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January 21, 2001
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November 20, 2002

Cyprus

Installment 18: November 20, 2002

Greetings,

I have been dreading beginning this for months because I didn't know how I would do the apology: Should I offer penance for letting such a long time pass between installments? Or should I beg forgiveness for reviving the genre at all?

I couldn't decide, so I decided to skip it all together. If any of you are really curious about why you haven't received installments for months, you can call me and ask. I will probably either tell you that you have a really boring life or give you an even more boring answer. So I wouldn't waste your change.

The fact is that it looks like our time in Cyprus is coming to an end. Actually, it doesn't look that way. Wait, yes it does. Whoops, now it doesn't. I can tell you for sure that the moving company lady came yesterday to look (with some disdain) at all of our stuff that the movers will come to pack on December 2. However, I can't tell you whether on December 2 the movers will actually be rolling up our plates in newspaper and carting them away in boxes.

The reason is this: two weeks ago Jimmy was unwittingly embroiled in a political drama at the Embassy that has left our immediate life plans up in the air. The tawdry story involves important diplomats, a senior in high school, golf buddies and - of course - money. It does not include project priorities, Cypriots, or water. It does include - did I mention this? - money. Now, for my dime, this is a much more interesting story than why the Cyprus installments fell off the wagon. So if you call, call about this one.

In either case, we will be returning to the US on December 13. Whether we stay there or come back here for another six months sometime in January is the question at hand. I just wanted to let you all in on the drama mainly so that you would know. Actually, the main reason is so I could complain, in a semi-public forum, about being jerked around. But secondly I wanted you to know. And thirdly, I should use this space (assuming you're still reading, not dancing around the room to party music at the thought of not sharing a country with us for a while longer) to advance my own personal agenda.

Section A: I would mention that, should we stay in Cyprus, this spring would be a fabulous time for visitors. Airfares are low, a historical moment is in the wings as a united Cyprus is (hopefully) just around the corner, and full-out war with Iraq is still a whole night's nightmare away. But most of all, Cyprus is still beautiful and wonderful and the air is so clear you can see the houses tucked in the little mountain villages from our front porch. Of course, should we be in Austin, spring is also a good time to come to Texas. There is no political settlement there, and no mountains with villages - but there is still war on the news and the air is kind of nice.  

Section B: there's a chance that we may need someone to rent Clawson until July 1 should we return to Cyprus after Christmas. We would much rather rent to someone we know, trust and can feel comfortable prank calling in the middle of the night, so if any of you are interested, please speak up. Actually, you'll have to send an email or call too, since it might be hard to hear you.

I know that this is no way to look for a renter, especially since everything is still unclear, but so many people have been doing things lately that are not the way to do anything at all that I have decided to be part of the problem. Anyway, the older I get, the more I think this whole "part of the solution" thing is just one big fairy tale in life they tell us to make us stop threatening each other. But that is only in my bleaker moments.

In more upbeat news, Jimmy is currently in London for work. Up until now he has designed and installed a functioning, snazzy hydrologic database in government offices all over Cyprus. It makes charts and graphs and people love him so much for it that they call him at all hours screaming when something goes wrong. I am not working at a real job but am practicing at being an investigative reporter and writing a book about Cyprus. I am interviewing people and collecting their stories on my handy new digital recorder that is the size of a stick of chewing gum. A few weeks ago I spent twelve days in Turkey traveling around and hiking and drinking apple tea out of tiny hourglass-shaped glasses. If you haven't been to Turkey, get there.

This weekend, we went to our second Marine Corps Ball since our arrival in Cyprus. I wore a dress from a thrift store in Riverside, California (thanks Connell and Catherine!) with so many fake jewels up top that you need upper-body conditioning just to stand up straight. But the ball was fun enough. The Marines chanted, "March on the cake!" (I have no idea why they do this, but they always do) and I played air guitar to Bryan Adams, which people seemed to generally think was strange.

So I will send more news as soon as it comes tick, tick, ticking across the wire. We miss you all like crazy, are desperate for your news and hope to see tons of you at Christmastime and soon thereafter.

Much much love,
Janie and Jimmy   

 

 

     

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