Dusk to dawn

Afghanistan is still very much part of my life. On this day, my 60th, my first congratulations came over Skype from Kabul. M called and it made my day. I am sitting downstairs in the sitting room of the old hotel where my siblings and most of their offspring gather yesterday. The calm and quiet of the living room (I am the only guest from the entire hotel) with the extreme noise of us dining together last night.

The calm and quiet and warmth also contrasts with the howling wind and rain outside. The weather is even worse than I had imagined. All night the wind was like a wild animal nipping at our windows, banging into the roof of the hotel where we sleep under the eaves. But when I planned this trip this is exactly the weather I was longing for in hot, dusty and dry Kabul.

Our clipper ship experience was great albeit a bit cramped as we slid into our berths. The next morning we walked all over Groningen center to admire the city, visit the market and trying to unlock our phones. That it was a young man from Kabul who did this and sold Axel a new phone is hardly surprising. Fate keeps pushing us in the way of Afghans or Iranian. I have had more chances to practice my Dari in the last 2 days than in the last 2 months.

We drove to a tiny town north of Groningen to pick up my grandmother’s restored cookbook. The restoratrix introduced us to her husband, a doctor who used to live in Ken, who is now a coin collector. She herself used to be a biologist specialist in penguins but found bookbinding to be more than a hobby. She did a great job and I can now use the cookbook again.

We were received by the couple as if we were family. We got a tour of their enormous barn and living quarters and marveled about this beautiful moneypit. We got some glimpses of what the house may have looked like nearly a century ago.

By the time we arrived at the ferry terminal it was dusk. So I never quite saw where we arrived. Now it is dawn. In addition to hearing the bad weather I can now also see it.

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December 2011
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