Sunday, November 25, 2007

I've returned

I'm back from my adventure. Where did I go, what did I do, and who was I with?....

The story begins on Saturday, November 17th, the day I took Ibrahim to the book fair. While at the fair I got a call from my friend Tara who said she was in the hospital with a ruptured Achilles tendon that she got playing squash. The doctors wanted her to have an MRI and suggested she take the results to Malta for emergency surgery. So I dropped Ibrahim off at home and met her at the clinic to wait with her while she was doing her tests. Then, while her husband left to make travel and hospital arrangements, I took her home to help her pack her bags and send her off with her husband to the airport.

She arrived in Malta and went straight to the hospital. The next morning she had surgery; everything going as planned. She was soon able to move out of the hospital and into a hotel. The only problem she faced was that her husband needed to get back to Tripoli for work and she couldn't stay alone - so I came to the rescue and Tara's husband and I switched places.

That in itself was a bit of an ordeal seeing that now everyone needs an Arabic translation in their passport to either enter or exit Libya - and I didn't have the translation. After a bit of a hassle we finally got it done, the embassy allowing it because of the circumstances. It was a headache but it got done. Off I went to Malta.

I arrived to find poor Tara, set up in her room with her leg propped up; cigarettes, the remote control, chips and junk food, cell phone and beer assorted beverages in easy reach.

Her room was conveniently located right next to mine so when she needed me she would just bang on the wall with her crutches and start yelling 'Teri! Teri!' I need a ...... !' and I would come and get her what ever it was she needed.

We couldn't really do too much more than hang around the room, which was fine with me. We had our laptops, internet and Tara had some new video games to play. Sometimes we watched TV. I had the luxury of my very own room and bathroom!

When you have six kids you NEVER get to be in the bathroom for long. Someone will start banging on the door asking to get in almost immediately - so this was wonderful! I had long showers and baths without anyone knocking on the door or hearing anyone fighting and arguing outside the door either .... it was bliss!

We did manage to go out a few times. Sometimes we met up with some Maltese friends that Tara knew. I suggested getting a wheelchair but Tara flat out refused this idea. So off she crutched. It was slow going. She would get about 4 metres and have to stop to rest.

Not being able to get around meant that mostly we went to cafe's and restaurants. Relaxing, stuffing ourselves with good food and enjoying the pleasant weather. Reading a newspaper was an added treat!

We didn't see much of Malta. It's a place with a mixture of old and new. There are churches everywhere and we left our balconies open so we could hear the church bells ring.

The buildings are mostly old and made from quarried sandstone. The streets are narrow and the sidewalks paved in bricks.

Mixed in with this are modern hotels and shops built with marble and shiny glass.

The reflexion in the glass of the old building across the street makes this picture interesting... the old with the new.

Malta is also beginning to get geared up for Christmas. There were some trees decorated and nativity scenes set up. It's been ages since I had seen that.

After a few days the doctor signed the papers saying Tara was fit enough to travel and we came back to Libya safe and sound. She'll have to return later for follow up care. I was so happy to be able to help out my friend.

The kids were happy to have me back. They dug through my bags more efficiently than any customs officer looking for their prizes. Malta unfortunately is ridiculously expensive so I didn't bring home much. But they were happy with the few small things I got for them.

[click on images for enlargements]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Off on an Escapade

I'm hoping to go off tomorrow on an adventure.

It's a holiday tomorrow (Thanksgiving) but I'm not going to be doing any holiday celebrating... at least I don't think so. There will be NO CHILDREN OR HUSBAND involved in this adventure either.

Eventually I may decide to get around to blogging about my mysterious adventure... I'll let you wait in suspense...

I'm going to further drive you crazy by not allowing any comments on this post. Lately people have been abusing the comment feature of my blog and let me tell you this:


So have a nice Thanksgiving for all of you who celebrate it - Stuff your tummies with delicious turkey, creamy gravy and sinfully rich pie! Mmmmm yummy! Enjoy your families and count your many blessings.

For the abusers of the comment section of my blog:

I'm off.... having an adventure... be back soon... maybe....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Feeling better now

I think I've recovered from my bout with the flu. The rest of us who were sick with it have recovered as well.

Tomorrow starts mid-term exams for Jenna and Yusef.

I took Ibrahim to the book fair today to give the others a chance to study. Ibrahim behaved perfectly at the fair. I was so proud of him. He never left my side, held my hand most of the time and only touched things when I said it was ok. It was wonderful!

The book fair was OK too. Most of the books were in Arabic but there were quite a few books in English, both for academic reading and for pleasure. Ibrahim got a book and four hand puppets; a man with fuzzy black hair, a woman wearing an abayah, a child and a giraffe. We played with the puppets this evening, using them to work on some of the pronunciation problems Ibrahim has. We had fun.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stunning Photography of Libya

There is some stunning photography of Libya on Eric Lafforgue's website.

Makes me want to get out my camera and keep working towards taking better pictures! His shots are lovely!

Still hanging in there

I'm still sick. One minute I feel like I'm freezing; teeth chattering and the next minute I feel as though I'm sitting in a hot steam bath. It hurts to swallow and of course the kids have found where I was hiding the throat lozenges and they have finished them all.

This morning while I was laying in bed I heard them all in the kitchen discussing how the microwave oven was broken. They were trying to turn it on, pushing all the buttons, unplugging it and plugging it back in again. Nothing worked. Maybe the microwave has the flu too.

Then hubby decided it was time to defrost the freezer. This is his big job. I refuse to do it because it was his choice to buy the cheaper model refrigerator. I mean really! I think it is amazing that they even make refrigerators that have to be defrosted in this day and age. So while I was 'resting' in bed he was banging on the built up ice with a hammer (and cursing).

I finally dragged myself out of bed around 10:30. No one had remembered to give Ibrahim his medicine and now he's flying around the house like a tornado. The house looks bad... really bad! But I don't have the energy to yell at the kids to get the place straightened up. There are dishes in the living room and clothes and toys have been thrown all over the place. MBC 3 is blasting out cartoons and the kids are all sitting around without a care in the world.

Hubby mentioned today that his friend's wife died a while back and they had six kids. He said his friend was looking for a replacement wife. Hmmm... what did he mean by saying that?

I am going to pull myself together and try to get to work today. Maybe by the time I get home tonight a miracle will have happened and the house will be clean again and the microwave will be working again too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I feel awful

I've got the flu. It's been ages since I've had the flu and I had forgotten how miserable it makes you feel. This morning I didn't get out of bed until about eleven o'clock (instead of the usual seven). Of course the whole time I was trying to sleep hubby kept coming in and telling me I had to get up, insisting the whole time that I was just being lazy and I was imagining that I was sick. Mothers are never allowed to be sick (his opinion, not mine).

I dragged myself into the kitchen thinking if I downed a cup of coffee or two I would feel better. Did it work? No.

I'm going to get something from the pharmacy around the corner. I am too busy to be sick. I have a million things to do. I will push myself through the day and collapse at the end of it.

I feel awful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I have a new boyfriend!

Today I was on the computer checking my mail and reading news and blogs. Over my shoulder I heard 'Who is this guy Mark Read?' I turned and looked at hubby and asked 'Whaaaaaat?' He glared at me and said 'Yeah! Mark Read. You've got all kinds of emails from him.'

'I don't know what you are talking about.' I said. The only Mark I know is my mother's neighbour's son and I don't think I have ever received an email from him. There is another Mark I know of - that's our neighbourhood tomcat who I have named Mark because he leaves his scent all over everything. I know for sure that I don't get any emails from Mark the cat.

Hubby was insistent that I was communicating with Mark Read. 'Look on your computer. His name is all over the place!' So I turned and looked. Sure enough I saw Mark Read..... On the Bloglines RSS feedreader I use there is a place that says Mark Read with a check box next to it on every entry so that you can note which posts have been read and which haven't.

Men are such idiots.... sigh....

Friday, November 09, 2007

I have eaten way too many sweets!

My friend's daughter got married and the bride wanted my girls to be bridesmaids. They all wore specially made pink satin dresses and they all looked lovely! They've been planning this for months and it all turned out just perfect. Of course I took lots of pictures and the girls all said 'Don't blog us!' but I couldn't resist this picture of Jenna sitting at the bride's feet. She looked so cute!

After the bride's party I went with the bride (at her request) to the groom's house. She said ' Oh please Aunt Teri you've gotta come with me.' So off we went, following the bride's car... Beep! Beep! Beep! all the way there.

They had the most awesome wedding cake! Covered in marzipan and filled with chocolate and hazelnuts. The bride found it on the internet and had it made here. Yummmmmmy!

Tonight is the last night - The Mahdar. I'm tired but I'll go. Gotta be there for 'my niece'.

Furniture ideas

Hmmm... sometimes I wish I was a dog!... hehehehe...

Watch the video and find out why. I found this when I was looking for
furniture ideas for the room next to the garage that will be used as a
guestroom/office. Click the Watch Video button on the website.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Work in Progress!

There are banners up all around the Medina in Tripoli proclaiming the area's renovation projects. Actually work has been underway for quite some time now.

The Medina is part of Libya's heritage and deserves to be preserved, not only as an attraction for tourism but mostly for the pride of Libya's citizens. The ancient sites and mosques contained in the old city as well as the bazaars are visited and utilized daily by both tourists and local people. Preservation of the area is key to its continued existence.

The city dates back to the 7th century BC when it was founded by the Phoenicians and named Oea. Its name changed over the years; the Romans called the city Regio Syrtica and later Regio Tripolitana which in modern times became known as Tripoli, the Arabic pronunciation being Tarabulis. The Medina has been continuously inhabited and evidence of the ancient Roman and Ottomon periods as well as the more recent Italian colonial period are readily evident throughout the city.

Marcus Aurelius Arch constructed during the Roman period. A mosque from the Ottoman period that is being worked on can be seen in the background.

Adjacent to the Old City is the Green Square. This building from the Italian colonial era faces the square. Scaffolding is cleverly covered with netting that is imprinted with how the final renovations will appear.

One main problem seen is the amount of time it takes to restore buildings back to their original appearance. In some areas the work has been going on for over a year, causing shopkeepers to lose money as well as being possible sources of safety hazards. Importance must be placed on completing the projects in a timely manner.

Another banner.

Mind you don't fall!

This area of the Medina's bazaar has the roof falling in. Certainly this would deter visitors who might fear for their safety by passing underneath.

This area directly behind the Red Castle has been torn up for well over a year. It is the main gateway leading to the Old City.

More views of the area. The taxpaying shopkeepers in this area have been losing revenue because the road has been torn up for so long.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Happening now

  • Ibrahim is swimming in the bathtub
  • Jenna is decorating her notebooks and watching TV
  • Sara is washing the dishes
  • Nora is sleeping
  • Yusef is watching TV
  • Hubby is out buying vegetables I hope (he gets off track all the time)
  • Adam is at his grandmother's house
  • and I am taking a break from marking papers, checking my email and chatting with friends
OK... back to work!

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's time to pay the phone bill again...

A few days ago I picked up the phone to make a call and heard the lovely voice of Fatima Omar... 'Time to pay the phone bill again', she said on the recorded message. For a few days the phone company lets you receive calls but not make them. Then they shut off the service until you pay.

I think my teen-aged daughters have the telephone glued to their ears from the minute they get home from school until late. I have even had the phone ring at 1 am and have had to tell Nora's friends that they are not allowed to phone her after 9pm. But they call anyway. One particular girl is a nuisance. I have threatened to send my husband to have a talk with her father. At one point we unplugged the telephone and locked it up.

In a way I feel bad because in Libya girls don't have much of a social life. It's not like they can go hang out at the mall together or meet for a pizza. If my daughters want to visit their friends arrangements must be made. You have to take them to their friend's house, make sure that you speak to the other mother to confirm that your daughter is going to be safely chaperoned for the duration and then arrange to pick the girls up. Of course if they visit their friends you have to expect that the visit will be repaid. This is not a just pop over to visit deal... elaborate snacks and sweets must be bought or prepared and it will be a visit that lasts hours. Uuuugh! So maybe a visit via telephone is easier.

Now that the phone is off the girls are holding their school books in their hands instead of their phone books. Soon though I expect the idea of inviting all their friends over is going to pop into their heads.

Should I pay the bill?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

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