek). With da kine and Nag Champa incense wafting, slowly seeping through layers of skin, fighting its way inside cells to cleanse away the filth from the work week, I start to sink into the reality that I have 3 days off! I don't have to work at home  tonight. I don't have to pick up any work whatsoever tomorrow, you get the picture.

Said feet are quietly rebelling the entire conversation. Revolution. Time to draw Holly to the mat. To the mat; a welcome barge of familiar graphemes that always hits me like a mega-namaste-kinda-bomb. A phrase dear to my essence; all this shit that the universe constructed (chaos) and subsequently spit out to deposit into my star matter, back before 'it' mattered... Kinda like spiritual vomit, and I constantly seek out ways to express gratitude for the deposition, and the chance to walk this magical eARTh.

But I digress. Feet float me over and upside down. I'm in Sirsasana (headstand) pose. Headstand Pose, for me, is in the top five- with Trikonasana (Side Triangle Pose) being absolutely number one. One of my first yoga teachers back in Santa Cruz told me Sirsasana was the 'beauty' pose, because you never get the chance in life to maintain proper blood circulation to the head (brain) as you do when in a headstand. Any inversion in general is going to do this, but Sirsasana was my initiation into this school of thought. I love being educated, and am a dedicated student. As well, it's always hard to part ways with your first (yoga pose nirvana) love, isn't it? 

Moving forward, Sirsasana... it was beautiful. Blissed out, I returned to the couch, and my empty drink. Alone again and on the mat. Endorphins = addiction. Sweet addiction. 

I'm honestly not one to drink that much- I honestly think I'm too vain. Or realistic- I get that from my father. Perhaps it just comes down to I'm just too mortal. I likely won't be having a drink and doing yoga again... Something went awry, and I cannot say for sure what it was. There was no (distantly familiar) cacophony of listening to yourself pull a muscle and immediately know you fucked up. Having that happen once in life creates awareness of wanting to be really conscious of never experiencing that sound ever again. 

I recall going to sleep a bit freaked out. I hate fucking up my body. It was all so innocent; Marichyasana D (Sage Pose), which is always thrilling every time I nail it. And, by nailing it, I'm referring to relaxing in it with slow concentration and long exhales every time that mind tries to fuck up the body by trying to convince body that body can't do it. With each exhale body tells mind to shut the fuck up. 

Back to the main point of the story... even the tiniest bit of alcohol is going to favor mind over body.

Yesterday was spent babying the right side of my sacrum. I persevered, because I'm a Formolo foremost, yet I have allowed myself the ability to give in to a softer form of withstanding a sorta dull-yet-constant pain. Yes, I'm talking about taking a prescription anti-inflammatory. A very wise person turned me onto them a few years back. I hardly like to take them, but when shit hits the fan, you already know you have to deal with it, so may as well try to centralize where the fuck the pain is coming from so you can work on it.

Active work included (successfully I might add) liberal amounts of Tiger Balm slathered on lower back, 2 anti-inflammatories, loads of water throughout the day, and a cloth napkin wrapped around the head of a knife strategically placed in pain HQ. I used the 'attack from the hinterlands' method; slowly I worked from outside the enemy territory to the inner sanctum, where all the unrest was aflutter.

As I rest upon my acupressure pillow (this hard plastic square thing with about 500 pokey points sticking outta it- truly a nirvana once you get past the concept of the visual pain and sink into it and let it open up circulation in your blood vessels so oxygen can flow again and start circulating through the body, pumping it full of nutrients) and think I'm pretty fortunate.

Fortunate not just because I didn't really hurt myself, but fortunate for every thing.

It's Aloha Friday everybody!