January has been a busy month.
In a nutshell, Sophie has been in Europe (London and Paris), visiting friends and family. I think the cold nearly killed her, but with the purchase of a huge furry coat, a jacket and various sweaters, it looks like she'll warm up in time to return to sunny Nouméa later this week.
Laurent returned to work after a few days off at Christmas/New Year's. He has resumed his early-morning rise of 5.00 to run three days a week, and the rest of the time he starts at 7.00. He has been studying English more and more often and is busy mastering the likes of MSN and Skype. He's also been building a database in Access, but having pushed a wrong button somewhere along the line, is now stuck and mightily frustrated. Will he have to start all over?
He and I have had friends over for drinks and dinner a couple of times. We've visited the Rivière Bleue and the Phare Amédée, have swum with deadly sea snakes, trekked through New Caledonia's outback and even spent an entire rainy weekend in working.
As for me, I have resumed my usual work schedule and have been writing a little more often. I've been wracking my brain for good ideas and good presentation, and have found these come best after a short nap (Einstein was right again - we can't solve a problem in the same state we created it in). I have been researching a few topics, have finished reading a few books and back issues of The New Yorker, and have been catching up on a few long overdue e-mails.
Of late, I've been thinking a fair amount about the invasion of Iraq - and was surprised to learn recently that as of December 2005, over 2,100 Americans had been killed. This did not surprise me. What did was the number of Iraqis killed since the American arrival (well, between January 2004 and September 2005): 26,000. This number does not include the Iraqis killed by Americans - it represents the Iraqis killed by insurgents (see the acticle on the Afghan-born American Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad, in the 19 December issue of the New Yorker: "American Viceroy"). Many of us were dead-set against the invasion - can those responsible for going in really think they have done the right thing?