We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat?

Well, since they don't really do Halloween the way we might in the States, Sawyer got all dressed up with no place to go. We found this costume in a big collection of clothes that belong to some friends of ours, and he just begged to try it on. We thought about going to the neighbors' houses to see if they would give him any candy. But since he only has one tooth, the candy wouldn't do him much good anyway.
Just for the record, he's a Cleburne Yellow Jacket,
not a Georgia Tech one.

Fun Kid Pictures

Here are some fun pictures from the last month or so. One morning Lee Anna decided she wanted to help us get breakfast ready by pouring Mommy's cereal. She found out those Cheerios come out pretty fast! Here she is sporting pigtails for the first time. When I finished
fixing them, she went to the mirror and said, "Boosi, ana gameela!"
(Look, I'm beautiful!)

Here's Sawyer sitting in the high chair for the first time. He didn't actually eat anything in there, but he was much happier sitting at the table with us than he was being banished to the playpen while we ate. It makes us pretty happy to see those grins while we eat, too.

And here he is having some fun in the playpen. He scooted all
around the inside of the playpen,
and then he ran out of real estate.
Stop, Sawyer! Stop!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

American Pizza?

Almost. When you have two little ones in your family, it's a lot easier to order in than to go out to a restaurant or to cook, so we have a steady line of delivery guys coming to our door at meal time. Sometimes, when the doorbell rings Lee Anna yells, "PIZZA!!!". But Pizza delivery here isn't exactly the same as it is there. First, pork products aren't allowed, so we get "beef pepperoni" or "beef bacon." Our friend says the pepperonis make it like a "summer sausage pizza." Second, if you order a "pepperoni" pizza, you get pepperoni, plus mushrooms and olives. And the olives here are a lot stronger than any pizza topping in America, so we usually nix those.

Yes, those are ketchup packets in the box with the pizza. It's not bad, but I can live without ketchup on my pizza.

Speaking of delivery guys--I called Quizno's recently to order a sandwich for lunch. The guy answered and I said "Good afternoon, how are you?" in Arabic and the guy responded, "Oh 54b!" he's been here enough to know our address just from my bad American accent. Maybe we should cook more?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ramadan Kareem!

About a month ago, right before Ramadan started, we had our local friends over for dinner. We thought it might be beneficial to ask them some questions about this month-long holiday we were about to get into. After they told us about the eating all night and fasting all day, he asked if we'd like to "see it."

We weren't exactly sure what he meant, because it was still a week before the holiday started, but we all piled into his taxi anyway and headed for a different part of town. Where they took us was apparently "Ramadan Central." We were only able to get a few pictures before our camera battery died, and the pictures aren't really able to do the scene justice. Basically, you can get the idea by looking at the picture below and imagining 20 of those lined up right beside each other. And that's just on one street. Then we would turn the corner and see 20 more stands just like it on the next street. We were amazed.

What are they selling, you ask? It's a special Ramadan lantern called a "fanoose." They--along with Christmas-style colored lights--are the main form of Ramadan decoration. People hang them from their apartment balconies, in front of their buildings, some even from their rear view mirrors. There's no real religious significance, and no one knows for sure where the tradition came from, but it definitely adds to the festiveness of the holiday. Even the Coke cans have pictures of a fanoose this time of year.

The typical fanoose might be 18 inches tall, made of tin and colored glass. But they come in all sizes, from small plastic key-chain models to 6-foot-tall ones that are too heavy to hang up. And they're made of really cheap materials like recycled tin cans so everybody needs a new one every year. (Job security rules here).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We're still alive!

Yes, we're still here! We've got lots of cool things to write about, but can't seem to stay well long enough to write them. We've run the gamut the last few weeks--stomach bugs, colds, eye infections, new teeth, you name it! On top of that, Lee Anna took a dive headfirst from Sawyer's crib to the ceramic tile floor last week, so she's got a huge goose egg on her forehead.

Assuming we live through this, we'll get back to posting soon.