|With my friend's cabbage patch baby|
|He makes that bandage look good.|
My new apartment is perfectly fine for me, except that my downstairs neighbor and I are in a feud. I mean, he’s kind of a skeevy guy, and I would have tried to develop a healthy frigidity between us, but his very inconsiderate parking habits have pushed our relationship into enemy territory. Note: spell check is not recognizing “skeevy” as a word. I don’t think I made it up, but if the spelling is wrong, I blame learning French. It ruins your spelling. Is it “address” or “adresse” or “projet” or “project” or “apartment” or “appartement”? Nobody knows anymore.
I also had a couple of days without electricity, as we were trying to figure out the payment system for the electricity and it took us a while. I was disappointed in myself for being as frustrated as I was by that. I mean, I’ve lived without electricity in my house for more than a year in South Sudan, but I guess I thought I’d paid my dues or something. Frustrating things are really only frustrating if you weren’t expecting them. I got over it and bought some candles and nearly set my hair on fire a couple of times, so it ended up OK.
|I don't know if this will work, but|
this is the face of Evil.
|In case the video doesn't work.|
After moving into my new house, I went on a couple of trips to the field. One to Mongo/Bitkine with the lovely Rhyan and her father, as she had been begging me to take her out of N’Djamena from the moment I met her, and I wanted to oblige because I like making people’s dreams come true. I would make a great fairy godmother. Better than the Cinderella one because I don’t believe in enforcing curfews like a dictator. But Cinderella’s fairy G-mom and I did provide similarly fragile dream-transportation vehicles. Or at least I have the driving skills of a dog turned into a human. Two times in two days I popped the tire and had to change it and get it fixed. The first time, some chivalrous men drove by and helped. I allowed it because they didn’t really look like serial killers (though you never know and that’s why you should be able to change a tire by yourself) and because they had a fancy air-pump jack, and mine was particularly rusty and hard to turn. The second time, I did it myself. The first time it was a direct result of reckless driving, the second time it was a result of driving a vehicle over roads that were never intended for small cars. But they were troopers, and I think it just added to the adventure of the journey. I mean, if you never know when the driver is going to pop a tire, you can never fully relax. Or you shouldn’t, at any rate, because she will drive 140-150kmh if it looks like everyone is asleep and not paying attention to her…
|Enjoying the view|
|Sewing teacher trying on the dresses.|
He makes that dress look good.
|What's in the box? Oh, you thought I could|
get out of Bitkine without bringing a live chicken back to N'Djamena with me?
|A poster of animals in the guest house where I stayed.|
I'm thinking one of these animals hopped a long way from home
or else Africa is getting way more exotic than it used to be.
After that trip, I had a few days at home, and I used one afternoon to bake Christmas cookies with my favorite Chadian kids. They helped for about 10 minutes and spent the rest of the time watching movies on my computer and eating candy and drinking soda that I bought them. Best day every for them, and they are so much cute.
|I think Sefora single-handedly|
drank all the soda. You can see it in her eyes.
This is why we get along--mutual love of sugar.
|These kids are my neighbors now and I love it.|
Then I had a Christmas party for N’Djamena people before two of our expat staff went home to their respective countries for Christmas. We had Lebanese food (their choice) and cookies (courtesy of me and the Adorables) and candy (courtesy of Leif, who listened to me and did not send licorice. He is slowly realizing that normal non-Viking people do not like it.). Then I had to drive to Abeche to meet the drilling team there, share more cookies with drillers and by standers, have another end of the year party, and get into another feud, which I think I have amicably resolved now. Then there were several days of office work, involving lots of planning, lots of French meetings, and lots of signing checks and receipts and proposals. And now somehow I am in America. I hope I will be able to get on a not-delayed flight to Nashville and fix my non-functioning sim card with minimal effort. I know I’ll have fun with the family, and I won’t write again until next year, so breathe easy.
|Christmas cookies and roasted goat meat. Festive!|
|These guys love a good Christmas tree-shaped cookie.|
|Radwan says, "I look like an American now, right?"|
|I interrupted this meeting to serve cookies because I'm a girl and I do that.|
See you in 2017. If you decide that you want to come visit me in Chad. Or if we happen to meet up in some airport or some other interesting country. Or if you invite me to come spend my R&Rs at your house. So many possibilities… Merry Christmas!