Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I'm afraid my life hasn't been too interesting of late. Lots of little things have happened, so I thought I’d write some vignettes.

Spaces and Singalongs
I moved into an apartment with a colleague last week. We each have a good sized bedroom and there’s a long balcony that runs the length of the apartment, but otherwise no communal space. Luckily, we get along like a house on fire so we don’t mind hanging out together. J has a little ukulele with her. She’s only been playing less than 12 months, but is already a member of a band and an orchestra, so we’ve been having little singalongs. We took it to another level on Sunday, by re-writing the lyrics of songs she knows to be about our colleagues, who we had over for a pot luck dinner. Everyone had their own song...I think my favourite is the one for our public health advisor, to the tune of Hotel California:

[Am] In a dark tented settlement, [E7] hot wind in his hair
[G] Warm smell of faeces, [D] rising up through the air
[F] Q­ ____ rolls up his shirt sleeves, [C] the hygiene’s bad here
[Dm] He pulls out his handbook to check
[E7]What he needs for Sphere

The iPod and the Smartphone
I finally took the plunge and bought a decent smartphone. It’s a Samsung Galaxy III Mini. I bought it from a little phone shop that I've been frequenting. It all started with my beloved iPod Touch soon after I arrived in Beirut. It managed to get a little silica ball (from the packet that came in my new handbag that I’d neglected to throw out that had split open and spread little balls throughout my bag) stuck right up inside the headphone jack. So I took it around to a few shops to see who would fix it, and these guys would. Unfortunately, when it came back the guy was extremely apologetic as he’d scratched the screen and couldn't find a replacement. He didn't charge me for the work they’d done and promised to keep looking. I called in a couple of weeks ago and they said that if they hadn't found a replacement in two weeks they’d give me a second hand iPod (the next generation) for free. We went back and forth on it and silly me waited too long to go back and they’d sold it to someone else. Totally my own fault, and I made the decision to buy a fancy phone instead. And not only did they give me $10 off, they also threw in a case for free. I like these guys.  

The Filter Decision 
Of course it has a camera on it, so I've joined Instagram to share such photographic wonders as my fluro orange nail polish,
 the veggies I chopped for a stirfry last night

and this morning’s stop at my favourite coffee shop in the whole world. I'm trying to use a different filter for each photo...

Keeping Time
Just days before I left for Lebanon, my watch of about 9 years finally packed it in (which may or may not have been related to a hot tub in Yemen) and I didn't have time to shop around for a proper replacement. So I bought a $19 watch from KMart. A few days into my deployment, I was telling a colleague about this and showing her the replacement watch, at which moment the band broke. I tried fixing it, I asked some guys with tools at a shop when I was buying a SIM card and they couldn't fix it. I wrapped up the little pin that had fallen out in a piece of paper and kept it safely in my purse, and in the meantime was challenged to buy the most blingtastic watch I could find for $10. I accomplished that. 
The problem of course with this $10 watch is that it didn't really keep the time too well, so when people asked me for the time I could only reply with "it might be 11:15". The other day I actually remembered to put the replacement watch into my bag as a reminder to duck into a watch shop when I found one. And since I now live in the best street ever, of course there was one just down the road. I handed it over to the guy along with the little pin that I had kept so safe, and he immediately fumbled it and spent the next few minutes moving furniture around to find it. It took him less time to actually fix it. And wouldn't you know it, after four months this watch has still kept the time..it somehow even managed to work itself onto daylight savings time! 

Fire! Fire! 
And this, excitement just at hand. We thought we could smell smoke, but didn't think too much of it. Then looked out the office window to see a fire truck. No-one seemed to be making much of a fuss, the firemen were just hanging around beside the truck, so we stayed put. About 10 minutes later a couple of firemen ambled very casually into the office and checked each room...the fact that we were all sitting very calmly at our desks didn't seem to indicate to them that there probably wasn't a fire in our office, and they ambled on out. They're still parked downstairs, I'm not sure what's going on, but there doesn't seem to be a fire....

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