Thursday, February 19, 2009


Windmills. In early December, I crafted a plan to remind myself that I am God's Beloved. I noticed an abundance of windmills in my hometown, so i decided that everytime I saw a windmill, i would stop to remember God's love towards me. I did this for two months, and it was quite boring and redundant. God loves me. Very nice. Something told me to continue anyway as long as i was in the U.S., since there aren't exactly windmills in the Middle East.

Flashforward to Tuesday and to the Middle East. I awoke hopeful. Yet as the morning stretched, my determined positive attitude was overtaken by the realization that I am nothing more than a one year old child- dependent on everyone. Losing against my willpower, i cried in Arabic class after multiple tries and being unable to read aloud the board in front of everyone. The tears continued when I couldn't order a sandwich at lunch, and then again when i went to work with my 3 American, brilliant, male co-workers who are part of my team for developing a business program for college students. They have degrees in business, and the only thing I have to contribute to our work is perhaps free on-the-side counseling. :) I suppose I could bake brownies for our meetings. Anyway, I decided to try to develop a friendship with the business prodigies in between business discussions (since they also happen to be my Arabic classmates), but they seemed more interested in debating the Red Sox and flirting with our beautiful and mysterious Arabic instructor than be-friending the "therapist who cried in class." On the way home, the mixture of cold and rain did not make the wait for a taxi pleasant. Two years of this language and working in a business?? How did I get here? With frustration and a flare of drama, I asked God for evidence that He wanted me here and that He was involved and had a purpose for me here. Seconds later, I set down my laptop bag to rest and when I looked up... I saw a five-foot fake windmill outside of a restaurant! (See the picture)

I guess that means that I should stay. And that God loves me enough to make a windmill in the Middle East. I wonder how many times does God try to show me His love and faithfulness, but i think i don't need it? The sudden desperation for His love opened me up to tasting it.

Lits Bits of the Levant

If you make eye contact with cab drivers through the rear-view mirror, you will be given their phone number as you exit.

People will openly reprimand you for not speaking fluent Arabic. Especially if you have been in country for over a week.

If you are asked a favor, such as to give away your laptop, it is shameful and rude to say no. Instead, you should repeatedly say, "I will see..." until the matter is eventually dropped.

You can wear skin tight jeans and blouses if your head is covered.

A good Arab friend will do anything to help you and post-pone other responsibilities to aid a loved one.

Family comes before work. Employees may suddenly leave without notifying their employer if a family matter arises. (Such as the death of a great-great uncle's friend.)

Illegal pet monkeys cost about $500.

There is no such thing as "down-time" or personal space. If you are alone, others might believe you are depressed- in which case they will seek to spend more time you.

It is very Arab to say, "I love you" over and over again with tears and kisses to the same sex.

When my Christian Arab co-worker (a male) was asked the question, "Is it shameful to look a woman in the eye?" he responded with an, "Of course not! Where did you hear that?" Then, when immediately asked, "Is it shameful for a woman to look a man in the eye?" the response was a very matter of fact, "Yes."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pics of my apartment... the roof, our kitchen, and my room!

This is our roof that we share with our Palestinian landlady and her Indonesian house-help Elsie. And this is our view at sunset. Below is our kitchen and one half of my bed-room.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


"Each day I give myself one task. Today I went to buy butter." My friend Carol, on living in a foreign country

Well today I went to Haboob, the local grocery store. I bought cabbage, papaya juice (by accident because I meant to buy apple), wheat spaghetti noodles, toothpaste, raman noodles, toilet paper, yogurt, and canned peas & carrots.

Janelle and I went to the market downtown to look for a big wardrobe for my bedroom, since they don't have closets here. We didn't quite find what we were looking for... but we did find last week's episode of LOST inside a pirated DVD store!

Tomorrow its off to work and then afterwards to have tea with my new landlady downstairs. I have a slight headache, so perhaps I'll go to bed early.