Monday, July 31, 2006

Where is this? - #3


Here's the third picture in the 'Where is this?' series. This one is much more difficult than the others. If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments.

The pictures for the game 'Where is this?' have all been taken from someplace in Libya and are in an area open to the public. The prize for the winner will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.

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I think alameen is the winner of round three of the Where is this? game. Congratulations!

The picture was taken by a friend of mine in the basement of a coffee shop (not sure of the name) that is in Zawyat Addahmani across from the Istanbul shawarma place (down the street from Hanna Wedding Salla) in an area called Zaglam.

Stay tuned for the next phase of Where is this? I've got another picture in my mind, but not yet in my camera. You'll have to wait and see what I come up with next.
;)

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Two new bloggers

I've got two new blogs to add to the list.

  • Teresa (Iman), a Mexican-American mother of seven who's married to a Libyan and lived here briefly in the 1990s.
  • Miryam from Malta has a blog called Random thoughts. Teacher, mother and Muslima, she's considering relocating to Libya with her Libyan husband.
They're both new to blogging. Go have a look and give them a warm welcome.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Where is this? - #2



This is the second picture in the 'Where is this?' series. Actually, I think this is another easy one. If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments.

The pictures for the game 'Where is this?' will all be taken from someplace in Libya and will be in an area open to the public. The prize will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.

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More than one of you had the correct answer, but A.Adam had it first, so he wins this round of the game. He said:

. . . this place is near to the Grand Hotel exatly infront of Shir'a Cafe and Restaurant "Maidan Al gazala." you can see the Post office in the picture and the Ancien cathedral.

I took the picture while standing next to the fountain in the middle of the Maidan Al Ghazala. While I took the picture a bus drove in front of me. Here's what it looks like without the bus:


It was another easy challenge. . . . next time I will make it a little more difficult! Holly did ask that I make a challenge from pictures of posts in my archive, so maybe I will do that too.
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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Update

I went to the hospital this morning around 10:15 and immediatly headed for the dental out-patient department to find out where Adam was. They told me to go downstairs to the theatre and check to see if he was there.

On the way I met Fatima, a former student who is a phamacist in the hospital. She took me straight past the gaurds and right to the operating room doors. She went inside and came out with the nurse in charge of the recovery room who informed me that they had just begun working on Adam and that she would keep me posted. They said I could wait there. I thanked Fatima and she went off, back to work.

I was only waiting a few minutes and along came another former student, a surgeon, and we chatted for a while and he told me he would make sure everything was being taken care of for Adam. Not long after that came another former student, also a surgeon. One more person to look after us. A bit later came another former student, not a doctor this time, a mechanical engineer, working with a private maintanence company at the hospital. It felt nice to be surrounded by people I knew.

Adam's surgery finished at 12:45 and he was moved to the recovery room. Out came my friend's daughter, Layla who is a dentist and wants to specialize in maxio-facial surgery. She had been observing Adam's surgery and informed me that all had gone well. The surgeon himself came to assure me that Adam was OK and left me in Layla's care. She told me that they had removed the teeth and in one instance had to remove a tooth on top to extract one that was below it and then they replanted the top one.

After about forty-five minutes in recovery they moved Adam to his room. I went up to settle him in. He didn't want me to dress him but he did let me clean up the blood that was running down his chin. I went to the nurses station and got some extra gauze so he could hold it next to his mouth. He's sharing a room with five other men who seemed quite nice. They said they would look after Adam. I thanked them and told them I was going home and his father would be there shortly.

It's been a busy morning, made less stressful by the helpful staff and my students at TMC. Mustafa has gone to be with Adam this afternoon and evening. Adam will probably come home tomorrow or the next day.

More medical stuff happening

Adam's big day with the maxio-facial surgeon is tomorrow. He's scheduled for surgery in the morning to remove five extra teeth. He has to spend tonight in the hospital.

He was told to come to the hospital at 9pm. In the morning he got up and packed his stuff in a plastic bag. I offered him a small overnight bag but he said 'No way!' and insisted that he just bring his stuff in a plastic bag. 'Ok, it's your stuff.' I told him. He took his bag and went to spend the day at  his grandmother's house. He told me, 'I will get myself to the hospital. Don't come to take me.'

Despite his wishes, I went to my mother in law's house in the evening to accompany him to the hospital. He didn't want me to take him, but I insisted he get in the car. I have been blessed with the most stuborn son! I stopped at a fast food place and told him to get us a couple of sandwiches and something to drink - maybe spending a bit of time together would calm him down and settle his nerves.

Then I stopped at a pharmacy and got him some nice strong painkillers. Having had lots of experience with hospitals and medical care here in Libya, I know the value of bringing your own analgesics! I told him to put them in his bag and if the doctors and nurses weren't giving him anything for pain to take it himself.

I can not for the life of me understand why Libyan doctors don't give their patients painkillers. I had a ceserean section when Ibrahim was born and they gave me absolutely NO painkillers - it felt like I had a f-ing blow torch going off in my abdomen! They kept telling me 'Sabr mama, sabr.' (patience mama, patience.) I have learned my lesson and make sure to bring my own!

We got to the parking lot of the hospital and Adam said I was not allowed to come with him inside. He told me not to visit him either - but I know he didn't really mean it because he made sure I knew what building and floor he would be on. 'OK.' I said, 'And hey! Don't forget what they say - Fi subha fi tubbi wa ashia ma Rabbi!' (In the morning at Tripoli Medical Centre and in the evening with the Lord) -  I drove off, leaving him in the parking lot.

He'll be fine handling things on his own, but I'll be at the hospital first thing in the morning to check up on him.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Where is this? - #1


I decided we all need to have a bit of fun and games. The game is called 'Where is this?' - I will post a picture of somewhere in Libya and if you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments. The pictures will all be taken from someplace in Libya and will be in an area open to the public. The prize will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.

So here is the first 'Where is this?' challenge. I made the first one super-easy!

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Aaaaahhhh! I made it way toooo easy! - Dania's mama Rima said it's the waiting area inside Tripoli Medical Center. Yes - it is. The area in the main entry hall. After she'd posted her guess in the comments Highlander also posted Tripoli Medical Center as her guess, and A.Akram sent me an IM with the same guess - IM's don't count! You've gotta use the comments. So the winner of this round of 'Where is this?' is Rima.

It was way too easy this time. . . the next round will be a bit more difficult. . .
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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Yusef was standing next to me today and we realized that we are the same height. He's growing up! By the end of summer he is sure to be taller than me. It's hard to believe that he's twelve. . . it seems like only yesterday that I was changing his diapers. hmmmm... I don't feel that old! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More blogs of interest

I've come across a few blogs of interest:

  • Sahara Travels - Another female on an adventure, Tanya Locks takes a trip through the Sahara.
I've also added them to my sidebar for future refference. I'll keep you updated on anything new I come across.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Yasmin



The other day I recieved a phone call from one of my friends announcing that her daughter had given birth to a girl. It was her first baby and they were having a 'sboah' in honor of the event.

When I first came to Libya seventeen years ago, 'sboahs' were quite different then they are nowadays - in those days the party began in the afternoon and finished a little after sunset. They served almond drink (rosata) with almond macaroons (ubumbar) and the traditional three glasses of tea with sweets. Then you got dinner - depending on the family or area it could be cous cous or rice. Some families served asida, which is a cooked dough served with honey or date syrup, or you might be served a kind of super-protein mixed bean and meat stew flavoured with fennugreek (called helba).Those days most women came wearing traditional Libyan dress.

Things are different now. The party is often held at a rented party hall and begins after sunset. Every table has it's own pot of tea so you can serve yourself. About the only thing that has remained the same is the almond drink and macaroons. Dinner is usually rice pilaf with about four different things on the plate such as savoury pasteries, stuffed green peppers, small individual lasagnas or quiche. These days they are adding western style potato salad made with mayonaise. It's rare to see anyone wearing traditional Libyan costume - the ladies all prefer to come wearing evening gowns.



At every party you get some kind of party favour - this time it was cute little baskets with stuffed animals and a peice of chocolate tucked inside.

It had been a long day for me. I came home from work and got ready to go to the party. I took Jenna with me and I picked up a friend of mine and her daughter. We had a nice time. The music was traditional Libyan zimzamat and they would play two songs and then stop for a while so the ladies could chat and then start back up again. That's so much better than non-stop modern music that is usually played at these events. Still, I didn't get much time to visit with my friend and the new mother so hopefully next week I will go to their house for a visit. That way I can hold little Yasmin too. - oooh she's soooo sweet! Masha'allah! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 22, 2006

the park



This evening we went to the park. There aren't very many parks near where I live. Actually there was an area that was designated as a future park but someone got sneaky and managed to get the land to build houses on it. It would have been nice if it had been turned into a park because it was just around the corner. Now if we want to go to the park we have to drive to one.



Ibrahim had fun on the bridge and going down the slide. The equipment at this particular park is a bit meager. The park at the zoo is better but then it's also more crowded.



There were some boys kicking a football about and a few small children on tricycles and bikes. But for the most part it was pretty quiet. On the way home we got stuck in traffic. It seemed like everyone was out driving around. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 21, 2006

Praying

There's going to be a demonstration today in The Green Square. I got an email from the US Embassy warning all US citizens to avoid being in the area. I asked Mustafa if I could go and he said 'No!' - he outweighs the embassy I'm afraid. Had he said yes, I would have gone despite the warning from the embassy.

I think what is happening in Lebanon is appalling - what is worse is the US government's stand on the subject. But at the same time I am not glued to the TV watching the massacre of innocent people (including children). I must admit that I cannot bear to watch it.

On the other hand, my husband has become a sofa warrior. He's been watching the events unfold in our living room. He's not in a good mood, crabbing and complaining about everything. All his watching of the news is not accomplishing anything. He sits for hours in the same spot, staring at the TV screen, holding the remote control tightly in his hand.

Last night I took Sara to visit my mother in law. My sister in laws were all sitting downstairs in the garden drinking tea as usual. 'Where's Mustafa?' my mother in law asked. 'We haven't seen him in ages.' 'He's glued to the TV.' I replied. My sister in laws wanted to know what was on TV that was so interesting. When I said he was watching the events unfold in Lebanon they only vaguely had an idea what I was talking about. In their sheltered world of gossip, kids and household chores they are oblivious to what happens in the world around them.

There is not much more I can do but pray!

Keep Libya Beautiful

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Should I change my template?

I've been looking at my blog today. Usually I use Firefox and my blog looks fine when I use Firefox but today I was using Internet Explorer and I noticed that the sidebar is out of place, getting moved to the bottom somehow. I think it has something to do with the width of the pictures I've posted. I'll have to post smaller pics in the future (or you could all switch to Firefox and save me the trouble).

Once in a while I look at my blog and feel like changing things. I've thought about changing the entire template and layout, but when I look at other templates I don't like any of them and I really am not that disastisfied with the way mine looks that I want to spend time creating my own template.

I think it's one of those stages you go through once in a while. You know, once in a while you get in the mood to rearrange the furniture or something and it seems to take forever to get it just the way you want it. I probably should go clean out a closet or something to get myself over this weird rearranging mood I'm in (I'm sure the husband will be thrilled to have more space).

Better to attack the closet then mess up my template. . . sigh . . . certainly not as much fun though. . . sigh . . .

Links.... the list keeps growing!

I've stumbled across some interesting blogs and thought I would tell you about them.

Aladdin of Tripoli is a student at a private uni here in Tripoli who started a blog to improve his writing skills. Keep posting Aladdin - I enjoy reading!

The Sultan says his location is Kuwait, but he in fact is here in Tripoli having a good time trying to get the perfect shot with his camera.

Prince Ali is new in town and plans to be here for a while. His blog is a chronicle of his life and work. It's a nice look at the life of an ex-pat who's hoping to get a digital camera in the near future to add pictures of his time here to his blog. Please Ali - get a camera!

I've added the blogs to the list on my sidebar and also added a catagory for Libya searches that covers what Google has to offer as well as a few other searches. I looked at my list of links and I'm amazed at how it's growing. I really need to organize it better, maybe make different catagories or something. I always just add the latest to the bottom of the list so it's not in alphabetical order. . . maybe someday when I can sit down for more than a few minutes I will sort it all out. In the meantime you'll just have to put up with my mixed up list of links.

Friday, July 14, 2006

An Afternoon in Sabratha



The last few weeks have been really busy ones. Running back and forth to doctors etc. Today we had a nice break in routine. My husband's cousin came for a visit to Libya with his wife (not Libyan) and children. They come every year but amazingly they've never visited Sabratha, so we decided it was time to take them for an afternoon exploring Sabratha.

We started out about 9:30 am and stopped for the morning and lunch at my sister in law's house, as she lives along the way. Then after lunch of traditional Libyan cous cous, we set off for Sabratha.

I've been to Sabratha many times and this time I decided to try to focus on one aspect. I wasn't sure what it would be and thought I would choose when I got there. Our first stop was the museum which houses some of the mosaics and artifacts taken from the Christian basilica.



Huge mosaics are displayed along the walls of the museum.



I think that the museum is supposed to be pretty much a replica of the basilica. On one side is a staircase that leads to a viewing platform so that you can look down and see the mosaic that covers the floor.



Unfortunately there are very few signs posted telling you about anything. My interpretation of the floor mosaic is that it's a representation of the tree of life with many kinds of birds and flowers interwoven into a branch design, possibly a grapevine.



This is the bottom corner of the floor mosaic. Grapes and grapeleaves with different kinds of birds. I don't think peacocks are native to Libya so I don't think that the birds in the mosaic represent native species.



Another look at the floor mosaic in the museum.



Another corner of the floor in the museum. I think that this is from a different mosaic because the style is not the same as the bird/vine mosaic. One of the problems with Sabratha is the lack of information. There are some signs posted but they are not informative enough.



The weather was beautiful. We headed toward the sea.



Around the site there are signs posted in both Enlish and Arabic. This was somewhat useless as there wasn't anymore information posted and the site itself is large, with twists and turns along the way. It would really be useful if they could put some small information kiosks with maps in different locations, with a 'You Are Here' symbol so you know where you are and what you are looking at.



We had small children with us and we had to constantly watch out for them. There are many wells scattered about the site, many have bars covering them, but more often then not, they've been left open. You really need to pay attention. I think this sign isn't meant for the wells but for the reconstrucion work on the many mosaics that are open to the elements.



I noticed two areas that were designated as public baths. Both had beautiful mosaics. This mosaic is from the baths near the sea that are near the Olive Oil Press Road. There were lots of pottery shards scattered throughout this area, most probably from the amphorae that were used to store oil.



The second public baths area I found was the Theatre Baths which are next to the theatre of course. This area is full of mosaics too.



Another mosaic from the Theatre Baths. Libyans make a traditional covers for dishes that are woven out of palm fronds and the design of this mosaic reminded me of these. || Posted by Picasa


Another view from the Theatre Baths.



More from the Theatre Baths. There has been some restoration work on these mosaics but they are open to the elements and something more needs to be done to try to preserve them, especially if we get an influx of tourists to Libya.



This was unusual as it looks so haphazard, most of the mosaics are very planned and this one wasn't.



Next stop. . . The Theatre. Visiting the theatre is a must!



Detail at the theatre.



It was getting late and we had the long drive home. I took this picture as Sara was calling out 'Hey Mom! We're going to leave now!' So I pulled myself back into the year 2006 and we headed for home.

[Click on the images to see them larger. ] Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 10, 2006

We wait

I got up this morning and asked Adam if I could be the one to take him to the clinic to have his stitches removed and he said 'No way! Just give me money for the taxi.'

OK, he's being independent. I respected his wishes and gave him money to cover the taxi fare. Off he went and I heard nothing from him for hours. At about noon I asked Yusef if he wanted to go with me to run a few errands and he was more than happy to jump in the car with me. When we got home there was still no word from Adam and I was getting a bit worried.

Finally he came in, slamming the door behind him. No hello, just marched into his room. I did notice that he still had a bandage. After a while he came out and I asked him what happened but he didn't want to talk about it. A 'man' with an attitude! - well to heck with him!

After I came home from work I found him watching TV and asked him what was up. He was upset because they hadn't removed the stitches. He'll have to wait until Thursday. I said 'Oh Adam, don't worry Thursday will be here before you know it.' and I leaned over to give him a kiss on the cheek. He moved his head back quickly, avoiding my kiss and said, 'You can kiss me at the airport when I leave to go to the US!'

Slow Journey South


I have another female adventurer with a blog to tell you about today. Paula Constant, an Australian who's been residing in England for the past five years, set out to walk to South Africa with her husband Gary in August 2004. They trecked across Europe and reached Morocco and then hired camels and guides and began their journey across the Sahara.

Paula's husband dropped out near the Mauritanian border and Paula continued on her walk for another six months having manged to make it through 2,500 KM of the desert. She's returning in September to try again and plans to walk through Mali, Niger, Chad, Libya and Egypt on her way through Africa. She's writing a book about her experience titled 'Slow Journey South'.

Click on the image or on this link to visit her blog: http://constanttrek.typepad.com/constanttrek/ Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I survived torture today

Work was light today as most students had skipped class to be in front of the TV watching the football match. I had expected it and had some activities that the die-hard students could keep busy with, and while they where busy I slipped away for a few minutes to go have my stitches removed. It was torture and I stopped counting at about 35. I think counting each stitch just made it all seem worse than it really was. Thankfully I survived and went back to work - keeping busy kept me from dwelling on the event.

Tomorrow Adam has an appointment to have his stitches removed. He's really excited about it. The next thing on the agenda will be to buy him a ticket to the US. We plan on sending him to spend the rest of the summer with my family. He'll be travelling alone but I'll probably go toward the end of summer to pick him up and bring him home. This will be the first time that he ever travels by himself and we're hoping he won't run into any problems. Not only will he have three different connections to make and most likely an overnight at one of the stopovers, he's a Libyan/Muslim/Arab male - Anything can happen.

Gotta be optimistic and hope for the best. . . gonna send my baby out into the world!!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Girl Solo in Arabia


This is a very nice blog! - Girl Solo in Arabia is a blog by Carolyn McIntyre who's travelling from the Moroccan City of Tangiers on the Atlantic Coast of Africa through 47 different countries as she attempts to recreate an epic journey made 700 years ago by the famed Islamic scholar and traveler Ibn Battuta. Click on the image above or on this link: http://girlsoloinarabia.typepad.com/girl_solo_in_arabia/libya/index.html Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

School days, school days....

I read this today in the AngolaPress: The League of Arab school-teachers in Libya has called its members to exert more efforts toward accomplishment of the educational objectives of the League. - Basically what they are saying is that teachers in Libya are being told to enhance their performance.

When I came to Libya 17 years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. One of my main worries even from the embryo has always been 'What on earth am I going to do to educate any children I might have in Libya?' Good question! I am still trying to figure it out!

When Adam reached the age where he would begin school we seriously thought about putting him in Tripoli College, which officially has some other weird propaganda name, but is always referred to by everyone simply as Tripoli College. Its curriculum is in English and was for years basically the only English curriculum school that most expats sent their kids to besides the Oil Company School (OCS). Recently more schools have opened up whose focus is educating expat kids or those with tons of money to spend on tuition. We thought good and hard about sending Adam there, but in the end we decided against it and sent him, and the rest of the kids, to regular Libyan government run schools.

Why? For many reasons, first is that even though I'm American and a native English speaker, my kid's native language is Arabic. Though we speak English in our home, often we speak Arabic too, and all around them they are surrounded by Arabic and Libyan culture. We didn't want to mess up their identity by sending them to a school full of foreign kids, with foreign ideas, who would be just passing through their lives as soon as their parent's work contracts finished. Arabic language and an Arabic/Libyan identity were too important. We wanted the kids to have that stability.

Another reason for enrolling the children in Libyan public schools is the 'wasta factor'. Wasta, the Libyan term meaning connections, is extremely important in the day to day life of all Libyans. You need the right wasta (connections) to accomplish many things here and wasta is something that you have to obtain throughout your life. Often times my husband will go somewhere to get something done (paperwork, licenses, healthcare, etc.) and be helped out by someone that he grew up with or attended primary school with, etc. The net of connections are not just those related to you, they can be friends, neighbours, old classmates or people you work with, past and present. We thought that by putting our kids in schools intended for foreign workers we would be denying our kids possible wasta they might need to get through their lives.

Actually, we did dabble a bit in the Libyan private school sector but we soon gave up and put them in public schools as we discovered it was just a waste of money. We found that these schools were being run as money making businesses and not as places of education.

Libyan school systems have a major disaster on their hands when it comes to English. At one point English was removed completely from the curriculum and that in my opinion was a huge mistake. They are trying to correct this, but I have serious doubts that there will be any improvements in the near future. Not only are the textbooks a disaster (with errors on every single page of the new course book for elementary school students) they are also lacking in teachers to teach this subject. It's a huge dilemma - they didn't teach English for years so they weren't training anyone who could teach future generations. Forget grammar, my daughter's English teacher didn't even know the alphabet!

Some say having private language institutes is the answer. I work in a private institute, and yes, it is one way for Libyans to learn the language or improve their capabilities, but the majority of Libyans can't afford to pay to take courses and Libyans who live in smaller towns or outlying areas most likely won't have the opportunity. Here too, is a shortage of teachers.

Learning English is one of the problems Libyan students face, but they have major obstacles in other areas too. Mostly it's having teachers that just simply don't care. They are often absent, and when they are present are seldom prepared to give a proper lesson. Being a school teacher is just a way for a housewife to make a bit of pocket money and get out of the house for a few hours everyday. There are those few who care about their work, but they are too few to make the difference.

Exams are basically a farce - my kids say the teachers usually walk around giving the students the answers, allowing all forms of cheating. Creating exams is an art in itself and it's clearly evident from looking at my kid's exam papers that most teachers don't even have a clue about how to write a proper exam.

Another reason we chose Libyan schools was for tertiary education. Upon graduation from the English curriculum schools what would we do about university? They obviously wouldn't have enough Arabic to be able to attend Libyan university so we would have the added worry about how to manage to send the kids abroad to finish their studies. This would work (provided we could afford it) for the boys, but would not be an option for the girls as in Libya girls don't just go off by themselves, out into the world. Some do travel abroad, but for the most part it just is not done.

My oldest child is still in high school so we're gearing ourselves up to face university in a few years. University students face many problems (that's a whole book itself), but with all the trials and tribulations that make up the education of Libyans, for those who apply themselves there are rewards. Libya for instance, has tuition-free university. How many places in the world offer this to their citizens? I personally come into contact on a regular basis with Libyan university graduates who have opportunities to further their education abroad at the expense of the government or the companies they work for. Many use this as the chance to immigrate to other countries, but many Libyans return to share their acquired knowledge.

It will be years before my children are finished with their education, and I suppose I will worry about their offspring's education as well. One thing that I often remind them is that 'You can have your house taken away from you, your money stolen or lose your possessions, but once you put something inside your brain it's very hard to take it away. Keep studying and working on obtaining knowledge!'

It's true, Libyan teachers need to enhance their performance if they expect Libya to advance. Just how they will do it and how long it will take are the big questions.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back to 'normal'

I stayed home from work yesterday getting my dose of the stomach virus, but I woke up this morning feeling perfectly fine. So now the only one left that hasn't had it is Jenna. I hope it passes her by.

Adam had surgery on his forhead to have a cyst removed. It was outpatient surgery and he came home directly after it was over. So now I have to spoil him and make him feel like the prince of the palace - plumping up his pillows and making sure he has juice and junk food. Of course he has total control over the remote contol too.

I took pictures of him to send to his aunt Kris (who is a nurse) but I was only allowed permission to take his picture on the condition that I wouldn't put them on the blog. So I won't - but I'll tell you about him and you can use your imagination. - - He's got a bandage wrapped all round the top of his head - looks like a big lump of gauze over the insision site and he's got a drain stuck in there. His eyes are slowly turning black and blue and he's got some swelling too. He's got to go back to have the bandages changed on Thursday. He's in a little pain but he's taking Ibuprofin and also antibiotics.

Adam came home from the hospital about half an hour before I left to go to work. I had the girls with me because Jenna and Sara are both taking English courses and Nora is working as the assistant to the teacher that works with the small children. Getting into the car is always a nightmare.

Nora: Where's my mobile?
Sara: You left it upstairs.
Jenna: I don't want to open the gate!
Nora: Sara ! You pig! Why did you leave it upstairs!
Me: Get out and open the #@!%$ gate!
Nora: Sara! Go up and get the mobile!
Sara: No way!
Nora: Ewe - this CD is awful!
Me: Open the gate! Nora you have one minute to get your phone!
Sara: laughing as she hangs into the front seat to try to change the CD
Jenna: It's hot! Turn the air conditioner on high!
Me: Jenna open the gate! Nora! Phone now! If I have to open the gate myself I will leave you all home!
Jenna: gets out of the car to open the gate while complaining about the heat
Nora: slams the car door while she goes to get the phone
Sara: trying to change the CD
Me: Slapping Sara's hand, turning up the AC and putting the car in reverse - all at the same time

I get to the end of the drive way and that's when we realise I've run over one of the kittens!

The girls all jump out of the car to investigate and start crying. I feel awful, but I know we're going to be late so I start shouting: Don't look! Get in the car!

Uuuugh!!! I feel awful!!! But what can I do???

The rest of the day went smoothly. When we got home the kitten had been 'taken care of' by the boys. They thought smooshed kitten was just soooooo neat! I will spare you that dialogue . . . . uuugh!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Still here

I've been going crazy, cooped up in the house recuperating. The weather has been awful, even with the airconditioner running 24/7 it still feels hot.

Of course having both legs wrapped in tight elastic bandages from my toes to the tops of my thighs isn't helping. This morning I could stand it no longer and removed the bandages that were encasing my feet, so from ankle downward I feel free. Painwise, I am doing OK, as long as I don't stand in one place too long. But the doctors orders were walking but no standing so that is what I've been doing.

Meanwhile there's a stomach virus going around and one by one my family is coming down with it. Thankfully it seems to only last about 24 hours. So far Jenna and I have been spared but since Jenna decided to take the biggest cereal bowl in the kitchen and fill it to the brim with corn-flakes and sit down an stuff herself, I am sure she will be next to become sick. I have already warned her that if she barfs cornflakes on the furniture or carpet that I will smack her! Common sense has always told me that when there is a stomach virus going around the family that you automatically cut back on what you're eating because you may be next!

Since I was going a bit stir crazy, Mustafa said I could go along with him while he filled up the drinking water bottles. The air in my house seemed hot with the air conditioner running but it was much hotter outside and the air seemed so thick you could almost take a bite out of it. Smog, dust and the smell of rotting garbage and sewage are the smells of Tripoli in the summer. The only nice smells come from the night blooming jasmine (fell), but someone had already picked what we have in the garden. . . sigh. . .

After filling up the water bottles we stopped to check on my mother in law. She's sick with the stomach virus too but insists that she has low blood sugar. 'Did the doctor say you have low blood sugar, Hajja?' I asked her. 'No, but I know I have it. I can just tell. I've got some medicine for it and it makes me feel better.' she replied.

She went in her room and came back with a plastic bag full of all different kinds of pills in strips and boxes. She showed me what she was taking for the so called low blood sugar she was having. It was antibiotics and antihistamines. 'Who gave you these?' I asked. 'This is what Ismael uses for his low blood sugar.' she said. I just sighed. . . Ismael is my brother in law - someone who never even made it to high school. Why he would take these tablets and give them to his mother? And does he have low blood sugar? Or is he just diagnosing himself too? . . . sigh . . .

I told her not to take the pills and check with the doctor. 'Hajja, Ismael is not a doctor.' Experience tells me that she will not pay any attention to any advice I have to offer so I will mind my own business and keep quiet.

Tomorrow I will go back to work. I also have an appointment to have my bandages changed. I will be happy to be getting back to a normal routine again.

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