Friends, I am back. After days of cleaning, shopping, packing and moving, with minimal cooking and even more minimal internet access (which I have to admit was very freeing at times), we are settled and ready to create a new version of normal.
This is what we started with in the kitchen:
Yes, that is a dried fish head. It was probably left by one of the stray cats that wander around the rooftops and occasionally try (sometimes succeeding) to enter through our open windows. Yes, we are considering getting screens; they are on the list of “Things to buy if we are going to live here for more than a few months.” Other things on the list: a TV, curtains, end tables, and a new front door.
Back to the kitchen: after two days of scrubbing, bleaching, scraping, bleaching, more scraping, and the eventual deposit of appliances and dishes, here is what we have now:
I realize these are not great pictures. It is hard to get a full view of the kitchen given that it is only about 8 ft. x 8 ft. Not joking. Some of you may have noticed that no refrigerator appears in the photos; that’s because it is not in the kitchen, but rather in the “dining room” on the other side of the half wall. I’m sure that this is shocking, especially for those of you who don’t know us personally, but we are choosing to live amongst a section of the population that most foreigners (as well as the wealthy of this region) will never see. My kitchen is comparable to that found in the majority of the “average” Arab homes. Although there are times that I get jealous of my other foreign friends, who live here with kitchens and apartments that are like little slices of America, I am happy with the path that we are on. This is the place for us.