Since our concert was last night, today was a very quiet day. I started off with a shopping trip to the bazaar. One of our wonderful interpreters, Rageen, went with me. He was a big help, and a wonderful kid. In addition to the bazaar, we went into the citadel, and went to the textile museum. Amazing weavings! And I had the pleasure of watching a woman weave for a while. I was at the Ministry by noon to teach some private lessons. Harem, Awder, Shelon and Zana had their final lessons today.
After the Theater and Dance concert tonight, Shelon, Awder, Zana, Abdul-Qadir, Bashdar and I went back to 2b2 Fast Food and Coffee for a last supper together. They gave me a wonderful present. They took two pictures from last night’s concert (one of the whole orchestra and one of the cello quartet and me), had them blown up and framed. How they could get that done that quickly, I have no clue. It was the perfect gift–a lovely way to remember them. Saying goodbye was very difficult–very tearful. Zana rode in a taxi with me (again, they won’t ever let me ride in a taxi alone at night), while Awder, Shelon, Qadir and Bashdar took another taxi back to the dorms. While Zana and I were riding, his phone rang. He handed it to me and said, ‘it’s for you.’ It was Bashdar who just wanted to say goodbye one more time.
Tomorrow I fly from Erbil to Vienna and spend the night in Vienna. Then on Tuesday, I fly from Vienna to New York, New York to Cincinnati, Cincinnati to St. Louis, arriving in St. Louis a bit after 9 p.m.
I’ll have a lot of time on airplanes to reflect on this experience, but I think I’ll be reflecting for months.