Monday, February 28, 2011

A solution

This is just getting rediculous. It's like when you step in chewing gum, or even worse, dog poo, and it gets stuck on the bottom of your shib-shib and you can't get it off. No matter how hard you try; you rub your shib-shib on the ground, on the grass, on the edge of the street curb, or you get a stick and try to push it off. But it just doesn't want to go.

The solution: It's time to throw those shib-shib away!  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day or night we are not safe in Tripoli

There have been helicopters today
up over head.
More than ever before.
All of them are moving
toward the coast.
I'm afraid to go outside to photograph them,
in case I turn into a target.
The dogs growl and bark.
The sun is setting now.
Tripoli is a nocturnal place.
Day or night,
we are not safe,
in Tripoli.

Feb 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A sleepy Saturday.. what stress does to me

I woke up this morning, got out of bed but stayed in my pajamas. I didn't change my clothes all day. I felt chilled, sleepy and depressed. I'd crawl under a blanket and fall asleep only to have weird, disjointed dreams. Not nightmares - just dreams. None of them made any sense at all. I'd wake up and wander around the house for a while and then climb back under a blanket and sleep some more. This pattern of sleep, dream, wake, stay up for a bit and return to sleep continued all day. Sometimes I slept in my bed, sometimes on the sofa in the TV room, and sometimes on the sofa in the sitting room. 

From time to time during the day I'd check my email (when the internet was working) - still under a blanket, using my phone. All of my ex-pat colleagues have made it home safely - each one has a horror story to tell but most of them are ready to return here as soon as things are sorted out. My family and friends abroad have been checking up to see how things are here. They offer kind words of encouragement. Fellow bloggers comment as do my regular readers and also complete strangers. Keep praying for us!

My friends who are still in Libya are doing well. We check up on each other when the phones are working and we can get a line. One person relaying messages for the others she's spoken to. It's always a quick call because we can't tell how much phone credit we have left. The number you use to check the phone credit doesn't work anymore. We've all decided that when this is over we're going to have a big get-together. 

My husband ventured out today to see what was going on. He came back with lots of fruit and veggies. The Egytptians who have been running most of the vegetable stands have all fled, leaving the produce behind. Fruit is being sold a bargain prices before it begins to spoil. So tonight we are enjoying fresh fruit cocktail. He also made an attempt to attend a funeral today for some of the martyrs but was turned away.  

  • Watching the news is distressing. 
  • Staying at home is depressing. 
  • The whole situation is upsetting. 

I'm hoping for the day I can type some positive adjectives. Keep us in your prayers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not a normal Friday in Libya

I'm starting to feel totally out of synch. The days are starting to run into one another and all feel the same. Today was Friday, and I tried to keep it like any other normal Friday. I got up and started in on the laundry, scrubbed my bathroom and started lunch. When it came time for Friday prayers I went outside and worked a bit in the garden - pulling weeds. And of course listening to the sounds in the distance. I wanted it to be like a normal Friday, but of course it wasn't. 

Not long after Friday prayers ended I could hear helicopters in the distance. I kept pulling weeds, straining my ears to hear the sounds in the distance, but it was windy and I couldn't tell which direction the sounds were coming from. I gave up and came inside. After lunch I checked to see what was happening on the internet, but there was no connection. I watched TV for a bit with the kids, but it was depressing and stressful. 

I needed to lose myself - to find something that would absorb my attention - take me someplace else in my imagination. I curled up under a blanket and watched the film 'The King's Speech'. It's a film about King George the 5th and how he overcame his speech impediment. Of course his speeches were all written for him by a professional writer - he just had to say them. Quite the oposite here in Libya! Bla, bla, bla. Shibber, shibber! Zinga, Zinga! Dar, dar!... Makes you want to laugh but then you stop yourself when you realise how sad it all is. 

The telephones were on today. I got a call from one of my students who gave me the message that the brother-in-law of one of my other students had died of bullet wounds. There is no way for me to go to the funeral (I might suffer the same fate on the way) so I'll have to call her to offer my condolances.... that is when I can manage to get a line through. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winds of change

I couldn't bear sitting in the house any longer so I put on my coat and went outside for a walk. The dogs weren't very happy about it and kept trying to herd me back home. Cisco kept biting the edge of my coat and pulling me back toward the house. But I was determined to get some fresh air. 

The sun kept trying to peek out from behind the clouds but it wasn't very successful. We've had strong winds blowing since last night.  The air was cold but fresh, with the smell of wet grass. I walked in the far field and took these photos.

On the right, in the distance, is my (unpainted) house. Alongside, the water tower rises above. On the horizon the pine trees are bent over in the strong winds.

When I returned home I tried to upload the pictures but the internet had shut down. We turned on the TV to see what was happening and heard that there would soon be another speech. I went into the kitchen to start some chile con carne for dinner while we waited for the show to begin. sigh.... and what a show... I'm not sure if it was comedy or horror. 

Are you ready for dinner? I think I've lost my appetite.  

It just goes on, and on, and on....

Since last night we've had really high winds. The rains have stopped for the moment and the sun is out but it's cold. The winds are howling angrily around my house. I'm grateful that we are inside where it's warm. 

My friend that has been stuck in Benghazi 'might' be evacuated today. Other colleagues in Tripoli are unreachable. I hope this means they have managed to get out of here, but from what I see on the news it is unlikely. I just hope they have managed to get inside the airport, out of the cold wind and rain. 

It's hard to say what's happening in Libya from where I am. We're relying on the news and internet like everyone else in the world. If the weather improves I will go for a walk to see what I can hear in the distance, but mostly because we're getting on each other's nerves!

There was a HUGE double rainbow yesterday evening. I think Nora captured a shot of it on her camera. I'll look for it and post it later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Looking in

I got a few hours of sleep so I feel a bit better today. It's raining off and on here in Tripoli and it feels cold and damp outside. Inside the house we are warm. I have no phone service at the moment but the internet is working. The kids have finally put on a movie instead of the never-ending bad news.

I usually go out in the garden or take a walk in the farm when I'm under stress because it makes me feel better. But these days that just makes it worse. Your ears strain to hear what's happening in the distance. So instead, I worked on the plants in the window next to my desk.

I made a small terrarium. And then I thought how similar Libya is to a terrarium... everything happening inside with no intervention from outside... the whole world is looking in.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Libya, Oh Libya!

Another appearance on TV this evening. I waited to see if it was going to last longer than 15 seconds, and then when it was obvious it was going to be a long-winded speech, I went into the kitchen and made a huge bowl of popcorn. 

We watched, we snacked. We had mixed feelings: disbelief, horror, amazement, among other feelings, but mostly just disgust

During the speech the phones and internet were inaccessible. Afterwards the internet and phones came on as if a switch had been flipped. Then we went outside in the garden to hear what was happening. Since the speech ended we have heard car horns blaring and gunshots and machine-gun fire in every direction - louder than it's been since all this began. 

God help us all!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Idioms and puns to help us through the day

We had a very long, sleepless night spent between watching reports on television and on the internet, and running outside in the garden, where we strained our ears to listen to the far off sounds of gunfire and car horns. And then the shock of listening to 'the speech'. Disbelief at what was being said. What day is it, I wondered, surely it's not  the first of April yet!

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. . . . . 

Oh Libyans... Stay safe!.... no pun intended!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Live reports and eye-witness accounts... frustrating!

The Internet is still on and off... telephones are on and off too. 

Yusef went to buy cards for the internet this afternoon. He came back and said the 10 dinar internet card is now being sold in the shops for 15 dinars and there is a rush to by top-up cards for mobiles. I expected that recent events would raise prices. Last week I bought ground beef for 6 dinars a kilo and today it was 8 increase of 2 dinars a kilo. I didn't even ask how much chicken was today - I just bought enough to last about 10 meals and brought it home and put it in the freezer. Now lets hope the electricity doesn't go out.

There was the same rush to stock up on food today that there was yesterday (including me for ground beef and chicken). But when I went out in the afternoon in Benashur, Fashloum, Sidimasri and Ainzara the streets were normal with the exception of the occasional flag and poster-covered car, taxi or bus. The gas station was open and I filled the tank.

My dear friend is still stranded in Benghazi. The airport was closed today and there was no way to get out. Hopefully tomorrow she will be evacuated (we thought that would happen today). It's been frustrating - we can communicate by mobile but she has no internet so I've contacted her family back home to say she is safe. I cannot imagine the stress she must be under. 

Reports say that tonight Tripoli is upside-down but I live too far away to be able to say what's happening there. When I go out in my garden I can hear the sounds of car horns, shouts and noise in the distance. It's hard to tell where the noise is coming from - out in the countryside the wind carries sounds quite a distance and it depends which way the wind is blowing. We've locked all the gates because we've heard reports of people jumping into farms. The dogs will warn us if anyone comes near.

I'm going back to watch the latest news reports. So many different stories coming out tonight that I don't know what to beleive. I pray that everyone in Libya stays safe. God help us all. 

Tripoli is buzzing like bees

Internet is sporadic. I'm not sure how often I will be able to blog or approve comments. I will get to them if/when I can.

Yesterday afternoon I went out to the grocery store in my neighbourhood. It was packed full of people stocking up. The shelves, which had once been brimming with goods, looked sparse. There were only three bags of rice left so I took one. When I drove by the wholesale shops people were lined up buying bags of flour, cases of tomato paste, cooking oil and pasta.

The roads were packed with people going places. At one intersection empty buses were passing by... they had dropped off their load of 'rent-a-crowd' and were driving away from the city.  Heading toward the city were cars full of pro-government demonstrators, honking and waving flags and posters. Everyone else seemed to be preoccupied with stocking up and shopping.

Things are 'normal' here this morning, Nora went to university to attend a lecture, the bakery and the sinfez (shop that makes fried bread) are open. But it's early yet.

Some of my colleagues arrived yesterday from Benghazi, and more, hopefully, will follow today if the airport in Benghazi opens again. The guest room is ready.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All is not quiet in the country

Just when I thought I'd have a quiet evening at home...... Sara had pizzas in the oven, Ibrahim was playing with his rabbit, the rest of the kids were watching TV, and I was chatting online with my mom.

All of a sudden, the dogs started barking like crazy, and then I heard a car... beep! beep! Not one car... two! Out piled a crowd of in-laws... big, small, old, young - all chattering at once. 

The ladies were ushered into one room the men in another, the children running back and forth. Ibrahim's poor rabbit was put hastily back in his cage where it would be reasonably safe from half a dozen small children. Out came the chocolates that had been hidden in Nora's closet (for surprise guests), tea and fresh hot pizza. The TV was blasting in the background. Everyone seemed to all talk at once, a party atmosphere prevailed. 

None of my sister-in-laws are going to visit anyone that lives in the city now. I guess until things return to normal I should expect visitors to drop in. On the list for tomorrow: Bake a cake, for just in case. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quiet here

The number seventeen has been on everyone's lips here for the past two weeks. Tomorrow is the big day, the day Libya is expected to begin their journey to join ranks with Tunisia and Egypt. There are all kinds of speculation and rumors flying around. 

This morning I went to work as usual; traffic was normal. On the way home there was a group of high school boys in their green school uniforms in one of the traffic roundabouts. They'd been given posters of the Leader to carry. It all seemed so artificial. Traffic slowed down a bit as people drove by. Other than that it was the usual bumper to bumper ride home.

Hubby came home to say there was more of the same type of pro-Leader demonstrations going on in the city center. One guy started shouting anti-Leader slogans and was quieted when some plain-clothed security gave him some money. How weird is that?

I took the evening off. No point getting stuck in traffic. I'm relaxing at home with my family. All is quiet here today where I live. Internet and mobile phone service are working normally... actually the net is better than it usually is! The kitchen is well stocked, I have over a thousand books on my e-reader. Tomorrow is another day.... wait and see what, if anything, happens.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some really special bloggers

Last January I was flattered and honored to receive a special blogger award from Expat Arrivals. They have three categories of winning blogs listed on their site. But I'm not going to brag about my blog here. The other winning blogs are really fantastic! Such an amazing and diverse list of good reads! Go over and have a look yourself: EXPAT ARRIVALS 2011 Top and Great Bloggers

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Happy Miloud
Happy Valentine's Day
or both....

Just have a great day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Having a little demonstration of my own

The sun is shining and the washing machine is going full-speed.

Egypt is still the main focus on the TV in the living room. I'm getting some inspiration from them:

I've decided to turn my garden into a Tahrir Square and go out there and demand that 'Husni Mustafa' get busy. I'll be shouting and chanting 'Paint the House! Paint the House! Paint the House!'  the kids will join me... my friends will join me... my fellow bloggers will join me. We'll get excited! We'll be chanting! Aljazeera will interview us! And if 'Husni Mustafa' doesn't give in to my demands and get off his butt and paint the house we will force him into exile.... at his mother's house of course.

Paint the House!
Paint the House!
Paint the House!

(We've been living here for a year and a half for God's sake!) 

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lazy rainy weather

It's been raining for the last few days. The streets are flooded making driving even more treacherous than usual. I decided to cancel work for the evening and relax at home, listening to the rain on the roof and drinking hot herbal tea. In America people have been having days off for snow, so I should be allowed a rainy day off. The electricity has been going on and off throughout the afternoon and evening. And the internet has been sporadic. But the candles are lit and the house is cozy.

Our neighbours in Egypt are still in limbo. Interest is waning in our house - there is only just so much Aljazeera that can be watched (and it helps that the electricity keeps going off). It looks like Mubarrak isn't going to budge, which is what I suspected from the beginning. There are rumours that something similar will happen here in Libya, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Staring at the TV... but not like zombies!

There's an Aljazeera watching marathon going on in my house... sigh. All eyes are on Egypt. While our neighbours in Egypt are busy demonstrating, all is quiet here in Libya while everyone stays glued to the TV watching events unfold. All the TV watching is getting on my nerves. Everyone is busy speculating and waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen.

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