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neurotic Iraqi wife

July 03, 2005

Date Trees of the Euphrates...

Im so sorry for not writing for so long. Things have been pretty hectic here. Work is never ending and by the time Im done Im too knackered to do anything. I so feel out of touch with the outside world, and btw, although Im here in Baghdad I still get my news from the net since we arent allowed to leave the vicinity of the Green Zone. The only thing that makes me know Im really here are the date trees...They are the only sense of Iraqism in the Green Zone...

Im trying to convince HUBBY to sneak out, just for an hour, just to see how things are beyond the T walls....But HUBBY aint having it, says its too risky. I guess I will have to keep on trying and maybe learn some new seducing tactics inorder to get my way....

Its been 5 weeks since Ive been here, and boy oh boy you get to learn so many things. Maybe learn is not the right word, the magic word is actually "Appreciate". 2 or 3 weeks ago water supplies were pretty scarce here in the GZ. We were told to use water only if necessary. The first day was a bugger, the second day you tend to realise that this is a normal way of living for Iraqis. By the third day, you dont even give a damn if you stink, you just make the best out of it by using bottled water to wash up or whatever water is available.

As for insects and cockroaches, they used to make me scream so loud and jump out of my seat. The other day, as we were getting ready for bed, I saw one on the wall, that jumped onto my duvet. Squashed it and went to bed, didnt spend a single thought over it. Do you change when you are here????You sure do. You become accepting to many things you never thought you could tolerate in normal circumstances. And the only reason for this tolerance is the fact that you cant do much about it anyway....

Ok now when it comes to toilets ahem ahem. HUBBY and I tend to go to this place where they have the infamous shredded lamb that HUBBY lived on before I got here. The Iraqi name for that dish is Gus. Well that place is actually off limits to us cuz of the so called "danger" associated with Iraqi food restaurants, but WE ARE IRAQIES and so we dont mind going there. Its actually in the GZ so we really aint violating any rules. In anycse, that particular day we left in such a haste that I forgot to go to the loo. By the time we reached there, my bladder was exploding. I asked HUBBY if there was a womens toilet, he looked at me in a cheeky way and said no Hon, but there is a toilet and I dont advice you to see it. I tried to keep it in but couldnt anymore. Said to HUBBY pls I gotto go. As we went outside the restaurant, HUBBY pointed at a trailer.I looked there were men washing up. I waited until they were done, as I entered, OMG,OMG flies, flies everywhere and the place stank. I went in so quick and emptied my bladder in less than 10 seconds making sure my mouth is sealed shut and my, sry, butt cheeks are as close together as possible as not to allow the flies in. Now that was one hell of an experience....

Work wise, Im loving it. Im learning about things I never dreamt I would. But inside politics plays quite abit here. I believe its normal in every work place. But I have to tell you about this Iraqi lady. She kills me. She works with HUBBY and loves to boss people around. The first 2 weeks here was hell since HUBBY and I would argue about her all the time. He keeps telling me she is nice, and I aint disputing this, but she tends to interfere in every single thing we do. If we wanna go have dinner she comes along, if we are going for a smoke she comes along, we moved to new digs she became our neighbour, and at one point HUBBY would refer to her and him as we!!!!HELLLOOOOOOOO. He would be like, we are going to go to bla bla you wanna come???Umm hell no HUBBY, its supposed to be me and you as "we", not the other way. I think its gonna take a long time for him to realise that he aint alone no more. I had reached a point of breakdown 2 weeks ago, it became really unbareable and I missed home. I missed the unconditional affection.... But hey am ok now, got over it or trying to....

What else can I tell you??? Hmm, yeah theres this one thing which I kinda find very very upsetting. Its the way people distinct Iraqis who live here by calling them Local Nationals, and us who came from outside "Expats". I mean yeah the meanings are spot on, but the distinctions are made pretty obvious by being treated differently. Im Iraqi yet I hold a UK passport therefore Im treated with respect....I walk past checkpoints and all they do is look at the multiple ID's we all tend to carry with us and let us go. Yet the "Local Nationals" are searched everysingle time they go and come in. I know its a security issue, but being Iraqi myself I have very mixed feelings. I cant stand it when there's a huge queue of my people in this scorching heat and there I am prancing through. I tend to lower my head low, and walk real fast.

They say theres gonna be a transitional period where Iraqi people will take over some of the organisations. They are the ones that are getting trained here. But when I talk to them theres this slight contempt, they say we stopped believing what they tell us until we see it in our eyes. A few smile at me and tell me, "you dont have to worry, you are not a Local National, you are an expat, if you wanna leave this place you can do it anytime, but WE, WE are stuck here....Although my work is more onthe finance side, and not construction, I try my best to make people lives better by bridging the gap between us and by correcting their conception of us "expats" being more important than them. Cuz that is exactly how they feel.

Ive been blabbing along, and I can barely see what I have been writing since Ive shrunk the window to a real small size....If I didnt make sense then please do excuse me. I apologize, am writing so fast....

I guess I better go now, I better go and walk past the Date trees, The Date trees of the Euphrates.....
posted by neurotic_wife at 7:25 PM 47 comments