From Snow to Sun, Another Return to Algeria

Happy Valentines Day from Algiers! Yes, I’m back home in Algeria and it feels good. We have nothing specifically romantic planned for the day. But it does feel holiday-ish because while Sunday is normally the start of the work week, we have today off for President’s Day. I’m spending the day getting dosed with sunshine in our garden, writing this quick lil blog post, and obsessing over a few interior design projects, like a custom-sofa situation for the area across from our boho bar.

So, why are we back? Wasn’t the plan to continue that freezing cold living-with-parents life for another month? Well, while I still do need another surgery, which is scheduled for the end of March, I convinced our DC-based medical folks (the ones who hold the purse strings for things like medical evacuations, medical per diem payments, etc.) that it made more sense for me to return to my life and job and in Algeria than to wait for the next surgery in Michigan for six weeks. So, about a week ago, it was two more COVID tests and several more flights for Adam and myself (Detroit-Chicago-Frankfurt-Algiers). We picked up Gus and Boj from our friends’ house shortly after we landed in Algiers. In the time we were away, they somewhat lessened in their aversion to small children and our friends’ one-year-old now toddles around the house asking for “les chats.” In other cat news, the little stray tomcat whom I feed showed up within minutes of us arriving home, ready for a bowl a food and lap-sit. He’s our outdoor cat now, pretty much. No plans to bring him indoors as his life of climbing fig trees and leaping from yard to yard really seems to suit him although we should consider having him neutered as there are a suspiciously high number of neighborhood kittens who share his little square face.

There were very nice parts of being in a place with real winter. A week after my surgery, Adam and I took our nieces Up North (note: Up North is what Michiganders call anything North of the middle of the state, pretty much). We stayed for two nights in a Bavarian-esque winter wonderland called Boyne Highlands Resort and spent an active two days snow tubing, ziplining, cross-country skiing, and swimming in an 102 degree outdoor pool. (I had to forego the pool part as I’m not supposed to swim or take a bath for six weeks after surgery. I’m a huuuge fan of baths so this one will be difficult for me). On the drive back we stopped into adorable Harbor Springs for the World’s Best Cookies at Tom’s Moms.

I had cross-country skied once before, as a child on a visit to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but I had totally forgot how fun it is, and what a great workout it is. When we arrived back to Southeast Michigan, I rented cross-country ski stuff and forced my sister and older niece to come to a nearby state park with trails. I did that one more time before I left, this time whilst listening to George Saunder’s new writing-lesson book on audio, part of which is the dulcet voice of Nick Offerman reading a snowy Russian short story. It was kind of magical! And freezing cold and sweaty at the same time.

My sister cross-country skiing in Maybury State Park

As you can see from my newfound love of cross-country skiing, the surgery I had back in late January wasn’t so bad. Recovery was a breeze. And because of that, I’m not dreading the second surgery too much. Although, there’s still a small chance the biopsy from that surgery will show there actually is cancer, or if not cancer, lots of pre-cancerous cells and it’s possible I’d need a hysterectomy after all. I met with a gynecologic oncologist before leaving Michigan and she expected the next surgery to be all I need, so that made me hopeful.

Okay, back to a sunny day off. (Did I mention the warm weather and palm trees and cool Mediterranean breeze?) More Algeria, food, and interior design programming soon.

Emily

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