The War of the Cockroaches


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Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus
June 17th 2009
Published: June 17th 2009
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The battlegrounds
Yes. As of two days ago I have declared war on all cockroaches. Whose population, despite the one I saw on the hospital grounds today (wow, I never realized how disgusting that sounds), was entirely concentrated in my apartment.

Urgent Communique:

Amass armies at 11pm, at the sink entrance to the kitchen. After the Massacre of the Fridge last Saturday, we’re to wage a full on attack. Sneaking by the spray laid on the floor, we plan to overwhelm the attacker when she is too tired from the day’s activities. -Head Roach


I can’t say to any effect WHO won the war. Actually , I think that’s a lie. I won the battle, but they certainly won the war.

I’ve never though myself as a squeamish, jump-on-the-chair screaming kind of gal, but when I saw a cockroach about the length of my pinky finger, and fatter, I squealed to high-heaven. I just pointed and sprayed. It still makes me sick to my stomach to think of the bugger clacking up the wall in a desperate attempt to escape. They were EVERYWHERE. Crawling over cutlery, antenna groping over dishes. I figured ‘Screw this, I’m definitely not EATING
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sink casualties
here anymore’ and declared full out war, spraying everything in sight.

One entire can of crawler killer later, the kill count on my side was (and here we insert a drum roll) 31. Thirty freaking one cockroaches killed in my kitchen. They littered the floor, but I can’t even describe the carnage in the sink. I pulled over the dishes left from the day (and I’m disgusted to think I cooked and ate from these dishes), to expose about a dozen of the vermin. They didn’t even have the good mind to scatter!

However. After feeling really bizarrely nauseous all afternoon, I felt like my stomach was trying to fight off an invading attacker all night. When I awoke in the morning, I made myself decide- politeness and gratitude be damned- to move, first to a hotel, then to a different university apartment. I was strangely unperturbed by the roaches, despite their overwhelming number and the fact that, looking over the damage later that night, I still found two chilling on my set of spoons. I figured I would draw the line at rats.

Well, my mother joked that the roaches ate the rats, so there were
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gathering the remains. seriously. so. gross.
none (and despite the fact that she was joking, if you saw even one of these insects, you wouldn’t easily laugh), she also insisted that I move. And I finally drew the line when I determined that it was the roach killer that was making me ill. I mean, I pretty much inhaled an entire can in the battle, and it takes a pretty strong poison to kill one of the most indestructible creatures on the planet. I was thrilled (well, mostly grumpy after an awful night) when representatives from the university came in and asked me what I needed.

This new apartment is like… night and day. Black and white; paradise and a durge; Heaven and Hell. I can’t think back to that old disgusting place without it seeming just really dank and dark. I live in a new area in west Nablus called Ma’ajin (it took a While before I learned the proper name). Despite its more far off location, it is a newly built apartment, nary a bug in sight. I live with three other international girls, and they all seem amazing- very fun loving, and not at all hateful like the Irish woman with which I lived before (the one who, and I quote, claimed: “I hate Islam” “All these Arabs are all IDIOTS, like toddlers…” and had never cleaned once in the year she lived in that apartment).

Work is coming in slowly. I fill up my days by learning as much Arabic as my brain can absorb, which is frustratingly little. I also end up taking walks through Rafidia, which is the ‘cool’ area of town, kind of a ‘see and be seen’ kind of place. If you saw it, you would laugh. It’s not particularly that happening, but, it’s something to do!

And thus ends my personal update, the only big big news I can think of happening on the ‘me’ front!


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