Thursday, July 2, 2009

love, architecture, and rock n' roll

My iPod is stocked---MGMT, a whole lot of Tiesto, the Ataris album I was addicted to the last time I was in Iraq at the ripe age of 17, TV on the Radio, Rolling Stones discography, gotta have my Daft Punk, Killers, some Sinatra, and my boy Brother Ali. Not to mention enough indie to make me want to rock Baghdad nights in cowboy boots, pink jeans, and dreamcatcher necklaces...not good...but oh, so good. My iPhone is off. My Flickr is up and in use after an incredibly long hiatus. Baghdad, here I come.

Baghdad? Seriously? Victory! It took six years of the same run around before my mother finally agreed to allow me to go back home! I built my reputation as the wild child who would disappear in the middle of the night and take random strolls around Baghdad with perfect strangers. I was the one who gave her mother ulcers every summer due to an unquenched thirst for adventure in a land of dictatorship. I, the one who pleased her mother by fitting into the rural villages without electricity or infrastructure like a local, would reunite with my Iraq. War torn and tattered.
This is the first of many journeys to Baghdad in hopes of rebuilding. With the grace of the Frank Israel Memorial Scholarship, and with great thanks to my inspirational mentor (or semi-pro surfer, depending in which side of the waves you've seen him on) Professor Mitchell De Jarnett and the generous (and ultra cool, btw) Callas Shortridge Architects, I am a woman on a mission.
I intend to study construction materials and methods in Iraq. Focus: vernacular Iraqi architecture.

I must also thank the dedicated scholarship committee--Dr. Bricker, Dr. La Roche, and Professor Axel Schmitzberger--you are amazing!

So, hold onto your cowboy boots--I will be irockin' your world!

Layla Karim Shaikley

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