Happy 2007! We started this year as we have started almost all years that Donn and I have been together—listening to U2’s song “New Year’s Day.” This year, we got to watch it—for Christmas, friends back home sent us the DVD of their latest tour.
New Year’s Eve was uneventful. It was the Eid al-Adha—Feast of Sacrifice, known locally as the Eid al-Hahm (literally Feast of Meat, kind of like when Americans refer to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day) or Tabaski, which is the Wolof term. (Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, but it’s had a fair influence here even on the Arabic dialect) The Eid al-Adha is one of the 3 main Muslim holidays. This one celebrates the story of Abraham’s offering of his son; in the Muslim version of the story, the son was Ishmael. If you can (and of course if you are muslim), you must kill a sheep. If you can’t, you should try to share one between several families. If you are rich, you should share your sheep with the poor.

When you walk out of your front door on a major feast day, you see several sheep, throats slit, lying on the ground. We went to bed Saturday night to the bawling of the neighbour’s feast-day sheep, penned in the yard and very unhappy about it.

Usually, feast days include lots of invitations to celebrate with friends. Even if you are not specifically invited, it’s good to stop by your friends’ houses, spend some time with them. Once again, everyone has new clothes.

But I was tired. Outside the sky was red with dust and the air was full of it; in the space of a couple of hours, our yard went from green to sand coloured. It wasn’t a very nice day to go visiting, and no one had specifically invited us. So I stayed home with the windows shut and pretended it was just New Year’s Eve. A stray cat who has adopted us (named Mona after one of Ilsa’s friends) had 3 tiny kittens under our flamboyant tree—2 black and 1 tabby-striped, tiny and wriggly and adorable. The kids are still nose-in-books from Christmas, when all 3 got riches practically without measure in the form of an entire BOX of Scholastic books (split among the 3) from a friend who’s a school-teacher. I’m still stunned by her generosity. The children surface for meals and showers, but other than that we’ve hardly seen them all week.

In the evening, 2 families joined us for a mellow, low-key celebration. One family brought their video projector, and we all watched a movie and ate popcorn. At midnight, we played U2. We realized that Donn and I have done this every year (we think) that we’ve been together, which is a really long time as we dated several years before we got married.

We slept in this morning, then spent the afternoon with friends at a big party. Happy New Year.

Resolutions? Naaw. Life’s too unpredictable.

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