Happy 2008!

What better way to start off the year than with a recap of the old one as it played out here on Planet Nomad? I can’t think of anything–can you? So grab an extra cup of coffee, relax, sit back, ignore your family, and read on.

What, you weren’t thinking that? Oh well. You can skip this post, although I will mention that we managed to get the last group of pictures off my old camera, the one with the dust in it and the card that no computer or card-reader could read, and I wanted to attach them to the posts that match, mostly from July. I’m also including some pictures from last January that I never posted. I’ll start with our Christmas decorations from last year…a Moroccan lantern and an origami creche.

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In the meantime, here are some highlights from 2007:

JANUARY

Mona, who is technically Not Our Cat, has 3 kittens under the flamboyant tree on New Year’s Eve. She eventually moves them to the corner of the porch. They are named Pirate and Legolas and Aragorn II. In mid-month, someone drops off a 2-week-old puppy in our yard. His eyes are open but he doesn’t even know how to drink from a bowl yet. Needless to say, the children are instantly in LO-OVE and we end up keeping him, although Donn warns darkly of the turmoil to come when we leave in July. I ignore him. Of course he’s right. And of course, I’m the only one who “hears” that tiny puppy calling in the night and has to get up to do feedings for a dog. Never again.

mona-and-kittens.jpg

elliot-and-baby-weston.jpg ( I know these are poor quality and Donn is horrified that I’m posting them, but oh well. In this case, maybe the picture is only worth 500 words, but think of it as saving time)

 

Also, I post a series of eventful events that happened before we got internet; a retrospect, as it were. One is on the Near Coup; one is on taking bush taxis, which necessitated peeing by the side of the road in full view of a waiting taxi and interested villagers; one is on the locust plague of 2004.

I also muse on the meaning of beauty and Mauritanian marriages and pregnancies.

 

FEBRUARY

 

I muse on trash, and write about adventures in eating and how I did NOT eat the goat turd.

We take our annual trip to the desert with 2 other families. Highlights include seeing two crocodiles that are 2-3 meters long, from a great distance thankyouverymuch, and a freaky crab-spider looking bug, big as a fist, which was thankfully NOT a scorpion. Another highlight includes being turned bright orange thanks to blowing sand and no AC in the car.

MARCH

The twins turn 10 and have separate birthday parties on consecutive weekends, both involving sleepovers. I vow Never Again. In the real news, Mauritania holds their first free-and-fair democratic presidential elections.

Globalism continues to affect our daily lives. And I have a small accident.

school-parking.jpg (This pic was taken on a different day and only begins to hint at what it’s really like. Just realize that all those cars are parked, and that that is a road not a parking lot.)

APRIL

I go to a wedding without my camera, but I write a long word-description. I refuse to be offended when told I’ve lost weight. Also, thesis students begin to get nasty and I let Ilsa talk me into doing a Camp Fun & Games, also known as 24 Hours of Hell. The new president is inaugurated, and I don’t have a small accident.
Donn’s photo exposition opens at the National Museum of Mauritania, although I don’t write about it till…

MAY

There’s the photo exposition. There’s the wedding where I remember my camera. There are more surly thesis students and beach trips. We spend the last week doing a whirlwind tour of Morocco, 4 cities in 8 ½ days. It’s fascinating, beautiful, and has a very nice train system.

JUNE
We begin this month in Philadelphia. We reunite joyfully with our children, who have been bickering with each other via emails sent to us. I deal mostly with thesis students, but also work out at the gym. It’s hot. I muse on camels and cars and the benefits of both. Thesis students continue to dominate my life.

JULY

I begin this month with a post written on July 4th about 3 inspiring thesis students and a teacher who still makes me mad. I muse about camels some more, write about moving and dealing with all our possessions, and dust, and students, and by the end of the month we have said all our many and difficult goodbyes and landed here, in Portland, Oregon.

twins-and-carpet.jpg

the-laborers.jpg

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Saying goodbyes was excruciating, not least of all to Weston, that dang dog.

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weston-and-twins.jpg

This shows the view of our neighbour’s yard and the area in front, taken from our rooftop.

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This shows some of the new construction–I always meant to write a post about how Africans use colour so much differently than Americans do. This house, painted pepto-bismal pink, is a good example. In front is a tent family with all their possessions.

pepto-bismal-house-and-tent-family.jpg

Here’s the twins playing soccer with the neighbour kids.

twins-playing-soccer.jpg

 

AUGUST

I go through reverse culture shock in public. I write about that long, transatlantic and transcontinental voyage.

asleep-in-casa.jpg

elliot-sleeps.jpg

(These were taken at 6 a.m. in the Casablanca airport, after we’d been up all night. How I wish I could sleep so easily!)

I write about my henna, and here are pictures that Ilsa took during the actual process!

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close-up-henna-fingers.jpg

This is the market, waiting for Aicha’s driver to come back with Aicha. Note Ilsa’s profile as I took the picture through the car window, trying to be subtle since Mauritanians in general don’t welcome photographers.

african-market-with-ilsa-profile.jpg

We go to California, where I am positive for a change, and nice to be with, and I write in agonizing detail about our trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, over Labour Day Weekend.

SEPTEMBER

Which of course how September starts, with that trip. I also write about our trip to Disneyland and my musings on the 6th anniversary of Sept. 11th. We go hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, which probably helps me adjust to my home culture more quickly than anything else. I try to get the kids set up doing a French correspondence course.

OCTOBER

We begin the month by celebrating our birthdays/anniversary with a night away. We finally get to unpack our suitcases and move out of Heather’s basement! I continue to publicly adjust to life in America. The kids finally start school. I take Ilsa shopping at a crafts store and survive the horror. The kids have a wonderful time going treat-or-treating for the first time.

NOVEMBER

Once again, I refuse to post every day. I remember Guy Fawkes Day and my friends in Mauritania, and I attend an international party wearing a muluffa and very high heels, and feel rather conspicuous. We go to California again for Thanksgiving, and I am grumpy about retail shopping.

DECEMBER

Our first Christmas in America since 2000. We get an enormous, perfect tree, buy lots of presents for our children, and enjoy ourselves tremendously, even when tripping out about the disparities of this planet.

I write a long blog post recapping the year, which takes me forever. I’m not going to do that again in a hurry.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at Planet Nomad! Here’s to another year of blogging and leaving lots of comments.

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