Day to Day

Originally uploaded by The Toze

I got back to Iraq on Saturday and missed my one day of weekend. We work Sat – Thursday. On Saturday night the power went out, normally it comes right on again because we have generators, but this time it was off until 11:30 a.m. the next morning. But there was nothing to do without power so I went back to bed.

It was a pretty uneventful week, I did make it out of the compound three times. Once for shopping. We went to the “supermarket” and I picked up a few things like Feta cheese, little mandarin tangerines and bread. There is actually a really good bread store that makes whole grain bread. Because we don’t go out to eat a lot and as of yet we haven’t figured out anyplace that delivers, we cook a lot. I think I’m eating the healthiest I have in my life since I left home. Goind through the grocery store is like a hunt for things you recognize and food items that you think you can do something with. It seems like we eat a lot of cooked vegetables with pasta or rice, sometimes we fry Halloume cheese and serve it with veggies and tomato sauce, we eat a lot of chicken, because it is difficult to buy beef in a cut you recognize. My plan is to start visiting the actual butcher with a diagram to buy beef, I’ll see how that goes. Once a week we can order vegetables and have them delivered but there are a couple of bad translations. When we ordered limes we got lemons and when V ordered green beans the last two times she has gotten something that looks like lima beans. That and the bedding situation or lack of bedding situation has been a source of conflict.

Lately I’ve been rolling out of bed 15 minutes before 8:00 a.m. when I’m supposed to be at the office, throwing on clothes, making myself oatmeal or eggs, making coffee for me and the roomie and then booking to the office. I then check my e-mails, review proposals, or get through my to do list and before I know it, lunch is here.

V, my roommate and I usually cook together and we sometimes cook for lunch, but a lot of times eat leftovers. Lunch is from 1 – 2 p.m. then I head back to the office to work until 5:00 p.m. or whenever. I had two late nights this week, one finishing up reports the other on a conference call with the U.S. Institute of Peace about disability and conflict. I didn’t get home until 7:30 p.m. that evening. Usually in the evening after we are done cooking I have a little bit of time to e-mail friends, post on my blog or try and figure out a decent online scrapbook. Sometimes V and I watch SVU and this week, I’ve watched about four movies three bad horror flicks, Species III, Event Horizon and The Descent and a stupid college movie Accepted. You can pretty much forgo any of them. I wish I had the Alien series. Group housing here is pretty much like living in a spaceship. You work with the same people that you live with, you see them all the time, things like green beans or lack of is a source of conflict and occassionally you get to go on a little shuttle ride to explore the space around you.

The second time I got out this week was for a meeting with Rozh Society Disability Organization. I met with the North Community Educator Team to debrief. They did incredible work and are ready and willing to do more. I was out of the mother ship for about an hour and a half.

Thursday nights are usually a decompression night. This Thursday I ate a chicken sandwich with melted cheddar cheese on it that I had brought back from Jordan. There is not a good selection of cheese here. Then I Skyped with my parental unit, the mother. Then I headed up to the fifth floor for movies and relaxation with our Ukrainian crew member E. The fifth floor is inhabited by two Ukrainians and a Canadian. The Canadian is currently on home leave in Brazil. My roommate had dinner with some of the other expats.

One of the interesting things about living on the mother ship is the cleaning ladies. This week they threw away my salad dressing maker, then I came home on Thursday to a new duvet and sheets, but my sacred frog pillow case and the blanket that I had previously absconded with was missing. After the cleaning ladies are here, you never know where you are going to find what. I finally found the blanket in the hall closet the frog pillow case is still missing. It’s like Easter every day.

I woke up on Friday, my day off around 11:00 a.m. and then E and I went for a walk. You cannot go off the compound any further than the corner store by yourself, we were on a quest for bread. We asked at a restaurant if we could buy some and he gave it to us instead. Then we were also looking for tonic water, which seems to be in short supply. We were gone for an hour. So in total I spent about 3 1/2 hours out off the compound this week.

I got back just in time for an interview with the Spectrum, a newspaper supplement for the Scotland, Sunday paper. I had completely forgotten about the interview, because I currently don’t have outlook, but I got an e-mail right as I got back to the compound and was there for the call. Another security protocol is that you have to have your phone with you at all times and you are not allowed to take taxis. So I did the interview, then sent a follow up e-mail. Put my scratchy sheets and duvet cover that had never been washing in the laundry, played Scrabble with K, who by the way lost the “H” the last time we played and then hung my sheets up to dry in the living room. We also have no dryers here.

Drying sheets in the Living Room

Right now I’m blogging, looking for some background information on PWD rights in the Middle East (are there any?) and doing more laundry. I expect my roommate to emerge from her room where she has been reviewing proposals within the next 1/2 hour or so claiming she is hungry. Not sure what we are having for dinner.

Oh I forgot I also killed a cockroach this week. I told my Mom about it thinking she would be impressed, not at all. “One cockroach,” she said, “They were all over our apartment in Hawaii, I had to limit your father to one can of bug spray a week. He would arm himself with the spray and then turn on the light and try and kill as many as possible.”

Me I flipped that intruder on his back, covered him with toilet paper and then STOMPED! All while my roommate was watching from a safe distance asking, does it fly, is it flying and breathing heavily.

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