It's that day again... So time for another story. Gather around peeps!

 NOTE: Here I am at work for 5 more days until vacation. Since most all of us on the teaching staff have little to do, I am searching for files to clean up, papers to throw away, etc. So I was looking through my blog postings and came across a few that are still in draft form... So I'm posting this one right now. It was written earlier this year in Istanbul on New Year's Eve. I was feeling melancholy due to where I was one year previously- also in Istanbul, yet on my way back to Tunisia, where I was living at the time- as opposed to this past New Year in Istanbul when I was on my way back to Gaziantep!

I believe I've posted of this event before, the Jasmine Revolution, so you can search through my blog archives to find the more in depth information. I was writing this more for myself than posting, I believe, but after re-reading it just now I feel like I want to share. It was, after all, the most intense experience of my life... I continue to write about this experience so I never forget.

So... here it is- better late than never:

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 and Stephen racing to the hospital with Stephen lying nearly unconscious from gunshot wounds in his upper thighs. 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 and Kirsten's flat eating supper on the carpet in their living room and smoking cigarettes and 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 and  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, and Liz pulled up in a car later and we painstakingly got Stephen into the car and 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 and 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 and 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 and the group, and for myself.

The uneasy day passed into an uncomfortable night as we prepared dinner, all in summer moods with fleeting moments of joy to be alive. Te next few weeks were like a drug-induced haze with Stephen and I returning to Lafayette, and setting up HQ at my flat. It almost felt like a festive atmosphere and 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 and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and talk about the previous evenings events, before having to scurry off and buy food and 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 and Dja, Karim (yum!), the 2 neighborhood kids that would bring Stephen shisha every day, 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 and 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 and achievements that make me thirst to continue to develop myself and make connections.