1995 Goodbye David Goodbye my husband, my love. Nobody else knows the young woman I am today like you do, and no one ever will. You have been my friend, my love, my playmate and my confidant through these crazy, fantastic years of our youth. Through death and loss and grief you have loved me. Through confusion and doubt you have always stayed close. We set out on this adventure of life together. We cast our simple but surprisingly sturdy little boat out into these turbulent waters. You have never failed me, nor betrayed my trust in you. We have tried everything that we could think of, we have tried and then tried again. No, we have not failed each other, but we have come to the end of our trying. We are worn out, exhausted and sad, so sad. Goodbye my lovely philosopher. Goodbye my friend. 1996 Goodbye New Zealand Goodbye my homeland. Goodbye my turangawaewae, my place to stand. As long as I know you are here, I will never be lost. But now I need to leave. I need to be away from here. Suddenly you seem too small to contain the pain that is burning within me and the desire that is bursting out of me. I could drive through one day and a night and come to the edge of your beautiful shoulders. I need to go further. I need to spread out my arms and not touch the edges. I need to get lost in a sea of strangers. I need to stand in the middle of a desert so vast I can sense the majesty of the universe and imagine being lost in it myself. I need to cast myself into the world with no one beside me. I need to discover again what I can do alone. Though I will always return to you, though I belong to you, goodbye Aotearoa. 2001 Goodbye Gaza, Goodbye Israel Goodbye courageous Gaza, do you know that you’ve captured a part of my heart. I will never truly leave you. I will also never again be the girl I was when I landed here and you embraced me in your warm, passionate arms. Goodbye crazy, wonderful Gaza, but how can I leave you like this? Your streets are in flames and your children are fighting again. Goodbye my beloved Gaza, and all my friends here. Goodbye Bassam, you were so kind to this stranger, you and Donia and the girls, there are no words for what you gave me. Goodbye Raji, you pushed me and pulled me and stretched me and tested me, you taught me what I was capable of and yet never managed to toughen me up. Goodbye Ibrahim, I sat in your house three times every week as you taught me Arabic and how hard life can be here. Goodbye Tariq, and Jehan and Ala, you opened your hearts and your homes to me and taught me how to live in this place. Goodbye Sharifa, you came to be my housemate and we discovered we were soul mates. Goodbye Ross, you were with me from the first day and you have always been here, letting me sit in your studio while you work. I have always known that I could rely on you for some sanity when I was losing mine. Goodbye Mehdi, you shared a little of your soul with me and reminded me of my own path. Goodbye Amanda, Eva and Imogen, goodbye Tim, Bahaar, Ludvig and Vincent. You have been my sisters and my brothers here for almost two years, through the disagreements and tensions and laughter and tears I have grown to love you. Goodbye Israel, because I love you too though you drive me almost insane. Though your army in Gaza breaks my heart a hundred times everyday. Though your soldiers and checkpoints have reduced me to tears of anger, desperation, and deep sadness. Goodbye Israel and Aviva, Asaf, and Tamar, you are family to me and your home is my home. Goodbye darling Adomy, my lover and my friend. You have always been ready with a story, a cinnamon roll and a sweet kiss, to nurse me back into wholeness after weeks of the madness of life here. Goodbye Rachel and Assaf, my cousins. Your lives ‘on the other side’ are so very far from mine, but you have still opened you arms to me. Goodbye Jerusalem, goodbye Al Quds. No other city has moved me as you do and I will never recover from this first love of your pinks and greys, your sounds and smells, your soul. Goodbye beloved Gaza, goodbye Israel. Thank you for all that you have taught me, for all you have shared with me and for the grace and good humour you have shown to a young, naïve do-gooder. Goodbye and may you have justice. May you have justice and peace, the blossom of justice. 2001 Goodbye Vaughn Goodbye Vaughn, though those words stick in my throat. I have so many other things to say to you before I am ready to say goodbye. Like “Why?” and “Why?” and “Why?” Like “She loves you” and “We all love you”. So I won’t say goodbye. I can’t say good bye, years from now I will still not be ready to say goodbye to you. I watch my beloved sister grieve for you with an intensity and pain that I cannot bear even from where I sit, once removed. Goodbye Vaughn, though it is not your time. Goodbye sweet Vaughn, because although the words still stick in my throat it is time to let you have things your way. Goodbye. 2002-2005 The frequent flyer mile years. Goodbye Auckland, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Sydney. Goodbye Sydney, hello Darwin. Goodbye Darwin, hello Dili. Goodbye Dili, hello Darwin. Goodbye Darwin, hello Sydney. Goodbye Sydney, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Auckland. Goodbye Auckland, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Sydney. Goodbye Sydney, hello Darwin. Goodbye Darwin, hello Dili. Goodbye Dili, hello Darwin. Goodbye Darwin, hello Sydney. Goodbye Sydney, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Auckland. Goodbye Auckland, hello Bangkok. Goodbye Bangkok, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Christchurch. Goodbye Christchurch, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Santiago. Goodbye Santiago, hello Buenos Aires. Goodbye Buenos Aires, hello Sao Paulo. Goodbye Brazil, hello London. Goodbye London, hello Oslo. Goodbye Oslo, hello Amsterdam. Goodbye Amsterdam, hello Athens. Goodbye Athens, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Bangkok. Goodbye Bangkok, hello Tel Aviv. Goodbye Tel Aviv, hello Jerusalem. Goodbye Jerusalem, hello Ramallah. Goodbye Ramallah, hello Haifa. Goodbye Haifa, hello Tel Aviv. Goodbye Tel Aviv, hello Bangkok. Goodbye Bangkok, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Sydney. Goodbye Sydney, hello Darwin. Goodbye Darwin, hello Dili. Goodbye Dili, hello Darwin. Goodbye Darwin, hello Sydney. Goodbye Sydney, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Denpasar. Goodbye Bali, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Auckland. Goodbye Auckland, hello Wellington. Goodbye Wellington, hello Kabul.
My grandpa Archie
2005 Goodbye Grandpa Goodbye darling Grandpa, I wish I could have said this to you before you went. But I understand that you have been saying goodbye to me, to all of us, for months now. I knew it even then, when you squeezed me a little bit too hard, held my hand for a little bit too long, and looked me in the eye and told me again and again that you loved me. Goodbye Grandpa, I understand that you were ready. But do you understand that we were not, that we never ever would have been. Grandpa, can you believe that they have made me godmother of your namesake, little Archie? Goodbye beloved Grandpa, but please don’t stray to far from me, if this Archie is to be even a fraction of the man you were then I’m going to need all your wisdom to guide me and all of your love to pass on.
With my godson, Archie
2006 Goodbye Marc Goodbye beloved Marc, yes I’m going on this adventure for the both of us. I’ll be back soon to tell you all about it in person. It’s true, I don’t know if I will be able to bear being away from you while you set out on your journey to beat this cancer, to fight your way to the long, happy life that we both know will be yours. You know that I am only a phone call away and I’ll be on the first plane if those doctors start abusing your human rights again (if they steal your voice again, write me a note!). I’ll write you long and hopefully entertaining messages about life in Kabul to read when you are recovering from chemotherapy. Goodbye Marc, I promise I will even learn to sit still so that I can practice those healing meditations for you. Good bye my friend and my brother, see you soon. 2006 Goodbye Kabul Goodbye Kabul, goodbye new friends, new home, new job and new life. It seems I have barely settled in and yet here it is again, time to say goodbye. Goodbye Horia, my heroine, you have shown me what people mean when they talk about grace under fire. Goodbye brave Shinkai, you trusted me and gave me the chance to discover something new about myself. Goodbye Kate, Sarah, and Rachel. Goodbye Monday night yoga and Thursday night ladies’ drinks. Goodbye to my women of Kabul, you have cried and laughed with me, you have so quickly come to know me. Goodbye Timur, Kai, Tamim, Wagma, and Azma. You have shown me what hospitality should look like and you have taught me a little about growing up Afghan in America. Goodbye Jamie, Sarah, Jeremy and Scott. You have made me laugh when the pipes were frozen over and when it seemed the report would never get written. Goodbye Javier and Herman, you have taken me on as your housemate and made me feel like your star. Goodbye Nellika, you offered me a home away from home. Goodbye Norman and Mala, you offered me your doggy trust and helped me learn to be less afraid of all dogs in the process. Goodbye Mohammedullah, Shapour and Azim, you have endured having this strange and sometimes unpredictable Haraji as your manager with good humour and generosity. Goodbye my Kabul life and, deep breath, hello Herat.