Thursday, May 31, 2007

News Flash

Today I had a doctor appointment with another specialist to see if I can find a reason for the continual pain in my right hip--the pain that was supposed to be taken care of 11 months ago with the surgery...sigh. It's Back!!

Anyway, among the many things we ruled out were lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia---Whew.

But, one thing he has postulated that could be a cause: (here's the news flash)

I have flat feet.

He pointed this out while examining various tendons and pressure points to rule out several of those other icky diseases one wouldn't wish on an enemy.

Yes!! Flat feet!! Once again, a master of the obvious, noting that I have no arches. When I get out of the pool it looks like Donald Duck was walking on my patio. I even have knobby knees because of my life time of pronated ankles and totally, like a pancake, with no curve whatsoever, FLAT FEET. Yes, I knew that.

Anyway, his point being (and I don't mean to ridicule him--he is an excellent doctor and I really feel confident in his plan to get more data from blood tests and look into this further) that perhaps this is a muscular-skeletal problem from a life time of odd-feet. Hey...weirder things have happened.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Grad Student

I almost forgot! I have been accepted to San Jose State University in the School of Library and Information Science master's degree program. I got an e-mail on Friday telling me so. I don't live in California so they let me in their special all on-line program. I feel a little nervous now that I've actually been told "yes". It seemed like a great idea a few months ago when my daughter suggested it...I hope it continues to be a great idea as I pursue this degree. I realize that I enjoy sitting in classes and asking questions of an actual person most of the time. On the other hand, not having to drive to a location away from home, after working all day, also seems like a massive luxury.

I'll probably need to replace the laptop that was stolen from our house and clean off my desk in the spare room. My real concern is that I'm starting at a new school with a completely different format (I'm going to teach writing to a series of fourth grade classes) plus start grad school all the same week in August. Whew. Nothing ever happens one at a time in real life, does it?

Anyway, at the other end of the odyssey will be a master's degree that I can use in school as a librarian, or I can go to work at a library if I ever get completely burned out on school. I can also work part-time as an old lady, too, as life goes on and the full-time gig becomes too difficult. At the very least, I'll be able to advance on the salary scale in my district. Library work--it seems like letting the fox guard the chicken coop in my case--how will I ever get anything done surrounded by all those words I haven't read yet??

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my sister's birthday. I'm 54, she would have been 53, but she died two years ago. We were born 15 months apart--to the day. Once my mom told me why; I guess since I was a mother at the time she felt I was a fellow adult to whom she could tell that story. It was amusing, and it revealed my mom to be the youngster she was at that time--24 with three kids.
(It seems that her mother was sleeping on their couch that night,visiting in order to be to an early morning appointment, and my mom was too embarrassed to get up in the middle of the night and fetch her birth control from the bathroom in case her mom would awaken and figure out that---oh no!---her married daughter had sex with her husband...[they'd been married six years.] My mom laughed about it when she told me.) At the time, I was pregnant with #3 in three years. Hyper-fertility runs in the family?

My sister's birth has an story, too. Our dad worked days as a farmer and nights at the concrete batch plant at the site of large dam being built about 60 miles from our home. My mom would fret because it was dangerous and he got very little sleep during that year. He was usually home by morning to milk their couple of cows--she milked them in the evening. But this day he didn't come home and she was at the hospital. I don't know who milked, or who drove her there, or where my two older sisters and the baby (Me) were hanging out. But Mother was there, with a new baby girl and he came strolling in around 11:00 A.M. She been worrying about him being hurt or killed at work all the while she was in labor and getting a ride and finding a sitter and--and--She was so happy to see him alive and well she forgot to yell at him for stressing her so.

There'd been a chance to work overtime for a few hours and he, and the friend he rode with, took the opportunity to earn the extra money. As they drove into the north end of town (our farm was seven miles south of town) my dad said to his friend driving, (again--according to Mother--) "Let's swing past the hospital and see my new baby." There were no cell phones, he didn't have any way to know for sure. My mom said his friend was all "Yeah, right," and then had to eat his words when VOILA there was a new baby!

And she was the CUTEST baby! Her hair was dark at first, but grew into a white fluff that stayed platinum blonde her entire life. I'm sure that many people assumed she colored it. Nope. She was always a little disappointed that none of her children inherited her super blonde hair. Maybe a grandchild will.

We were always treated as a unit, even though we didn't look alike. Yes, we were both blonde, but I was usually taller and my hair was never as pale as hers. But our proximity in age and our matching dresses, which were handed down from our two older sisters, tended to blur us together for many. And, we were together all the time. Since we lived out there on the farm, we were each other's playmate.

Then when we got old enough to do chores like milking and hauling hay we were a killer team. As teenagers, we were buff and cute. One summer my dad decided to haul his own milk to town every morning. So we usually did it. Hey--it was a chance to drive! We'd pull up to the creamery and back up to the rack to unload the ten gallon cans. We may have had about nine cans, I forget. And it was hard work--the rack was positioned for the milk trucks, not a pick-up. We had to lift them up. One of us would get on the rack to receive and the other stand in the bed and hand them up. We probably set ourselves up for a lifetime of bad backs, but we were NOT going to ask any of those men standing around to help. We were tough enough. Looking back, the men probably enjoyed the show. It also makes me realize why we didn't get many dates. We probably scared off the boys.

We slept in the same bed until I graduated from high school and left home. She was very noble about this considering that I was a bed-wetter for a long, long time. We took swimming lessons together--she passed beginners in one year, and it took me three. We took piano lessons together. She didn't really like it, but I still play today. We tormented and tortured our little brother together. He has grown up to be a very fine adult despite us. The biggest problem she had as my sister is that school was easy for me. I was a good reader and spelling was a snap. She struggled with reading, needed speech therapy, and didn't spell worth a darn most of her life. This was a problem because we went through the same schools with teachers expecting her to be me academically. She always worked really hard and got mediocre results and I didn't work very hard and did well. She became an avid reader as an adult because she spent so much time convalescing from a ridiculous number of surgeries and reading became a delight to her. Practice makes perfect!

This blog will be much too long if I continue to tell you all the things we did together, or the ways in which our lives diverged. But she was such a great sister, that it didn't matter how far apart we were geographically, or in lifestyle, as soon as we got back together, it was just like no time had gone by. I was so shocked when she died suddenly just after her 51st birthday. It's like a part of me is gone, too. I still have four other sisters living. As dear as they all are, none of them have the same significance as she does because for almost twenty years, everything I did, she did too, mostly--right beside me. So when I say a part of me is gone, it really is--my other ears, my other eyes--the other half of our childhood. The hole heals over, but the surface is soft as a cobweb and I have to be careful so it doesn't tear.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Notes on the Trip

We didn't need the diarrhea medicine. There.
But I think I need it now. Or maybe it's just stress.

Traveling is stressful. Good stress is just as stressful as bad stress.

Breakfast is such a different concept in other countries/cultures.
As a child, we had a "balanced" meal: fruit, cereal, meat, eggs of some form--every single day.
As a mother, I was boring: cereal and bananas, or pancakes and bananas, or eggs and bananas.
As an adult: 1 banana, 1 glass of chocolate milk, 1 toasted English muffin--usually in the car as I drive to the school.
In Morocco--heavily influenced by France--split baguettes with butter and jam on the side, mint tea or coffee (hot cocoa for me). Then you sit and eat it for about an hour as you enjoy the lovely morning air by the sea. You can also toast the baguettes on the grill.

Driving in Morocco seemed random in that the traffic rules were quite free-form. On the highway, to pass, you would go up very close to the big truck in front of you, slightly straddling the lines and then when an opportunity presented itself, you would roar around the truck and pull back in front of it quickly, because likely there was another vehicle approaching, maybe passing their own big truck. This did not result in angry honking, or finger-gestures. It was the routine.

Cool Guy and I discussed this, and we think that many of the driving techniques result from the personal space differences there in the crowded cities, and in their culture. It wasn't a problem to drive really close and share the same lane, or crowd past someone so close it made me gasp, or the pedestrians would frequently touch your car as they passed (not a slap or rebuke). And--often you saw two men walking together shoulders touching, even arm in arm--women were usually arm in arm or holding hands, a group of young boys would be a unit--they were so close together as they walked. It is just normal to be closer physically there than in the U.S. So evidently that also transfers to driving.

Interestingly--the personal closeness in public does not apply to man/woman couples. There is NO PDA or even touching or proximity. Very hashuma. Also the only people who would be together as man/woman would be a married couple. But--keep your distance. (of course, tourists don't count in these rules.)

Chwarma is delicious. Someone in the U.S. needs to start a chwarma craze and franchise it all over the country.

I don't know how they get milk from those skinny cows.

What are the sheep eating in that seemingly rock and dirt "pasture"?

Goats can climb trees.

I prefer toilet paper from the United States--so spoiled here with our septic systems.

I prefer toilet paper.

Ice is nice, but very American.

Now, I'm an International Grammar Cop. (they spent a lot of money and design effort in the new parts of the Madrid airport and it is very classy--I was surprised by the occasional English grammar-flubs in the official signage--you'd think they'd have really checked that.)

Best thing I took: several packets of travel-sized wet wipes and "personal cleansing cloths".

What I didn't need: so many changes of clothes. And I really packed light. You can wear the same clothes for more than 24 hours, no problem. Just washing your hands and face can sometimes feel like a whole bath.

Outside the city, I didn't look at men directly. I got a very hostile vibe if I did. Hmm.

I'll never complain about the rocks on my father's farm again---they were nothing compared to most of the farm land I saw in Morocco.

Parts of Morocco near the city of Marrakesh look amazingly like Iowa--large cultivated fields with properous looking farm sites: a grouping of buildings with hay stacks, and barns. But if you looked closely you'd see donkey carts alongside the combines and tractors. And every village has a mosque tower.

School girls walking along in groups, chattering back and forth, wearing backpacks--but also wearing head scarfs and long jalabbas.

Pink houses---like it's a rule.

Except in Essouira where the official colors are blue and white. It's very soothing to see all the buildings that aren't just stone painted white with blue trim.

Morocco is a very geometric place: the buildings are quadrilaterals--mostly squares, and the doorways are curves. Windows: rectangles or squares. Bread: circles. People: rectangles.

An American passport is a fine thing to possess.

Jet Lag

Which continent is this?
What time zone?
What does the clock say?
Is that A.M. or P.M?

I think I'll take a nap.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Special Guests

We ate dinner withTaxi-Man, and his family. There is no experience to compare it too, other than being royalty or something, I guess. (names are in code, BTW)

We arrived in Skye's douar (neighborhood) in the evening. It is a long, long drive from Marrakech. She often referred in her blog of taking the taxi drive to a town in Tiznit province, a nearby city-ish type of community, where the internet cafe is, and better shopping. It's like Skye lives in Smoot and this town is Idaho Falls and there is no Afton. We had stopped in there to get a few vegetables, check her mail and do cyber-cafe, and then we headed up into the hills to her home. I'll have to post some photos when we get back home where I can do it better, so it will be hard to describe her house without them. Most houses there are two-story, with the bottom floor being a large garage, or a place where you can put your shop, or your cow. Then you climb the steep cement stairs up and around to the living quarters. Also cement floors--that's why there are so many lovely rugs in all the shops. Skye's house is, ummm...basic. "But," she revels, "I have a faucet! and my toilet flushes." And she does have a refrigerator and sink, also with faucet. Her toilet is a squat toilet--tiled hole in the floor with places where you place your feet and then--well--squat--then you pour the bucket down it and it goes into a cesspool arrangement under the house. It does not smell, but it takes a little getting used to. But it beats the calf pen in the middle of the milking barn!!

We changed into our long skirts--the girls did--and we drove up to Taxi Man's house. We were met in the front by a neighbor boy who was daring enough to greet us, then several other neighbor women and some children greeted me, but immediately evaporated at the sight of Mustach (Cool Guy's new name in Morocco--all the street vendors call this out to him.) We entered the courtyard of Taxi-Man's house and it was the royal treatment from that moment on.

Grandfather met us--hand kissing, bowing, grandma met me (too shy to greet Cool Guy) handkissing, cheek kissing, bowing, asalaam alaykums all around. The mom met us and kissed cheeks, she was brave enough to greet Cool Guy, the 14 year old daughter, met us, we were invited into the kitchen where she was chopping onions for our tajine dinner. Grandpa went to another room to watch t.v.--loud t.v. because he is mostly deaf--the 7 year old son came into the living room with us, and Skye, Cool Guy, me and Taxi-Man sat on pillows and talked. All through this whole scene of greetings, there was the two year old girl like a little whirlwind zipping around, chattering, greeting, hollering, snatching stuff from people--acting like a two year old!! Once she was showing off a pretty scarf (the mom, grandma and daughter all wore an inside head wrap--it covers your hair but not your face) but Whirlwind doesn't wear anything on her curly black hair that was pulled back into little pigtails. But when she dropped the scarf on the floor near me and I picked it up and started arranging it on my head---THAT was the wrong thing to do. She immediately burst into tears and stood by her dad wailing and pointing, "Whirlwind's (some word in Tashelheit I don't know)!!!" It was a crisis till I gave it back. Whew.

I started blowing bubbles (I brought several bottles) and that smoothed things over a bit. Then Skye spoke for me while I gave Whirlwind a stuffed duck, her brother and cousin (a little cousin from the way outback living with them so he can go to school) and the big sister all got zipper bags with a few pencils, pens, and some stickers and a post-it pad in them. Hugely popular!! Especially with the country cousin who Skye loves and says is so shy and loves every little bitty thing anyone gives him because everything is a novelty.

Then, the ladies brought out the party clothes and Cool Guy and I were dressed in the regalia--silver headwear, necklaces, embroidered skirts and veils, etc. etc. Cool Guy mostly got to wear the long man gown called a jalabba. Then we took photos, and Skye explained how this was the normal dress for the endless stream of special holidays and feasts constantly being held. Taxi-Man pointed out that his wife has embroidered all the fancy work on the clothing and it is yet being embellished as the years go by. It's impressive.

We were first served bread from the clay oven with condiments like honey, oil, and a nutty tasting dip from argon oil and ground nuts. Then we were served tajine---a little clay casserole-like dish with a cover. The onions, peas, tomatoes and other flavors are laid in the bottom, then tiny meatballs were put over that and then the heavy lid is put on it and it is placed in the oven to cook. It was very lean and tasty beef. We ate it by scooping up from our section a mouthful with a little chunk of bread. We were offered citron soda (just like Squirt) or Coke. Skye says this was an ultra-special occasion, she's never been served soda at his house. Desert was slices of melon, or oranges and apples that we cut and peeled ourselves. We were paunched. Mom and sister served us but didn't eat with us, only the one brother. The rest were too shy to eat with Cool Guy and Whirlwind had burned herself into the ground like only a two year can, and was in bed asleep.

We ate sitting on our pillows, from a short round table that afterward was cleaned up and stacked back up in the corner on another one like it. They also have a china cabinet piece of furniture in this room, where mom put away all the fancy clothes, and the serving trays. But the rest of the furnishings are carpets, and pillows with pictures on the wall. One of the pictures is a Muslim representation of the lineage of religion, basically. It is a tree, with the root being Adam, then he read us the names as he pointed up the trunk and out onto the branching limbs. Noah, Moses, Abrahim--then it branched off in a fork--Ishmael and Mohammed are on that side and David, Solomon and Jesus are the other side. All the great prophets from which we can all learn.

Taxi-Man spent a lot of time waxing philosophical about religion, world peace, the brotherhood of mankind, what a wonderful daughter we have, what great parents we are, how welcome we are to come to his home anytime, and if he came to America he was likewise welcomed to our home we assured him. He explained that we had no need to ever worry about Skye, he protected her like his own daughter. (And she concurred.)

We also received two lovely gifts: a beautiful silver tray with little ball feet that is very elaborate with designs and cutwork from the duar association whom Skye has been assisting in their quest to build a community sewer system. They got the grant money and it is being built even as we speak--it more of a large soak basin that will last for many many years and prevent sewage from going into the river, which is a source for many to wash clothes, and bath. The "river" is currently a dry bed right now--no rain this year. This makes the sewage drain basin even more critical, because now the sewage just sits there, instead of being washed down the river and diluted. The other gift was shoes for us---the cool red and yellow Moroccan shoes, mine are even embroidered with elaborate colors. My large American feet defeated this gift...but the shoes will stretch Taxi-Man assured me, and I intend to stretch them because they're pretty cool.

Okay, we finally got all of our greetings accomplished and we left, you can see every star in the sky there---no yard lights! We went back to Skye's house, sat up on the roof for a while and admired the stars and heard the dogs howl and slept until we were awakened by the 4:30 A.M. Call to Prayer at the mosque just down the street. Then the street got very busy with donkey carts, and trucks and taxis because Monday is market day there. Only men go to market, BTW, in this little area. And they sit outside along the street and talk loudly, too. The school is just around the corner from her house and the kids were yelling and playing just like kids do everywhere. So foreign and yet so similar. We packed up and headed back out to the city of Essouraira where we are now---about five hour drive from her place. It's on the ocean and tomorrow we'll go up to Casablanca to get on the plane for Spain.

We're shopping and this afternoon we're going to the public baths. Then, later, the French Organic Restaurant for supper. Periodically I do a reality check---Eek! Morocco!! Like last night when we came out of the restaurant: it was dark, we're in the medina (the old walled city) and so all the doorways are arches. We stepped from the lighted restaurant into the cobble-stone alley and a shadow came along the opposing alley and across that doorway passed a women completely obscurred in veils and wraps. She went by quietly and we kept walking through the walled paths until we came to a large blue door, for which we had the key, and went in to climb four flights of steep brick stairs to the little patio where our rooms are, overlooking a battery of cannons from 1760 lining the wall along the edge of the sea. The surf is crashing in thunderous blows and the wind is blowing, but you can see some stars. Way cool---I'm having a good time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Traveling Through Morocco

We arrived in Casablanca, late--but Skye wasn't alarmed because in Morocco one doesn't try to hurry things along. It only results in frustration. We got a rental car and drove for about three hours to Marrakech. Lots of farmland, lots of sheep, cows (unbelievably skinny cows) decrepid donkeys-just hairy tractors basically. There were some large well-kept compounds: a ten foot wall surrounding the house and gardens and outbuildings, with the two story cistern. There were rundown tiny little houses/compounds. There are many tractors, plus the donkeys--huge loads of hay passed us continually. I was looking at one side of the road, saying "I don't know what that is..." referring to a plant, and Cool Guy said, pointing the other side of the road, "But you know what THOSE are." A field full of bales!!

The countryside is remarkably like the desert southwest in America. Same geology, same plants, similar topography. The highways here are really modern and well maintained, we traveled part of the way on a new super-connector highway. The city of Marrakech is bustling and the streets are a mishmash of scooters, bicycles, donkey carts, overloaded trucks, taxis and the occasional tourist who foolishly thought they could drive here. Actually, Cool Guy is doing an excellent job--he's been in training for this traffic in Tel Aviv, he says. I just sit with clenched teeth and shallow breathing as the Collision Ballet is performed around me. Amazingly--no one hit anyone, no pedestrians were killed or even bumped. I don't know how!!

We're on our way to Skye's house tonight (been driving all day in succession through twins of:
San Joaquin Valley
Southern Utah
Southern Idaho--south of Burley on 84 headed to Utah.

Weird how similar the plants, geology etc. is.) You get the reality check with the road signs in Arabic and French, the overloaded taxis, the gendarmes who stopped us to check us out at an intersection and Skye pretended to not understand their French which was basically an invitation to give them a "little something" for our alleged infraction.

I'll write some more in a couple of days. We're out of tourist land mostly here and so people stare. We're eating with Skye's taxi driver's family tonight. He's been texting her all day on her phone for updates of our progress. She texts him back to be patient and relax, we'll be there when we get there...

Our food so far has been totally delicious--of course, most of it was in nice restaurants in Marrakech--Italian one night and Thai another. But we ate lunch in the souk and it was chwarma--a chicken thing in bread and it was yummy. Cool Guy eats it all the time in Israel and was pleased to find it here, too. Lots of juice and fruit--everything room temp. Ice is not a feature of Morocco.

I'm amazed at how much French I understand. And how readily it comes back to me when I try to speak to people. I can make simple sentences, and have no trouble reading menus and road signs and directions. Cool...Although I did explain in French today to our proprietess as we left our lodging that I enjoyed her riad Mucho...duh...instead of bien. But enough Spanish people come there that she knew what I meant.

Au Revoir for now!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gift Shopping

I needed a gift for a two year old who lives in Morocco. I have purchased the older kids' gifts: mostly pencils, stickers, art paper. But the two year old needs a gift, and pencils are just not it.

So, I went to a store I frequent where I could also obtain travel-sized wipes, light bulbs, and some new socks, and wandered through the toy section.

Hmmm...nothing with Dora, Princesses, or Barbie. None of them were wearing headscarves. Playdough? No, the child IS two--duh. Nothing with letters or numbers--wrong alphabet. Cutting food? Might be cool, but I'm restricted by the weight and I don't know if some of the items would be recognized as food...

Stuffed toys? Not the pig. Not the puppies. Do they have pets at all? Lamb? I'm not sure. There is a holiday involving the ceremonial death of a sheep--would a stuffed lamb seem sacreligious?

Finally I settled on a plush duck. It is easily recognized as a duck and I can't think of anything I've ever read that would make it tabu in any way.


Monday, May 07, 2007

The Ant and the Grasshopper on Vacation

For thirty-two years, 11 months, and 21 days this marriage has survived the blending of methodical versus whatever. Well, maybe it has been more like, "There's no way that the fan structure of the truck will survive the round trip even if we come up with enough money for the gas," versus "We can leave right after it gets dark and then we'll be through the desert by morning and then...[a miracle happens]....and we successful get home safely in two weeks."

It has been ever thus. I optimistically plan some adventure on a wing and a prayer. Cool Guy frets out all the details--many of which are never needed. Sometimes we need the miracle---like the lady at the grocery store in Bishop CA willing to loan me the gas money to get home before Cool Guy deploys with the Marines to the Middle East, because my wallet/checkbook was misplaced under a motel bed in Reno. Sometimes we needed the details fretted over---He buys me new tires, gets me a membership in AAA. And sometimes it's a combination of both:

We were driving up to Wyoming from Southern California in an ancient vehicle (with a rebuilt engine--ta da) and yet, in icky Baker something was messed up. We pulled into the gas station with the service bay doors locked up for the night and, as I waited in the truck with the sleeping children, Cool Guy starts to unload the trailer to get to his tools. This required rolling out the fancy-schmancy Harley chopper he'd carefully built and was taking north for a fun run with the old pals. As I watched this scene through the review mirror, I see the young kid who's manning the all-night gas station admiring the bike, then SITTING ON THE BIKE, (hmmm...what's up with THAT?), then unlocking the service bay doors and wheeling out the welding equipment---oh, I see! So Cool Guy fixed our problem, loaded up the trailer again, and we had a lovely trip after all, visiting the grandmas and running with the biker buddies. I have the faith, he has the skills.

So we're getting ready for the trip to Morocco. I'm packing up colored pencils and sticker pads to bring to Skye's little friends, Cool Guy is discussing my need to pack one set of spare clothing in my purse in the event of my luggage getting lost. See, I never considered for a minute that my luggage might go somewhere than where I'm headed. But, that's why I have Cool Guy as my adviser. And he has me to sooth him with "It's no problem for me to just wear a scarf on my hair for five days" rather than have him scour the town for a plug adapter for my curling iron---no problem. That' why I have this hair---I'm lazy. Yet--he found the correct adapter. I could yet go with the scarf occasionally, there may not be electricity in some of the places we're visiting.

The point is: he brings the "what if" and I bring the "whatever" and together he keeps my stuff from being lost and I keep him from losing the good time. It's been working so far. This trip ends on our 33rd anniversary. But the collaboration won't end for a looooong, loooong time.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

But Who's Counting?

There are only three school days until I will get a three week "track break" from my students. We are out of school May 9-May28. Whew. Being a drill sergeant day in and day out is wearing me down. But it seems to be the only effective method for getting them to sit down, clam up, and not talk back.

One week from today, we will arrive in Morocco. (!!) I am excited to see our daughter who is there in Peace Corps. I am nervous about traveling to a country where I am unable to speak the language. This will be the first stamp my passport has received and it is a little daunting. But, I have the experienced traveler Cool Guy to accompany me, and of course, our daughter who has lived there for a year and does speak in the local tongue.

The real challenge is to pack my suitcase so it will hold the clothes I need for a week there (and not a single extra garment) and the gifts I am bringing to her host family and taxi man's family, as well as the little niceties I usually mail to her at the postage cost of double the value of the items. Peanut butter and Doritos are special gifts to the expatriot.

The only one not excited about it is Kitty Cat. She actually knows what those open suitcases mean now.