Friday, 31 August 2012

Friday night entertainment

They came for a visit. She asked for tea. I went to make it. She decided to go to the bathroom while waiting. She closed the door. She shouldn't have. I made the tea. She tried to open the door. She couldn't. They went to help. He got tools. They pried. They pushed. They dug. It would not give. They unscrewed. They pulled. They turned. They kicked. .... 30 minutes later... it opened. She came out. She had her tea. They giggled.

Not sure they will ever come back again.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

/ˈdʒetˌlæɡ/, /ˈkɒfi/, /ɪnˈsɒmniə/ and Jeremy Clarkson

It is 4.30am on Thursday morning. We have been in this time zone for eight days now and the darn jet lag just does not go away. I am kind of awake in the morning, cannot possibly keep my eyes open from 11am to 2pm, but then luckily by 5pm (which is 8am Canadian time) I am fully operational and ready to face whatever comes my way. And it stays that way until midnight, or 1am or 4am like today...

To be honest I was a bit dumb on this one. We had a guest last night and my husband prepared his famous espresso coffee to finish off our delicious meal. I found myself staring at the bottom of the cup before I fully realised how bad that idea was. And now six hours down the line I can fully confirm that it was indeed a very bad idea.

Once I have exhausted all the possible positions of trying to get comfy in bed, I strive to be creative to occupy my mind and exhaust it enough to let my tired body sleep. The kids' lunchboxes are all prepared in the fridge and I am up to date with all the latest gossip thanks to the Daily Mail. I drank quite a bit of water to dillute the caffeine, although admittedly it is a bit hopeless. I checked my emails and facebook. I also discovered that while "jet lag" is two words, "jetlagged" is one.

Now what?

Luckily when all else fails, I have my secret weapon against dark sleepless nights: The World According to Clarkson. I really enjoy Jeremy's style. Oh yes, he can be rude and rough and uncouth, but he is also totally original and hilarious and I love the way he writes. I still don't get any sleep, but at least I learn new words, new expressions and - most importantly - have a good giggle instead of feeling endlessly sorry for myself.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The bumps

Today as I was driving down our street, Zina declared: "They growed (sic) even bigger bumps!"

Cleaning sewers, Khartoum style
Indeed, they did. Our street has never been what you'd call "flat". It is a dirt road that gets reasonable traffic. On one end, we get all the deliveries for a big restaurant, as well as the neighbours' leaking water tank, while on the other we have a bunch of OCD-ridden people who believe that washing their six cars two times a day is an absolute necessity for their survival. Since the soaping and rinsing happen on the street, that end is flooded 24/7 even in the driest of the dry season. To boot it all, a big international organisation has their headquarters smack in the middle of our street, complete with a  fleet of 348 vehicles and an equal number of stray dogs.

So we have always had bumps. Once a year someone sends a grader and they shave the bumps off. Last time - and that was a while ago - this operation was such a success, that they managed to level the whole street to where it should have been in the first place, leaving the end-of-the-street car-washing lunatic unit with their parking spots about 80cm above street level. That was quite amusing until they started parking their cars on both sides of the street, making it nearly impossible to get through.

Also once a year some other people come and dig out the sewer that runs along the road, leaving everything that came out in the middle of the road, letting it slowly become part of it as the cars drive over it. I do wonder what any functioning public health department would have to say about that...

I guess the final blow to our street's surface was the exceptionally heavy rainy season that hit Khartoum this year. There have been no rains since we came home which makes me quite disappointed but no doubt provides relief to all the other inhabitants who have first seen dry land in the last two days.

Conclusion: yes, they did grow even bigger bumps. And mark my words, they won't get any smaller either.

Monday, 27 August 2012

You are dead to me

Now I don't usually get hyped up about music videos, but this one had me giggling the whole day. I like Train as some of their songs have been dedicated to me by various people and bring back good memories. So when I heard this on the radio the other day (in Canada right, because here we are singularly lacking stations playing anything else than Middle-Easterm "Habibi-central" music), I figured I might as well look it up on youtube.

The story line is simple: the singer gets ditched by the blonde girlfriend (as it happens) and instead of owning up to it, he comes up with various excuses to explain her sudden disappearance to his mates, thereby taking both denial and "you are dead to me" to brand new heights.

This five minute clip boasts a sunbed, a cement mixer, the Grim Reaper, a rabbi, a lion, a beheading, a mariachi band in the canned goods aisle, a pig foot, some tomatoes, a Katy Perry look-alike stealing the dead woman's shoes and ... drum roll... David Hasselhof who (much to everybody's relief) is neither running on the beach in his red swimming trunks, nor trying to sing.


And the look on Hasselhof at 4:06 is absolutely priceless.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Always look on the bright side of life

Being on holidays gives you time to think about the meaning of life and where we are and where we want to go and why we are here in the first place... You know, all these philosophical questions that people have been asking themselves since the dawn of times, never really coming up with an answer that would bring total satisfaction and explain all factors. So we keep asking. Or at least I do. And it made me stressed out and worried.

I mentioned this to one of my friends this morning (name withheld), and their answer was "Meaning of Life... Too deep for me. I just want sex and food... And the odd game of golf". I laughed, but it did make me think.

For a few days now I have been reading a book by Richard Wiseman called "Rip It Up". It explores the power of "doing as if", basically saying that emotions are created by our actions and not the other way around. So the quickest way to feel happier is to smile even if we don't feel like it to begin with.

Then I came across this, as millions have at the London Olympics closing ceremony. 

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle -  that's the thing.

    And always look on the bright side of life...
    Always look on the light side of life...

How can you argue with that? It puts a grin on my face just listening to it. Talking about dancing, supposedly it is impossible to be sad while engaging in that activity. I guess this might be somewhat contested depending on who you happen to be dancing with, but in any case I am now determined to sign up for zumba classes which is the closest to dancing it will get here in Khartoum.

So I guess, at the end of the day it all boils down to taking it easy. One day at a time. Smile. Laugh. Be grateful for what you have. Do things for fun.

And a final piece of advice from Monty Python:

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Here again

I haven't been around for a while now. Haven't even checked on my blog or jotted down ideas. Just let it slip into oblivion. I didn't feel like it. I had no inspiration. I had other things to do and other things on my mind.

Then two days ago I logged in and looked at it. It is still grey with some orange highlights. It has words written by me a long time ago. Feels like eternity. It almost seems like they were penned by someone else. But unexpectedly from somewhere deep inside came the longing. The desire to be back here, to share thoughts and facts and feelings and emotions, to exorcise them by putting words onto them, to linger and let myself be immersed, to play with the language and polish it as I go. It was almost like feeling home sick.

So here I am again. No inspiration. No ideas. Not much writing skills. Just because I want to be here. I need to be here. It is my armchair by the fireplace on a cold rainy day, complete with blanket and hot coffee. A virtual home. Somewhere I belong.