Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Law of 3's

It always seems like good things come in 3's. In my first three days in Iraq this has definitely been true. Here's a little glimpse of my "morning 3's."

3 Inches of Joy. This is the 3 in. mat I sleep on every night up on the roof. Just add a pillow and you have yourself a good nights rest! Some nights it's good to have a blanket handy just in case it rains like this morning. These past few nights I've slept the best I've slept in a long time.
3 minutes of...coldness. From the mat to the shower. We don't have electricity in the morning so most of the showers aren't the warmest. Hence...3 minutes of coldness.
3 combinations of goodness. This is the best tea I think I've ever had. So long Lipton! You have to buy three different kinds of teas, mix them all together to get this cup of perfection. Heat the water for a couple minutes, put in 3 pinches of tea. When it starts to whistle...put in a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cardomin. If this isn't a reason to come to Iraq, I don't know what is!
The 3 drawers of dysfunction. With my tea in hand I make my way over to the office (around the corner from the kitchen). This is my desk. I love this thing. You can't lean back in the chair because it looks like it could hold you up but trust can't. The three drawers are all relying on the bottom one for support. So if you have to get in the bottom one, you have to first lift out the top 2, then you're in. I'm not too worried that I can't lock them though. If someone can get in the drawers fast enough to steal something....they've earned it!

Can it get any better than this? I honestly don't think so.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not in Kansas anymore...

Have you ever seen those magnets on a fridge that have a collage of cartoon faces expressing different emotions? So for each day you can move the magnet over a different face to say, "Today I feel...(fill in the blank.) " There's one of these right across from my desk right now and if they had a giant magnet that covered every emotion, I think I could put it up to describe this past week. Exhausted, confident, excited, bored, suspicious, you name it I felt it! Needless to say, we made it safely to Iraq! It was such a ridiculously long trip. It all started with us showing up to check in at the airport only to find out our tickets were canceled! We all just laughed but it turned out to work out for the best. We got on with another airline and booked a flight straight to Germany. Then we flew into Frankfurt and had a short 14 hour lay over! (Can you start imagine different emotions that may have come out?) So in the subway I met a local and she told us about all the good local spots that we could see in the city, so we checked our bags and spent the day in Germany! We walked all over, saw some sites, looked in some stores, slept next to the Main River, paid to use the restrooms (Give me a break Germany!) , and ate some good German food. Then at 9:30 we got back on a plane and went to Turkey. I got to be honest. Turkey looked so beautiful from the sky, but on the ground I wasn't impressed. It just gave me the wrong "vibe" I guess. But...I think with all of the traveling up to that point, Disneyland would have given me the wrong vibe. We took another flight to another airport in Turkey and then crammed all our bags into one little taxi and made our way to Iraq. This is when it started to get fun. Checkpoint after checkpoint after checkpoint. I really didn't understand why they had so many checkpoints. If you're questioned and inspected and the whole nine yards at one checkpoint, why would they need to do it again a quarter mile down the road? I guess a lot can change in a quarter of a mile. I was so excited to get out of Turkey and the moment we got to Iraq it was like we entered a different world altogether. We were greeted so warmly, given tea, and of course lovingly inspected multiple more times. So to make it short, 2 more days of driving...we're here! So, this is my first blog. I obviously could talk about so many other things but hey...what's the point of a blog if you share everything in one day? If you guys ever have questions, things you want me to talk about, requests, complaints...just let me know. This is for you. Until then...Xwa Hafiz.

Ushered from Turkey to Iraq.
That's me under the tree making the most out of our 14 hour layover in Frankfurt!