Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Libya

I thought Christmas was going to be a depressing affair this year - on lockdown, boring food, most people having fled for the holidays with their family or in more interesting places (Rome, London, Berlin, etc).  But my house hosted a big Christmas party tonight, and it turned out well.  Someone smuggled in a ton of fancy chocolates, cheeses, and sausages from Trader Joe's, and we had a mixed bag of tasty treats from Germany as well, so we were able to stuff our faces in style.  With the combined efforts of several creative people we were able to make smores at the firepit that's been set up in my yard, so as long as you didn't think about the chemicals that were soaked into the wood we were burning it was really a very pleasant evening.  We even had someone with a guitar and the ability to play three chords, so we stumbled through a few Christmas songs and a few other songs that ostensibly everyone knows.  (Even if the lyrics were usually la-la-la-la-la-don't-know-the-words HEY IT'S THE CHORUS SING THIS PART REALLY LOUDLY!)  We eventually gave up and strung together three extension cords and an iPod out of my kitchen window to get music out by the firepit.

For a group of people who's been operating at 110% for so long, the ability to kick back and enjoy some treats was really nice.  Last night I and my housemates turned coffee filters into snowflake decorations (come on, you know you did it in grade school too), and we made a 2D Christmas tree out of typing paper and candy decorations.  Twizzlers make great garlands on a paper tree!

So merry Christmas from Tripoli - where the small band of us who are still here are having fun and keeping our spirits up.  Hope you're all having a good holiday in whichever way you most prefer to celebrate it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kind of a Shitty Day

So the ARB report came out today.  I have no comment on it, obviously, but it's still hard to see everything rehashed from mid-September.  It's like having a scab picked off by your worst enemy while he pours salt into the new wound.

But on the plus side, I picked up my stuff from the most recent mail delivery today - specifically, eight boxes of awesome.  My mother, my mother-in-law, and a few friends conspired to send me exactly the things that make me happy.  I have basic kitchen goods (measuring cups, dish towels, a cutting board), spice mixes, my favorite candy (sour patch kids!!), fancy smell-good soap, wild rice, quinoa, the particular type of couscous I like, my university alumni magazine, recent pictures of family members, a deck of cards, a Scrabble set, and a few hand-written letters, among other things.  I was able to make a healthy, tasty dinner for myself and a sick housemate, plus I could make her a modified hot toddy after dinner to soothe her throat with the apple cider mix I got in today's mail.

Whenever I have a down day, like today, all I have to do is look in my kitchen at all of the care packages I've received since I've been in Tripoli.  Thank you, all of you - you have no idea how much they mean to me.