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Friday, May 28, 2010


Hi, friends, from Sulaymaniyah.

As you know from my last two posts, I started my Preemptive Love Coalition internship a few days late. (Thanks, Delta.) Tuesday was my first day; Wednesday was my first day in the office.

I love it.


Last semester in Dr. Allison's World Lit. class, we read excerpts from 1001 Nights. The overarching story is about King Shahryar, who after he learns that his wife has been cheating on him and his sister-in-law has been cheating on his brother, decides to marry a new woman every night, sleep with her, then kill her in the morning. That way no woman could deceive him.

The daughter of Shahryar's vizier, Shaherazade, devises a plan in order to save the women of her village. She asks to marry the king, but before the king falls asleep, she tells him a story. Each story has a hidden message, about mercy - what the king was unwilling to show his virgin wives.

As dawn approaches, Shaherazade ends with a cliffhanger, enticing enough to keep her alive until she can finish the story. Every night this happens; Shaherazade tells stories within stories within stories to keep the king's interest.

And through this she wins King Shahryar's trust and keeps herself alive.

Jeremy told this story the first day in the office, comparing Shaherazade to us.

As Preemptive Love interns, as marketers, storytellers, representatives, etc. we need to tell a story that's going to keep our audience enticed, like King Shahryar. We're not meant to throw a message at someone and expect them to be instantly moved with compassion. We aren't an infomercial offering something people don't want.

We need to "get permission" first. We need to build relationships; we need to tells stories.

I want to invite you all on this journey with me. I want you to fall in love with Preemptive Love, just like me, but I don't want to shove it in your faces. Come along with me. Read my stories. Look at pictures. Read stories on the PLC blog.

And maybe like Shahryar these stories will change your heart and you'll be filled with compassion. Maybe you'll want to donate money or your time or resources to this organization.

I hope so.


I'm trying to figure out why I'm here.

I know I fell in love with Preemptive Love's mission statement in the middle of Dr. Perry's radio production class, during a "break up" with a previous ambition, at the brink of a season of doubt.

But I never felt "called" here ... not in the way I thought people should be called. I remember talking to my roommate Lindsey in January, telling her about this internship and how Mom wasn't cool about it, but how I wanted to do it anyway, and that I wasn't getting a "clear sign" from God.

And then I stopped believing that God calls people the way he had in I Samuel, or in the rest of the Bible. He doesn't speak audibly. He isn't so blatantly obvious about anything.

I never felt called here, but I feel at home. I think of Wendell Berry's character who says, "Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there." I was led, but not in the way I wanted to be led.

Back in December when I read about Preemptive Love Coalition, nothing magically fell into place. It wasn't easy getting my mom on board. It wasn't easy to get my sister and my dad on board either. It was hard figuring out how to apply for a loan, and to write an internship proposal to Dr. Turcott, and fill out my internship app. with PLC.

I spent most of second semester nervous and sick to my stomach and crying all over Mollykins.

Good stories must be fought for. They don't just come. At least, not usually.

"I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. ... I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by the way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I have deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led - make of that what you will." Jayber Crow, p. 133


Last night the interns and I went to a party for an ESL class Claire and Preston will start teaching. (Thursdays are Friday nights in Kurdistan; Friday, not Sunday, is the Muslim holy day.)

On the way there, our taxi dropped half of us off at the wrong location. Preston, Alex, Sophie and I wandered around downtown Suly looking for the Life Center, unsuccessfully. We ended up hailing another taxi and driving across town to the right location. Total cost: 7,000 dinar for two taxis on the way there. The first guy over charged us.

At the Life Center, the room was filled with both Americans and Kurds. Sophie and I pulled a chair up next to Lydia, Claire and the two couples they were talking to.

We learned that Zeba and her husband are kitchen interior designers and the other two were both teachers. We talked two Zeba about how she met her husband (he taught her how to rock climb) and how he asked Zeba's mother permission to marry her.

Zeba's going to do our makeup and bake us cake.

We met Van, a university student who's my age. She's spoken English her whole life, and her brother Ahmad is in Claire's class.

After talking and eating Kurdish food - they wrap rice in pickled leaves, weird! - we danced. I like Kurdish dancing because I cannot dance otherwise. Not very well, anyway. Elise, one of the Americans, told us that the key to Kurdish dancing is moving your shoulders. I can do that. You hold hands and do a foot-shuffle thing in a circle.

After the party, we went home and six of us interns stayed up until 1 a.m. playing Scrabble (Go Team Gingers!). Then bed. Then we slept in.


Stay connected with PLC on Facebook. (The interns are posting lots of pictures!!)

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