Friday, September 30, 2005

PhotoFriday - darkness

PhotoFriday - darkness

A little over a year ago my sister-in-law died of heart attack. It was sudden and unexpected. Her husband was devestated as he was so devoted to her - he was Amna's shadow - where Amna went Mohamed followed. So it was such a shock to the family that he married soon after her death. The marriage didn't last long though as the woman could not replace Amna in Mohamed's heart. He decided to try again and got married yesterday.

This is a picture of Mohamed and my husband having a serious discussion in the darkness. I was waiting in the car and took the picture because I liked the way the light looked. The picture was taken not long after he sent the first replacement for Amna back to her family. The whole situation makes me feel a bit sad. He will never be able to replace Amna - I wonder how long it will take him to realise that, and how many women's lives he will mess up in the process.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Coming soon to a kitchen near you!

Ramadan will begin next week - an Islamic holy month dedicated to fasting and worship. Unfortunately women spend most of their days fasting in the kitchen preparing a huge meal to be eaten at sunset. I found this picture on a blog called Lightning Studio - a blog dedicated to the daily drawings and paintings by Marshall Hopkins (go check it out - his stuff is really nice!). It really represents what will be happening in my kitchen for about a month.

I'm taking the month off work to spend the time with my family. Hopefully we'll get out and see a bit of the countryside during the month as I usually try to prepare enough food to last two days. So one day in the kitchen and one day out. My camera is still on the blink - I'm hoping to get another cheaper one to use until I get it fixed. So hopefully you'll see some pictures of what's going on in my life during Ramadan. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 24, 2005

PhotoFriday - Burn

PhotoFriday - Burn

We had a nice sized pile of tree cuttings accumulated a while ago that we decided to burn. There were some pine cuttings in the pile and they always seem to make the fire burn very hot. Why do people find fire so fascinating to watch? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

School - the kids & me

The kids have settled down in school finally.

Ibrahim is still not 'into' the idea of doing his homework yet and I'm not sure he really likes the idea of sitting in a desk in a classroom for hours and hours everyday, but God willing he will make it somehow. It is so hard for him to sit still and I know it won't be long before we have complaints from the school. I told Mustafa to get Ibi to the doctor and see if he can be put on some kind of medication to settle him down BEFORE a disaster occurs. But as usual - the 'balah wasah', take life ever so slowly attitude still prevails. I've decided to leave Ibrahim to his father to sort out because I'm at my wits end with that boy - eventually his father will get the idea.

Jenna being the perfectionist that she is spends hours and hours on her homework getting it 'just right'. She's going to school in the afternoon again this year (along with Ibi) but she insists to be woken up at seven every morning so she can work on her homework. She's the only one of the kids that does this. It's nice that she always wants to be the best at everything, but it can be annoying, especially when she is so dissatisfied with her homework that she writes it and then re-writes it and then does it again too. It's got to be no less than perfect!

Sara, sweet Sara - She's repeating the year because she didn't pass her final exams the first time around last year and I refused to let her take the re-sit exams. She was pretty pissed off about it for a while but so far since school started she is doing pretty well. I think she feels a bit more confident. She also started wearing hijab this year and is beginning to discover herself. I'm looking forward to seeing how she does this year - I think her attitude towards school is improving.

Yusef is off to a good start. He comes in from school and sets down to working on his homework right away. He's the middle son and I place a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He's the one that does all the run and fetch from the supermarket and has the job of taking out the garbage and changing the cat's box. So far this year we haven't heard about any girlfriends - last year he had about six of them, including a girl that was 3 years older than he was! He's 11 now. I'm wondering what will happen a few years down the road. It's all cute now - I will probably be singing a different tune then.

Last year Nora was in the first year of general science. They have this idea of specialized high schools here in Libya. The kids basically have to choose what they want to do from the time they are 14 - an impossible task! Anyway, Nora decides this year that she hated general science and wanted to try out social science. She convinced her father to move her to another school and in doing so has to begin all over again - this means she has lost a year! But she is sure she wants this. I told her 'No more changes!'

Adam is fine as usual. Off to school - does his own thing. He was top of the school last year. I only worry about his grumpy and tough attitude. The chip that he always seems to carry on his shoulder. I keep telling him it's way too heavy to keep that chip there. Oh well, it's probably hereditary cause he acts just like his uncle (the Libyan one).

As for me, I will make it through this school year. I always do. I just keep looking in the mirror to see if I can spot any grey hairs. So far there aren't any so I guess I must be doing just fine!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Solar Eclipse - coming soon!

Solar Eclipse . . .

On October 3rd there is going to be an annular solar eclipse that will be seen in Libya. It will last for 4 minutes and 23rd seconds. An eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun. Libya's last annular eclipse was in 29th April 1976. It lasted for six minutes and 41 seconds.

This year's eclipse will occur one day before the beginning of the month of Ramadan. Six months later Libya will cast into darkness when a total eclipse would be visible in the skies. On 29 March 2006, a total eclipse will be visible from north and central Africa, Turkey and southern Russia, ending at sunset in western Mongolia. A partial eclipse will be seen across the northern two-thirds of Africa, central Asia and Europe.

I'm looking forward to seeing the event. When I was growing up my father always made sure we watched all the eclipses and he bought us a telescope so we could watch the night sky. It was always lots of fun and we ended up with all the neighbour kids at our house.
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Monday, September 12, 2005

Libyan cat story

Here's an interesting Libyan cat story I found. Click on the picture to see the site. Posted by Picasa

A year

It's been a year since I started this blog. The time has flown by so quickly and looking back at the archives I see how big my kids have gotten in just a year.

It is really amazing, but at the same time life is still somewhat the same as it was a year ago:
  • Construction on the house is still underway - progress is being made so slowly.
  • The kids are beginning a new school year - all the same headaches with that - buying school supplies, uniforms, new shoes. The change in routine to get used to. Homework and remembering to set the alarm clock.

But then again there have been lots of changes. I wonder what the next year will bring?

Evidence that America has invaded Libya! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2005


Now I can honestly say that I know the true meaning of the word mortified. What happened you ask? Well, of course it involved Ibrahim - that would only make sense.

We've been out shopping for school supplies and all the fun stuff that goes with it. This means having to take out the kids into the general public. I do my best to avoid that. When you have 6 kids and they are all very close together in age it can be difficult to keep them all under control - it's like being out on a class field trip (there is a reason that schools only do one or two of those every year).

Ibrahim is wild in the stores. He does all kinds of crazy things and is extremely hard to control. I am used to having to pay for things he has broken and spend most of the time apologizing profusely to shop keepers. It is hard to remain patient with him and usually I end up going home without buying anything (except for the things he has broken) because I spend more time worrying over Ibrahim and there isn't any time to concentrate on buying anything.

This time was different though. He didn't break anything - but he did climb into a display window and nearly fall out it, a drop of two stories. No, Ibrahim decided that it was time to nearly give his poor mother heart failure once and for all.

While we were shopping he decided he was bored and saw a nice man looking at him. I'm sure the man thought he must have looked cute or something - a nice little blond haired boy out shopping with his ajnabiyah (foriegn) mother. The man stuck his hand out to shake little Ibrahim's hand and he said 'Kay falek?' (How are you?).

Ibrahim just looked at him and said 'I'm fine.' - but then he added, 'Kay fal fatultik bad al ameliah?' (How's your penis since the operation?).

Shock! Pure shock on the poor man's face!

I didn't quite know what to do so I decided to pretend I didn't know what Ibrahim had said. But I was totally mortified. What will this boy do next?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

School days

Yes, it's that time of year again. School started yesterday for elementary and middle school kids. I got four of my kids dressed up and sent them off with their father. A while later Mustafa came back with Jenna and Ibrahim. He said they would have to go in the afternoon.

I had been hoping to get all the kids in school in the morning this year. I hate this schedule. Hopefully the school will decide to open up a 1st and 4th grade class in the morning and then I will switch them to it. In the meantime I have the headache of constantly having kids either coming or going to school and the fight of getting the ones that go in the afternoon to do their homework in the morning (while I am trying to get housework etc. done). It seems like a never ending cycle.

Last night we dragged the kids out to buy their uniforms and shoes and let them pick out their backpacks. It was the usual push and shove. I hate every minute of it and finally told Mustafa I trusted his choice and went and sat in the car. Pure anxiety! Makes me appreciate how lucky I am to be either in my home or at work. Shopping in Libya is the pits!

Adam and Nora don't start school for another two weeks. They already have their uniforms and backpacks etc. At any rate I don't have to deal with their school problems at all - that is stricktly Mustafa's territory.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Jenna playing in the sand - near Jadu, Libya. Posted by Picasa

3 new blogs

Three new blogs to share - two of them where brought to my attention by Highlander - thanks and one is someone I know who isn't Libyan but lives here, actually was born here. Have a look.

Sameer is here at a blog called Heart Rules the World

Tyeness is here at a blog called Dunia

And Hibo at a blog called Lovelytripoli

Thursday, September 01, 2005


We went to Nalut as planned today. We took half the kids with - Sara, Yusef and Jenna. We should have left Jenna at her grandmothers as she was noisy most of the time and annoying. Sara and Yusef have always been good travelers, partly because they enjoy it but also because the seldom fight or argue with each other.

The camera still needs to go into the shop to get cleaned but I did manage to get a few pictures - mind they have smudges on them.

Nalut is in the east of Libya nearly 300 kilometers from Tripoli. There are two roads that you can take to get out there so we decided to take one on the way and the other one for the return trip. The weather was changeable. When we approached Gharian it began to pour and Mustafa said he thought we should pull over and wait for the rain to stop. But I said 'Drive on - we are here for an adventure!' So off we went, slowly and carefully up the zigzag road to the top in the pouring rain. Everyone else had pulled over - we were the only ones driving!

Near Jadu we hit a patch of road that was partly covered in drifting sand. As we hit the sand our truck started to bounce around and one of the headlights that was already loose came completely loose and was left hanging only by the wiring. We stopped and played in the sand while Mustafa fixed the light.

Mustafa fixing the light.

Nalut is way up at the top of a mountain and it was specifically chosen to be used as a defense against invasion of the Arabs by the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1850.

There is a reinforced granary (called Qasr) that the inhabitants of Nalut used in the past to keep all their food stuff safe and secure. It is at least four centuries old - probably older. I'll have to check on the date. Each family had there own space in the Qasr for storage. The Qasr is open for the public now and is very interesting. We had fun poking around.

The whole place was a maze of small storage areas.

Many of these little rooms had pots for storage inside them.

Doors were still on many of these rooms - made from rough hewn wood and bits of iron.

Mustafa, Sara, Yusef and Jenna at the Qasr. Mustafa has his tongue sticking out . . . wonder what he is thinking?

We arrived home safe and sound in the evening. Tired but happy. Posted by Picasa

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