Live From Iraq

This picture to the left is of my bathroom here in Iraq.

Just kidding. I mean it is one of the bathrooms at my house, but I use the one that's inside the house, not this one. Although, they're both pretty similar being that they're both a hole in the ground - what all the foreigners refer to as a "squatty potty." Classy, huh?

You'll notice the bright blue bag of trash in the bottom left corner. I added the trash to make a brighter, more lively composition. I hope you like.

I have been trying to journal this time around. As many of you know, I did not journal last time, and I wish I had. Now I am journaling and I wish that I wasn't. Because I am lazy.

Here are a couple of exerpts:

Day 2-

" When I finally got out of bed, I found that in addition to not having electricity overnight, I also didn't have any water. Janie showed me the empty tank when she gave me the tour of the house, but she assured me that the house got water every other night, therefore, since I didn't have water now, I would probably get it tonight. I did not. That meant a bath of hand wipes and brushing my teeth with bottled water.

I got dressed and walked to the office. I underestimated the distance between the two and ended up walking for more than twenty minutes which wouldn't have been bad except that it was already above 90 degrees and there wasn't a shadow to hide under as I walked. I passed the new elevated portion of S. Street, which I was very excited to drive over yesterday when I arrived. It was under construction last year and it caused a mess of traffic. Now, traffic flows very smoothly through the area and it's a magnet for graffiti.

I love graffiti, so I took some time to look at the designs of the local artists. I have to say that it's low-quality graffiti at best. Things like 'Hama Power' and 'CC For Life' in big block letters with very little color. I have seen Kurdish art, so I know they could do better than this."

" D-Dog was waiting for us in the front yard and she hurried to greet me. I was very happy to see her and she gave me a big hug and ushered me into the kitchen for cold water which I was very grateful to have after my hike from my neighborhood. Janie told me that D-Dog had something very special to tell me, so she did. “Whassup, Kak Aso?” she said and laughed. I laughed, too and praised her English She has been trying to learn some English since she started working with us and, when I left, she pretty much just knew 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you' which she often confused for one another.

She had been practicing 'Whassup' for a couple of weeks so she could greet me with something special. I felt very welcomed by it. "

Day 3 -

" I awoke to another day without water, but I wasn't too upset about it. Sometimes things happen and you just have to go with it. Plus, it's too hot to be angry here.

I decided to walk to the office again, too. When I started, it was zor xoşe (very lovely), but about halfway there, I wondered when exactly I had gone crazy enough to think walking to work in the Middle East in the heat of the day was a good idea. I didn't grab a taxi or a bus, though, I just kept walking. Like an idiot."

" After Pak City, I came home and tried to convince myself to go out and buy a new phone and bread. Those were my two simple errands, but I didn't want to do either one. I laid on my bed instead and thought of ways to procrastinate, but then I remembered that I had given Mr. H (our Kurdish teacher from CA) my phone number and, if my number didn't have a phone attached, we'd never see Mr. H. I bucked up and headed out.

I took a taxi to the bazaar and on the way Todd called to tell me he had found a house for me, so I took the taxi to him instead. The taxi driver wanted 3000 dinar for the trip to the bazaar and, although Todd was only half way, he charged the full amount. I never argue when the price is well under $3, but I always feel the offense of being ripped off jut because I am foreign.

It turns out that what Todd had found was a replacement for the office, not a house for me. The house was in the same neighborhood as the current office and it was very nice. It was also about $300 cheaper than the current place. The landlord took us there in a car with a driver, like a taxi and, when we got out, he told Todd that it would be 5000 dinar for the trip. Todd asked me, if I had it and I did, so I paid. We all went back to the guy's office and sat down and we noticed that the taxi driver came along.

Todd said 'He is not a taxi driver. Why did we have to pay him 5000 dinar?' To me he said 'They tricked us.' I told him that we wouldn't rent his house now because he took 5000 dinar and we both laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.

I laughed because who in their right mind takes a prospective buyer to a house and then charges them for the ride? A ride taken in a private car, nonetheless. I think Todd laughed because he was embarrassed that they would do that. When we left he said 'It is like stealing. It's not right.'"

OK, that's all for now. I will post more as I have time, but I don't want to overwhelm you with all my exciting, exciting stories.

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