American perspective can change here in Baghdad:
Last night as Monica and I were leaving the shower trailer, we heard a popping noise. She said, "Oh, look, fireworks!" Up in the sky were red trails of light streaming toward us. It was pretty, but alarming. I asked if they were tracer rounds or flares, and we both started walking as quickly as we could back to our trailer in our wet flip-flops (try running in those). Half-way there, she says, "You know, those are just flares. We send off flares signifying that there's a convoy headed out." Immediately I thought that didn't make sense, since that would let the enemy know a convoy was leaving the Post. I kept running back to the trailer as the red streams of light soared above. When we got to our door, some men from her Company were standing around watching the light show. I asked, "Are those just flares?" They said, "No, those are tracer rounds. You can hear the fire-fight. It's not that far away." I looked at Monica who said sheepishly, "I thought you'd sleep better if you thought they were just flares." We watched, a little concerned, as the tracer rounds increased in number. I commented on
the fact that what goes up must come down... Another person approached and said, "Iraq just beat the Aussies in football." Suddenly it dawned upon us that we weren't watching a firefight but a celebration.
This morning at Church a man stood up to say he wanted to praise the Lord. He held up a bullet and said it came through his trailer last night during the celebratory shooting.
It makes me laugh. Yes, I know this is dangerous, but there's nothing we can really do about it. I'm sure someone is trying to teach the Iraqis the dangers of celebratory shooting, but it's such a long-lived custom in this region and could take a while. I can't worry, I can't get afraid. If I start, I'll never be able to do my job. All we can do here is laugh, albeit nervously.
Today our power went out for nearly an hour, which meant the A/C was cut off. I can't imagine what it must have been like to work in Northern Africa during WWII. The power came back on, work resumed, and "groundhog day" continued. (Every day is the same here.)
As I bought a bike today (my third one this year), I should soon be speeding around the Post and won't have to worry anymore about walking home alone in the dark. :)