The Birdcage (17 January, 2014)

We have this beautiful sandy field behind our unit (and the concrete/barbed wire fence of course). I wake up every morning to the lovely sound of birds, not unlike our home in Houston. It is a nice taste of home but also serves as a stark reminder of the lack of freedom I have here. The last few days have been hard, the kids are bored, the husband is busy with work and nothing is really available on the compound for entertainment purposes.

Normally, I would take the kids to the park or let them run in the sandy field behind the unit but the field is off limits and the park involves a driver and is easier to do with a man than without. It is hard to describe the mental and physical adjustment required to exist in this country. You have to suspend your individual freedom of free movement and plan for every movement you will need to make, hours or days before you need to make them.

The trips we take off compound are exciting, not because of the destination – grocery stores, panda, etc, but because we are not confined by these small concrete walls. The irony that grocery shopping with two kids represents a relative taste of freedom here is not lost on me. I have tried to explain the internal turmoil to the husband but my words fall short. The only imaginary I have available that comes close is a birdcage. I can only hope that as time marches on I find ways to see past the bars. Today is not one of those days though.

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