Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The East Gate

After spending most of the day speaking Arabic with my instructor, I headed to the university to meet a few friends. Feeling confident in my language skills and ready to relax, I flagged a taxi, jumped in, and let my mind relax...

I casually told the driver, "Sharuq Al Ausit," wanting to be delivered to the "East Gate" of the university. In the rearview mirror I saw the driver's eyebrows raise, so I repeated myself just to clarify. This time he turned around to face me, "Aslan!" meaning "already." Ahah! This was another taxi driver trying to trick the lonely American girl, but I was not going to allow it.

"Sharuq Al Ausit!" I exclaimed a third time loudly and directly. He repeated himself once more in exasperation, and all in one moment I understood what was happening. "Sharuq Al Ausit" does not mean "East Gate." It means "The Middle East."

My confused taxi driver was correct, we were already in the Middle East.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Visitor

This week I had a dear friend visit from South Asia. We met in grad-school five years ago and spent the last few days catching up, laughing, and praying while riding donkeys in the desert, sleeping next to a Bedouin campfire, and climbing sand dunes. We also managed to watch a few movies, eat pizza with some Arab friends, and each study our individual languages. We even found that our languages share a few of the same words!

I didn't capture the scream that came right after the photo!

This was our Bedouin tour guide. Can you tell that he really liked Cathy?

Sunset in the desert

We slept outside so we could see the stars.

Cathy enjoying our jeep tour.

Sweet Bedouin children at Petra. I wanted to take them home with me!

Monday, October 11, 2010