#11 Life in Afghanistan :: Ordinary

It’s that time of the week again – Friday – which can only mean… Five minute Fridays! The time when hundreds of us write for just five minutes on a prompt. No editing, no back tracking, no over-thinking. Hop over to Lisa-Jo’s place to find out more.

This month I’m combining FMF with my 31 Day series. So let’s see what I can come up with today.


A list of things that may seem strange, funny, crazy to you; but in Afghanistan they are just plain old ordinary.

1. Stepping over blood and guts of butchered animals on your walk to work.

2. Being told to stay home indefinitely and taking it in your stride.

3. Finding pieces of moldy bread all round the office, because it’s sinful to throw it out.

4. Stepping over open sewers to cross roads.

5. Knowing what the weather will be for the next 3 months.

6. Waiting for the government to announce the official day of the annual national holiday… the day before it happens.

7. Sitting in the airport all day waiting for your flight, and never actually being told that it’s been cancelled.

8. Carrying around a communications radio.

9. Knowing the phonetic alphabet and reeling it off without thinking. Alpha, bravo, charlie

10. Hearing about an explosion and nodding calmly because it was a whole 30 mins away from where you are.

11. Never having seen your close friends hair.

12. Living in 50+C without A/C.

13. Living in -20C without central heating.

14. Getting sick because you breathed in dust.

15. Not having internet because it snowed, or it’s cloudy, or it rained too hard.

16. Getting excited about the sound of the fridge because it means the power is back.

17. Drinking tea, all day, every day.

18. Freely asking people if they are literate, and being surprised when they say they are.

19. Big solider men with big guns walking down the street holding hands.

20. Asking permission from your boss to go anywhere, even on your days off.

This is part of the 31 Day series




11 Comments on “#11 Life in Afghanistan :: Ordinary”

  1. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing a little bit of insight into this very foreign country with us.

    • EJ Reading says:

      It’s my pleasure to share it with you. Thanks for reading. On October 30 I am doing a Q&A post, so if you have any questions feel free to ask them and I’ll put them in the post :)

  2. Rebecca says:

    This is so eye opening for me. So much I take for granted in my ‘ordinary’ life in the US. Visiting from fmf!

  3. amypboyd says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, for giving us glimpse of an ordinary that is so different than our own.

  4. […] Day Eleven :: Ordinary (Five Minute Fridays meets 31 Days … A list of (not so) ordinary things… […]

  5. I love this! My husband and I lived overseas and it’s funny the things that become ‘normal’. I’ve always been afraid to go where you are, because of how UNordinary it is … I’m excited to read more of your life and the culture. I just read “Storyteller’s Daughter” by Sarai Saray, this summer and it was eye opening. Blessings to you.

    • EJ Reading says:

      That’s cool! Where have you lived? Things become so ordinary after a while when people ask me “what’s life like there?” Sometimes I find myself replied with “Oh pretty much the same as anywhere!”
      If you ever get the chance to visit Afghanistan, take it! You will be amazed at what you find, and how un-scared you will be once you are there.

      • I’ve lived in the Phillipines , Nepal, for three month stints. Fiji for a month, Maui for three yrs. when you’re living in the villages and living amongst the people, it’s not a holiday, it’s completely engaging the culture and people. The Middle East has always scared me, but I’m finding as I read more about it, there’s a beauty in the cultures, people that shine through. I still think you are very brave. Look forward to reading more about your life!

        • EJ Reading says:

          wow what an adventure to have been to all those places. I’m sure you have many stories of your own to tell!
          There is so much beauty in the culture in the Middle East and Central Asia. They are such a loyal, hospitable, honoring culture.

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