Tuesday, July 31, 2007

i LOVE my life!!!!

So, we've had random guests staying with us for a couple of weeks and bummer (wink! wink!), I've gotten to show them around a bit. Here are the highlights:

We decided to try out another city on the Red Sea called Newiba. We made it a whopping 2 hours before we found a taxi back to Dahab.

The Dahab highlight was when Momo, our Arab friend tried to play Scrabble with us. The best words he got out of the game were "codboy" and "nabkn."

For Leslie's 25th birthday, we had lunch on the Nile and then went for a nightime horse ride at the Pyramids--how cool is my life?

There's nothing like galloping through the desert next to the Pyramids by the light of the moon.

But, my definite favorite thing was the Ahly-Portugal soccer game we went to. This was my first ever soccer game, and better than I even expected!

The two guys on the far left just showed up on my left side and got me to cheer with them. There were quite disappointed when I wouldn't give them my phone number...

This kid was great fun and inspired me to cheer even louder. There was also a 7 year-old boy named Ali sitting next us who taught me all the Arabic cheers so I could cheer along with everyone. At one point, I joined into a cheer, crying out at the top of my lungs, "ooh, ooh, ooh-ahh-ahh!" I continued until I realized everyone around me was laughing. I paused and looked at Ali, who clarified, "it's not 'ooh, ooh, ooh-ahh-ahh,' it's '0, 0, Osama' for one of the players." Oops! My bad!

Yuliya and I showing our "V" for Victory hands after Ahly won.

Oh yeah, I also accidentally got revenge on all the Arab men who seem to have a hard time controlling where they put their hands in regard to my body. As I was walking, I was swinging a bag of trash and swung it back too far--right into the tush of a police officer sitting on a fence. He called something out to me like, "is it really like this?" in a good humored voice, and I just waved my hand at him, unable to speak because of the laughter welling up in me. Ha, Arab men. That'll show you.

Believe it or not, I actually do other things here too, but my language lessons just aren't as thrilling to take pictures of. Today, I adventured a 4 hour meeting in Arabic, including a 45 minute video. Tomorrow, I have Arabic lessons from 7am-11am, a CDP meeting (all in Arabic of course )from 11:30-1:30, and then the CDP kids program from 3:30-7:30pm (also in Arabic). Ha, you would think actually understood the things we talk about.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

Well, I had one of my first great Arabic adventures last week. I actually taught a 45 minute lesson in Arabic!!! It was weighing over my head, because I didn't realize that in volunteering to bring lunch, I was also volunteering to teach. I practiced for days with my language teacher, and by a miracle, everyone actually understood me. They even told me I have a good accent. Mish mauool (I cant' believe it)! In actuality, I really believe it was a miracle because no more than 5 minutes after the lesson, I answered a question, and everyone looked around the room blankly because no one understood a thing I said. Amazing.

On another note, here's a heart-stirring quote I recently read by Dr. Martin Luther King:
"We are called to play the Good SAmaritan on life's roadside...but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samartian, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mohammad, Table for 4

My friend and I went to see Oceans Thirteen at the movie theater yesterday. The mall we went to, City Stars, is probably the nicest mall I've ever been to in my life. It's at least 8 stories high, full of stores I can't even afford. It's full of kids who go there to wander through the air conditioning, westerners, and in the summer, people from the Gulf. We get tons and tons of Saudi Arabians who come here for the summer because it's "cooler." You can always point them out because the men wear specific clothing, and the women are usually covered in black from head to toe. Last night, the mall was crawling the people from the Gulf.

After the movie, we went for chips and salsa at one of the nice restaurants in the mall, Chilis. As I looked around, I realized we were in a restaurant full of westerners and Gulf-ers. To my suprise, at the table across from us was a Saudi Arabian man eating with his 3 wives and kids. I was shocked and couldn't help but stare. The women have an artful way of tucking the fork full of food under their burka (face covering) in order to eat without showing themselves. Then, another man came in and sat down with his 4 wives. At the same time, we lost count of how many men walked by with their wives trailing behind them.

It was probably one of the wildest cultural experiences I've had here, because although it felt very American in Chili's the diners made it as un-American as you can get! I would love to have a chance to get to know some of these women to learn about their lives. Perhaps I'll have an opportunity before the summer is up!.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Adrian and M...i forgot the rest

My roommate Marie, in a moment of insanity (if you ask me) told some friends she would take their 2 albino mice off their hands, as they were returning to the states. Marie is also spending her summer in the states, so when I kindly refused to care for creatures that have tails that look like snakes, she found someone else to watch them. Well, I didn't actually know who was caring for them, until our beloved 6 year old Korean neighbor called today and said she was bringing the mice upstairs for us to take care of. I'm sorry, what? Well, apparently they're going to Mirage City for vacation (whatever that is!) and because Marie will live here in a few weeks, Yuliya and I get to care for the red-eyed horrors until Marie returns. They came and I stared at them for awhile cringing everytime the tail moved and listening to Yuliya talk about how ugly they are. But, all in all, they're not too demanding. These were my instructions from the neighbors: "Take them out of the cage, but be really, really careful because they bite really hard. So, pick them up by their tail or something like that and put them in a bucket so they don't escape--because they're really fast and agile if they escape--and then change out the sawdust. Oh yeah, also, change their food every few days because they go to the bathroom in it." Sick.

Now, my history with taking care of rodents isn't the best. Chrissy the hamster died because I didn't clean her cage, and Herkey the hamster turned crazy so I set him free in the park across the street, and I can't even remember the third. Granted, that was a long time ago, and I'm a pretty good cat mommy, so perhaps this is my opportunity to make right what I did wrong to my Chrissy, Herkey, and Mr. I-forgot-his-name (R.I.P.)

On a completely different note, I spent yesterday with my Arab family. The entire day was in Arabic and I understood everything, until my bro started talking to me about car mechanics, which I'm not sure I would have understood in English either. I also confused the words for lake (baHara) and cow (ba'ara) and spent quite a bit of time explainig how my brother and sis in-law live next to a beautiful cow in Alaska. My sis played along with me, and started asking if they drank a lot of milk, etc. until I finally realized I was using the wrong words. Then, we made animal noises for a long time. Did you know that instead of saying "meow", cats say "neow" here? And, instead of saying, "ruff," dogs say "how, how, how." Who would have guessed?

This week is going to be rather slow. My language teacher is at the beach with her family and my work in the garbage village has the week off. Yuliya will find out tomorrow, enshallah, whether she will be able to stay here or if they've refused her visa for good (meaning she woud have to leave the country within the week). Tonight, I think she and I will go to the mall and check out a new restaurant called Star Fish. Their slogan is, "Healthy food. A new concept in ---!"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

You know You're ----tian if...

So, this was really, really funny to my roommate and I, but I'm not sure you'll get it if you've never lived in the Middle East. Enjoy if you can!!!

40 ways to know your ---tian:

Your Mom hits u with anything that is near her, anything from a shoe to a bowl

Your parents brag about you even if you're bad

A visa is not a credit card. ...

Your parents say you're becoming Americanized anytime you get into trouble.

You can spot an Arab a mile away and they have spotted at you because they keep staring. ..

Your parents want you to become a doctor or engineer (mohandis kida ad el donia ! lol)

You use your forehead and eyebrows to point something out...

You have at least thirty cousins. ...

You arrive one or two hours late to a party and think it's normal.

You are standing next to the largest suitcases at the Airport.

You talk for an hour at the front door when leaving someone's house....

When your parents meet strangers and talk for a few minutes, you discover they know one of your
uncles back home. ...

Your parents don't realize phone connections to foreign countries have improved in the last two decades, and still scream at the top of their lungs when making long distance calls. ..

Your relatives alone could populate a small city.....

You still came back home to live with your parents after you graduate...

Your parents drink 6 cups of tea a day, sokar zeyada

You've had a shoe thrown at you by your mother

Your mother calls you "Mommy" or "Ma" and your father calls you "Dad"

You blame the Yahood for eveything!

You get pissed when an Arab is displayed as a Terrorist in a Movie.

You also get pissed when the Yahood are the good guys

You go to Arabic Resturants, tell the owners your Arab, and think you're going to get free food.

You've seen a belly dancer at least once in your life, and secretly, behind closed doors have attempted shakin it to nancy or amr diab !

You use Arabic bread as a utensil

You have piles of coupons all over your table

You are always right

You have at least 1 picture/object resembling a camel in your house

YOU'RE PROUD TO BE AN ARAB, and even more---TIAN but in a way dont consider yourself arab, as arabs r those gulffiiiesss and were jus better!

you say 'el' infront of ever single word and a 'ya3ni' between the words u utter.

Your family eats koushari and loves it, others do not understand the concept...ALL those carbs..TOGETHER?

You're fat and blame it on your parents, or you're bald

Your taunt asks you when she can dance at your wedding

You smoke as if it were your last day on earth...and you only smoke shisha tofah or mishmish, and maybe cantaloB, and even better, TOFAH-LAMON

You pronounce "the things" za sings"

You put tahina in and on everything and brag about how healthy it is

You gossip about your own family...with members of your own family

Your aunts and uncles have more than 4 kids

You eat kofta at least 4 times a week

You cook a meal that lasts a week

You pity anyone who is not an ----tian and think all other cultures are morally corrupt

You have fruit trees in your backyard and when they are in season you live off of them

You watch the hell out of the Arabic channel

You have billions of cousins

At weddings it takes the bride and groom 4 hours to kiss all the guests and everybody hits their drink with their forks

You "get down" from the car instead of "getting out" of it

You act like you want to pay, but in reality you hate to pay

You have a gold necklace of your name written in Arabic

You own and/or play a tubleh

Your middle name is your father's first name

You never pay the tolls on the highway

You play cards till the break of dawn

Your Mom says things like: put za sings in za sing

You can't have a meal without aish

If you are an ---tian woman you dye your hair an obviously fake shade of blonde that is nonexistent in nature and swear that it's natural

You feel proud when someone famous or a celebrity has any Arabic blood in them

You teach your American friends Arabic words (mostly bad ones) and get happy when they use them in normal conversations

You have five different foods at your dinner table

If you're a single ---tian guy, your Mom tries to get u married when you're 12

You consider everone foreigner not as good as ----tians but every ---tian bee2a

Your favorite food is warah aneb, but you are embarrassed to tell your friends that you eat LEAVES for dinner

You get really happy and call the whole family to the room when there is a special or documentary on ----tians or anything Arabic related on CNN or BBC

Your father swears at you with words that effect himself

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Eye Candy

I've lost track of all the t-shirts, purses, posters, bumper stickers, etc. that have made me take a "double-take" in suprise as to what it really says. What is amusing, is that the people make it clear they don't know what actually is written on the shirt, nor do the know English. Here are my highlights of today:
  • A boy around the age of 8 or 9 wearing a shirt that says, "Just Do Me" with a Nike swoosh at the bottom
  • A grown man sporting a fanny pack that had the word "Princess" written across the front
And my all time favorite so far:
  • A girl wearing jeans, that (I'm assuming the were intending to write "party") said "Farty" across the rear.
Maybe the producers of these items know what they're doing and find humor in deceiving the patrons. Who knows? Nevertheless, it always puts a smile on my face!