1.01.2012

Gimme a damn beach...

Not a New Year's resolution kinda gal, as I strive to develop myself, my strength, my stamina, my compassion all days, all ways. I always want to find time to read more books, to practice more yoga, to let go of judgments, to save more money, to write more, etc. If anything, new moons are more monumental for me than new years...

Last year at this time I found myself returning home to Tunisia after spending the Hollydaze in Istanbul. I walked straight into a Jasmine Revolution and kaos in my neighborhood. I walked the streets of Lafayette with my partner-in-crime Stephen (thicker than thieves us) on January 13th in the early afternoon. Hours later I found myself thrown into the back of an unknown van with Cyrus & Stephen racing to the hospital with Stephen lying nearly unconscious from a gunshot wound in his upper thigh. I found myself in those moments wondering if I was going to die as our drivers headed straight into the shooting arena.

That evening I found myself at various friends flats as our neighborhood was off limits. We were all huddled around Stephen. His morphine was wearing off, and he had no other pain medications as no pharmacies were open. Eventually I found myself at Faeez, Sam & Kirsten's flat eating supper on the carpet in their living room & smoking cigarettes & drinking what little alcohol that could be scavenged up.

The next morning I found myself up early racing uneasily through the streets downtown back to Claire & Dja's flat, where Stephen was. Dja left early to try to find a pharmacy to get Stephen's prescriptions filled. More uneasiness, more cigarettes. We decided it best to chance getting outta the city & to Menzah suburbs at David's flat. Ehsan, her bf, & Liz pulled up in a car later & we painstakingly got Stephen into the car & set about our task.

David's place seemed a refuge in comparison to the war-like scene we had just come from downtown. I felt safe. Stephen had his meds, and Adrienne & Sarah were also taking refuge there. That afternoon my security was shattered when the looting started at the Monoprix Supermarket in front of David's place. For about 15 minutes we were all seized with sheer terror as we saw masked men with broken lead pipes & tire irons shattering the storefront windows below us, not knowing if they would reach the 4th floor of the flat or not. I had visions of the building on fire. I had visions of Stephen lying immobile on the couch helpless to what was going on. I had visions that I needed to stay strong for him & the group, & for myself.

The uneasy day passed into an uncomfortable night as we prepared dinner, all in somber moods with fleeting moments of joy to be alive. The next few weeks were like a drug-induced haze with Stephen & I returning to Lafayette, and setting up HQ at my flat. It almost felt like a festive atmosphere & nightly gatherings of friends at my place making huge vats of spaghetti, etc. During the daylight, with a few hours of curfew lifted, we would meet up in the hood at various cafes & drink coffee & smoke cigarettes and talk about the previous evenings events, before having to scurry off and buy food & alcohol before curfew set in for the day.

I had various house guests as well that would visit. First, there was the doctor that had to make his way to the hood daily to address Stephen's wounds. Avril, Houssem, Claire & Dja, Karim (yum!), the 2 neighborhood kids that would bring Stephen shisha every day, Annour, the chicken restaurant owner that took a liking to us, Cyrus, etc. Some of those moments will remain the happiest of times I honestly think.

It is nearly the one year anniversary of these events. I have a lot to be thankful for. Stephen is fine, and moving to G-tep! My wonderful friends in Tunis are all fine and I feel like I always have a home to return to in Tunis as I was able to share such an intense experience with it's denizens there. My friends & family elsewhere are all fine. I have a job. I get to travel. The list goes on.

 So, its not about a new year, but rather a continuous timeline of experiences & achievements that make me thirst to continue to develop myself & make connections.