Yesterday was Danny’s birthday, and to celebrate we actually got to go out, sort of, for dinner. We went to an international compound down the street that we only recently discovered we were actually allowed to go to and ordered pizza (real Italian pizza!!) and sat outside. It was so nice — probably at least in part because since our last R&R in June we have literally never gotten to do anything remotely like that, but who really cares? It was fun! We brought one of our special occasion bottles of wine and just loved every minute of it.

It actually made me thinking — this really wouldn’t be such a bad place to live in some ways if we weren’t such prisoners here. Take the weather, for instance…I would guess it’s sort of similar to Colorado or somewhere like that, it’s not humid and we’re at a high altitude here. The nights during the summer are absolutely beautiful — even when it’s 100 during the day it cools off to 75 at night and there’s always a breeze. Sitting outside last night under the trees (trees!! Something else we don’t have on our sterile concrete compound, unless you could the anemic-looking specimens that were planted this year) relaxing with Danny, nowhere to go, nothing to do, it was really nice. I shudder to think what my e-mail inbox will look like when I get in today since I left at 7 last night for the special occasion, but it was worth it!

I guess the up side of spending most of our waking hours locked down is that on the rare occasion like last night when we get to escape together for a couple of hours, the freedom is that much sweeter. Danny commented that he thought it was a night he would remember for the rest of his life, and although at first blush it wouldn’t seem like anything all that exciting (it was pizza, after all, nothing gourmet or served in courses) I think I agree with him. I’m hoping I can take some of that appreciation for the little freedoms with me when I leave here next year. I know it’s going to make our next R&R that much more enjoyable that we will have weeks in which we can step outside the door and go for a walk whenever we feel like it.

And no, for all of you who are wondering, we don’t have pictures to post. The downside of every approved place being a military or quasi-military compound is that you can’t take pictures.

Plus, we forgot to bring the camera.