Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's stuck in my head

Do you ever have a song that just sticks in your head? No matter what you do it seems to play over and over again and you find your self humming it or singing it? (and it looks pretty funny for a woman to be singing in public in Libya)

This is the latest one for me:

Giving in to the flu

I've got some kind of weird flu or virus. Last Wednesday I felt like I was coming down with something but I just continued on my merry way. Life doesn't stop when you have a list of things to do that's miles long, does it?

Thursday I got to work and had that weird tingling feeling you get when you are going to break out with a fever blister. My bottom lip started swelling up but no blister appeared. After a while the bottom lip's swelling went down and the top lip started to swell with that same weird tingling sensation. It was strange because after a while the top lip's swelling subsided and the bottom lip (other side this time) started to swell up along with my right eye. Since the classrooms had recently been painted and there was still ongoing work I put it down to some kind of allergic reaction. On the way home I stopped at the pharmacy and bought some antihistamines which seemed to help.

By Friday I was feeling the awful, achy, miserable feeling you get with the flu. I gave in and just stayed in bed. This afternoon I finally got up and took a steamy hot bath, which seemed to make the aches and pains feel better. The kids have been doing a good job at taking care of the house because they've invited their friends over. Do I need any extra people in the house when I am not feeling well? No, of course not... but it's a good excuse to stay hidden in my room, laying in bed, watching movies on my iPod.

Mustafa came in with a measuring tape and told me he was going to take measurements so they could dig my grave. Ha! I can just see Mustafa having an argument with the Egyptian gravediggers - first he will complain about how much they will charge him to get the job done and then he will stand and moan and complain about the quality of work they are doing... lol

Hopefully I will feel good as new by tomorrow. I have things that need to get done.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Results for one

Jenna passed her exams! She got jaid jidan, which means very good. Yusef's results will be out on Sunday.

Posted from moBlog – mobile blogging tool for Windows Mobile

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We interupt this program to bring you the weather

The weather here today was just weird. Most of the day there was superheated air (45 degrees C) that blasted you as you walked out from air conditioned comfort and made you wish you didn't have anyplace to go. The car never seemed to get cool enough even when the fan was blowing as hard as it possibly could.

Later on towards evening there was lightening and thunder and rain that fell from the sky in heavy dust filled chunks. It never rained hard enough to clear the dusty air. The sky looked menacing as though a tornado would strike at any moment - twister weather! No tornadoes appeared although in some areas there were reports of hail.

For a bit the air cooled off followed by oppressive humidity. And then just as quick as a wink it got hot and dry again. The air feels dusty and everything is coated with a layer of dirt.

To top off the uncomfortable weather, I think I am coming down with the flu.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Almost Finished

Sara finished her final exams today. Now we'll wait for her results.

The amount of cheating that was going on at the school while they were doing their exams was amazing! The mothers of the students, many of whom are teachers, were getting the test papers and standing outside shouting out the answers to the questions through the windows. The funny thing is that the mothers were probably just as stupid as their kids... I wonder how many of them were shouting out the wrong answers? ..hehehe.. I've always noticed that the stupid ones will cheat by taking answers off the other stupid ones in the class. It's the blind leading the blind. ..lololol.....

Next week Nora begins two weeks of final exams - so we are still in exam mode for a while yet.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Earthquake in Libya - May 22, 2008

Last Tuesday I was visiting a friend in an office near the Corinthia in Tripoli and she asked me if I had felt an earthquake that morning. She said their whole building had been shaking and they wondered if there had been a quake - but then again there is alot of demolition going on and maybe that had something to do with the shaking. I hadn't noticed anything that morning.

Last night at about 10pm there was an earthquake recorded in the east of Libya (scale 4.3) not too far from Al-Marj. This is the same area that in 1963 suffered a 5.3 scale quake and resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives.

There have been many earthquakes throughout the history of Libya. The earliest records documented during the Roman period say that two quakes in 262 A.D. and 365 A.D, destroyed most of the temples and public buildings of Cyrene.

Libyans seem to think of only the east part of Libya when it comes to earthquakes. Most Libyans don't realise that Tripoli also has had it's share of earthquakes. For example; in 1183 A.D., a powerful earthquake destroyed Tripoli, killing 20,000 people. Mild tremors were felt in Tripoli in 1803, 1811 and 1903 A.D.

Are Libyans ready for the possibility of this happening again? Why isn't the public made more aware of what to do in case of such an event? Could Libyan health services cope with the demands? Are teams of people trained to deal with natural disasters? Or are they just going to sit back and say 'Whatever Allah wills will be.'?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My day... the treadmill continues

Sara is still working through her final exams. I've been waking her up at six o'clock every morning. This morning the alarm went off and I got up and headed for the kitchen to start the kettle for coffee and tea. As I turned the corner I noticed Layla, our black cat, crouched over something next to the door. On closer inspection I found she had Nora's pet hamster clamped firmly in her mouth. The hamster was dead of course. So starts a rather ominous beginning to the day!

I did my usual running around which begins by getting dressed [#1] and taking Ibrahim to school at a little after 8 in the morning. He goes to school year round, but I will let him have a break some time during the summer.

My big complaint: Why is nothing open in the morning in Libya?? It would make my life so much easier if I could do all my shopping at the same time I did the morning school run. Instead I am stuck returning home and waiting until about 10:30 or 11 for the shops to start opening. There are a few vegetable shops open early but they always seem to have yesterdays wilted vegetables on display. There is no choice but to go home and venture out later.

I usually get home and [#2] change into clothes more suitable to household chores. Then I [#3] change back again when the shops open - get home with everything and then [#4] change back into house clothes to attempt to create lunch of some kind. As soon as I get lunch going I [#5] change into street clothes once again to fetch Ibrahim from school. When we get back I [#6] change once again and head for the kitchen to finish cooking lunch. And of course I will shower and [#7] dress again for work in the afternoon... After work I [#8] change once again and throw something together for dinner.

Why don't I just throw on an apron in the house? I hate aprons because I always manage to miss the apron and mess up my clothes anyway... I do notice that some Libyan ladies just throw on a jalabiya or abayah over their house clothes and go out that way... but that just looks too tacky to me. So I'll continue to do the daily routine of clothes changing.

Being able to find everything open early in the morning was something I appreciated when we visited Tunisia. They are only next door to Libya but they have much different attitudes about things. I doubt Libyan shopkeepers will ever get their shops open early. sigh.....

Other news....

So far it's been an exciting week. I've got a sister with a new baby (that I have yet to see even a picture of - hint, hint). My sister is recovering and the baby is fine. Latest news reports say they they should be home from the hospital Friday or Saturday.

They're painting the classrooms in the school where I work. I had thought they were going to be white this year... instead I arrived and found the top parts of the walls were white and the bottom part was institution green. It will take some getting used to. I cut back the classes, giving a break to allow for the paint to dry and the rooms to air out. Next week we should be working normal hours again.

Yusef and I are putting together a computer for the kids using parts from two computers. At one point we plugged in and turned on only to hear a small explosion and have smoke pouring out everywhere. The windows are still all open so we can air the house out.... hehehe... We'll play around with it some more this weekend... it's our latest project.

The end of the day finds me sitting to think about my life and count my blessings and there are many of them to count... thank God! I'm going to [#9] change into my pajamas and go to bed!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's a BOY!!!!

My sister's finally had her baby! I got this message today from my mom:


Yesterday evening I got a text message saying she was on her way to the hospital. We chatted on the internet as soon as she got set up in her room. But after a while she stopped chatting so I guessed she was preoccupied.

I'm so happy!!!
I have a new nephew!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Shade

When I went to visit my mother in Florida in 1996 I brought back with me seeds from my mother's mimosa tree. Mimosas are easy to grow from seeds and they grow fast, quickly becoming wonderful providers of dense shade.

I planted two of them in my garden and they overhang in the street in front of my house offering the only respite from the harsh north African sun on my block. People fight to park their cars in the cool shade, oftentimes I am left with my car in the sun.

Not only do these beautiful trees provide protection from the sun but they also harbour a variety of wildlife; birds sing all day long and in the early morning hours of dawn these trees are frequented by a nightingail who's song provides the listener with intense joy. Bees, wasps and butterflies are all visitors too. Our cat uses the trees as a pathway to the balcony and an avenue of escape.

My trees give me great pleasure... aside from all of the above they are a reminder of home.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A quiet weekend

It was a quiet weekend. Friday morning was spent doing housework and in the afternoon my husband took me, Jenna and Ibrahim to visit his sister who had had a baby the week before.

We only ever visit her when she has a baby - so that means about once a year. Everytime we get lost and have to get directions to the house. We finally got there after driving around hunting down the house and numerous phone calls. The baby was cute, my sister in law looked tired, and we stayed for just a while. As we were leaving I told my sister in law to make sure to have another kid next year so we could get lost in Janzour again. LOL...

Friday night Mustafa and I took a drive out to Tajoura. It was windy and there was lightening and a bit of rain. We sat in the car for a while and watched the waves roll in and smelt the cool sea air.

Saturday morning was house cleaning and in the afternoon I took Jenna to buy summer clothes.

Tomorrow begins finals for Sara. More stress...

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A little humor to get me through the day

My parents are first cousins...

and my grandparents are first cousins too...

guess I'll just marry bint amti 'cause she looks just like me!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The vote's in

OK... the poll is closed. 50 people voted.

Positive votes:

  • 46% of them say they like the way my template looks
  • 20% were so thrilled that they think it's fantastic

Negative votes:

  • 20% think it could be better - (I agree with this group)
  • 8% said it sucks totally
  • 4% think my template is boring (not sure what they think about the contents)
  • 2% hate it

I still haven't gotten around to putting on the link lists. Maybe over the weekend if I get time.

Thanks for voting!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two down... two to go...

Yusef came flying into the house after finishing his last exam and Jenna barreled through the door a few minutes later. I'm not sure how long it will take to receive the results.

Nora and Sara start their final exams next week... we are still in study mode.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Dusty Day

The last few days the weather has been dusty and windy. The cars are covered in a layer of dirt. This morning Ibrahim and I decided we'd go shopping and when we got downstairs we had to dust off the car's windows befor we left. The car needs washing but it will have to wait until after the weather clears.

While we were outside wiping off the car windows my sister-in-law hung out her kitchen window and told us that my other sister-in-law gave birth to a baby boy around 1am. Now she has one daughter and four sons. I'm waiting for her to get home from the hospital to visit her.

Ibrahim got summer clothes; five pairs of shorts, eight t-shirts and underwear. Now all he needs are sandals and he will be set to go. We also stopped at the toystore and got him a yellow rubber ball to play with. I told him that it was for playing with outside, but as I type this I hear the ball bouncing off the walls in the living room (and crashing into the wall unit). This afternoon we will venture out to get the sandals. We're not going to let the dusty weather stop us from our shopping mission.

The kids are still studying for exams. They study and stop for a snack and then study some more... the kitchen is non-stop crumbs and mess from sandwiches. I guess studying works up appetites.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day in America. I am hoping that my sister Kristen has her baby tomorrow - it would be nice to have a baby on Mother's Day. I hope all the mothers who read my blog have a wonderful day. Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A preview...

My husband came home and told me that there is an American woman living nearby, married to a Libyan guy. She's a newbie... been here only a few months. A newbie.... sigh...

It sometimes seems like ages ago that I came here. I guess 19 and a half years is ages. And I was unfortunate enough to come in the late 80's when there was nothing in the shops, no satellite TV, few telephones, and nothing much to do. I also lived with my in laws for the first year. One room in a house that had thirteen other people living in it. We were renovating our flat... a process that took a year because the necessary things such as paint and tile didn't exist in Libya.

I call that year 'The longest year of my life' and sometimes 'The year from HELL'.

Stayed tuned... I will tell you about it in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

more changes and the usual excitement

Everyone seemed to hate the template that I was playing with - but I think I hated it too. I liked my old one but was just getting tired of it. So now I am going back to the old one... but with a twist... 3 columns instead of two.

With all the messing around I did I managed to lose all the widgets. The link lists were needing sorted out anyway... the dead links to get rid of and some new ones to add. I will have to mess about with it some more.

The kids are chugging right along with their exams. Jenna's habit of cramming at 5am is getting to me. I'm the alarm clock, tea maker and person she wants to sit next to her so she doesn't get lonely - this explains the fun with the template. At least it's peaceful in the early hours of the morning.

On another note... Mustafa was asking me what I thought of either getting a new iron or possibly a clothes steamer. Apparently our iron is needing replacement. My response... 'Honey, you just buy yourself whatever you feel most comfortable using.'

Really... as if I have time to bother with ironing!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

thinking about special people

Special prayers for on the edge and her family today. It's the anniversary of her son's death. But not only special prayers for them but also a plea for all to pray that Libya improves the situation for all those unfortunate citizens who are suffering from substance abuse and for their families who suffer the consequences.

On the edge... I'm thinking about you....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Exams... bring em on!

Final exams begin tomorrow. I've spent the entire weekend policing the kids. The first thing I did today was dismantle the cables leading to the satellite receiver and hide it so that no one sits staring at the television like a zombie instead of studying. Of course Mustafa didn't have his Aljazeera fix - I told him to sit next to Jenna and help her with her social studies. He will insist that the receiver be put back... but I am going to remain adamant that we be TV free for the duration of finals. It will be a battle of wills....sigh..

To cool my frazzled nerves (being a militant mother takes a lot out of you) I revamped my blog template... does anyone even look at it? I rarely notice anyone's template anymore because I use a feed reader, but changing things around was good therapy to keep me sane today. Maybe someone will notice.

In the evening I took Jenna and Ibrahim out to the office supply shop to by new pens, pencils, erasers and whatever else they thought would make taking exams easier... 31 dinars worth of what Jenna deemed essential supplies. sigh... We stopped and got ice cream too.

Jenna is insisting I wake her up at 5am so she can do some last minute cramming. We are in final exam mode for the next few weeks... pray for us!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


For the most part I consider Libya my home... but there are times when I think about my 'real home'. I was playing about with Scribefire's Flickr image tool and put in some keywords from 'home' and came up with these pictures. (unfortunately uploading the pictures in this manner doesn't allow me the freedom to resize them)


Sunset View





The Mall



Attraction - The Pier

The Beach

Maybe I need to buy myself a pair of ruby slippers...
There's no place like home...

There's no place like home...

There's no place like home...


Comma. Yeah, that's me.

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Nearly finished

Next week starts the beginning of final exams for school kids in Libya. I've been here nearly 20 years and I still can't get used to the idea that the academic year here finishes in May and the summer holiday doesn't end until September.... it's a looooooong summer here.

I'm cutting back a bit on my work hours so I can sit on top of my kids and stress out over the fact that they have more interest in watching TV and other useless objectives instead of sticking their noses in their books. I'll have to guide them in the direction of study, study, study... I need a cattle prod - one of those electrified ones to stab them with whenever they think about anything besides their books. Two of my kids are in their final year - Nora with high school and Sara will move on to secondary school.

I feel my blood pressure rising already.... sigh....

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