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January 21, 2001
January 31, 2001
February 12, 2001
February 28, 2001
March 9, 2001
March 26, 2001
April 12, 2001
April 29, 2001
May 14, 2001
May 31, 2001
June 18, 2001
July 17, 2001
August 15, 2001
September 23, 2001
November 6, 2001
November 27, 2001
January 18, 2002
November 20, 2002


Installment 16: November 27, 2001

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I was thankful for:

  • Good cheap wine
  • Being alive
  • How clear the air looks in November
  • The absurdity of my current life
  • Having seven cats (five of them kittens, with both mothers fixed. Go figure.)
  • How Bisquick becomes pancakes
  • Learning to think outside my own mind
  • Learning to live outside my own world
  • Star Club in the tree outside the kitchen window (most recently resembling either a tree fort or a huge pile of trash, depending on your perspective, but full of kids)
  • Spelunking
  • My family
  • My friends
  • People who I used to not like much but now kind of enjoy

Of course the list goes on. These are just the high points. I only had time to partially get it down before we were late for the Ambassador’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Bets are still coming in over how Jimmy and I snuck onto the guest list for that one. A cosmic joke? A ploy to force us out of sweatpants for the first Thanksgiving ever? A master plan to broaden our culinary horizons to pumpkin crème brulee? An FBI-sponsored test to determine if, given my presence, rubber giblets would find their way into the gravy?

Who knows. In any case, we ate small servings of green beans with some really important people. Of course I can’t remember who they were now, and I didn’t know then either. I had to learn the next day when people said things like, “I heard you met the famous Lordos!” I would smile noncommittally and then use context clues to deduce just who Lordos was (the guy I spent a good five minutes describing my favorite wine bottle label to) or the famous Nepalese UN general, who only wanted to talk about my tattoo (see mom, it did me some good after all). Apparently my tattoo looks like an Edel Weiss. The only thing I said was the only time I had heard of an Edel Weiss was on Sound of Music.

But I have had much more time to figure out for myself who these famous people are now that I am out of a job. Sort of. In the unending saga that is heretofore known as “My Life in Cyprus,” I was hurriedly ushered into a hectic, demanding new position in August, only to be yanked out of it four months later. This development is due to a nasty accident with some fancy bureaucratic machinery called the State Department, and more specifically with a useless requirement for my job known as a security clearance.

You may remember that this little boil has also plagued my husband of late. In my case, my official hiring is dependent on this investigation which has to take place in the US and which is carried out by some characters – oops, I mean contractors – who work for the FBI who go to every place I’ve ever lived (whew – can’t envy those guys!) and then report back to Washington that I have never practiced Falun Gong. Apparently since September 11 this process is even lengthier, which means that I don’t have a job until they start doing theirs. In any case, if they call you tell them I never said anything but good stuff about them.

In the interest of lemonade, I am hoping to go to Rome next week. Also in the interest of something like lemonade, Jimmy and I have found the next best thing to margarita mix at a grocery store near us. Yet another reason to say “thanks.”

Jimmy is in Madrid this week, enjoying tapas bars (misconstrued over the telephone as “topless bars”) and statistics class with Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. In Cyprus news, the leaders of the two sides of the island (the president and the “president”) will meet on December 4 for the first time in four years.

There are high hopes for talks to resume, but tensions are also running high. The southern part of the island is on course for EU accession at the end of next year, and Turkey has recently threatened to annex the north if Greek Cypriot Cyprus joins the EU before a solution is found to the division of the island. I won’t say the war drums are beating or anything, but the politicians are saying it is the most crucial time since 1974, when the island was split in two. Actually I think they’ve said that about six other times before.

Despite the fact that we’re a lot closer to the Middle East and Afghanistan than most of you, we still get our news on the CNN and New York Times website. It’s ironic, I guess, but we probably have more to worry about for you then vice versa. But I guess it’s just a strange and scary time for everyone in the world. That may have something to do with why I was a little homesick on Thanksgiving, but I’ll spare you the other list I made of things I miss about home. Mainly because it includes chai skim mile lattes.

We love you and miss you! Please write soon and let us know what’s happening on your side of the Prime Meridian.

Jimmy and Janie



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