26 years old
This past week has been full of ups and downs, a normal occurrence in Kabul. However this week was extraordinary in many ways. This week I turned 26 years old. And this week a friend of mine was killed whilst doing what she loved in Afghanistan.
On 2nd August 2010, I had the most lovely party with flowing champagne and watermelon cocktails. I was surrounded by people you only ever dream of meeting. The sort of people that inspire you from a single conversation. The type of people that have a story, a journey that has brought them to Kabul. Kabul is what unites us is this crazy world. Kabul, a city full of love, frustration, hate, war, passion and peace all at once. And so people come together and meet.
My birthday toast was short, and I know I forgot many thank yous, so I decided to rewrite it, knowing what I know now about the shortness of life and the gift we all have. The rewrite would have gone something like this:
"I thank you all for being here, it is so great to see so many amazing people in one room. The is the best semi-surprise party I have ever had!
First of all thank you Stephane who brought all of you together and made this day so special. You really have outdone anything that I could have imagined.
Second of all thank you to Eric Davin whose play list has kept Kabul dancing over the years.
It has been 8 months since I arrived in Kabul, and it has been full of ups and downs. For all of us here, Kabul is an emotional place. There are days when we laugh with joy and toast proudly to being in Kabul, doing something, making a difference, being a part of history. There are also days where the war gets to you, the horrors of the country become apparent, there is no longer a silver lining to the conflict.
I remember one of my first nights in Kabul, I was taken to a party where I saw a guy on the dance floor busting some crazy moves. I thought to myself, “where the hell have I ended up!”. I am now proud to say that guy is a good friend on mine. Sam French, an inspirational film maker, with more energy than most people I know have put together. He is the epitome of Kabul. Unforgettable.
You all here today are here because you affected me. You had an impact. The people that matter in this world are the people who make an impact, those that make a difference to the world. And you all here have done that in your lives and to my life.
Someone recently told me that 26 was the best year of their lives. 25 was a pretty spectacular year for me, so it’s going to be hard to beat.
So I challenge you all right now....Let’s make this the best year of our lives!"
This blog is dedicated to Dr. Karen Woo, a friend and most of all an inspiration. Let us all take a piece of her and carry her legacy forward. Be extraordinary at all times.