Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pirate Ships and Tourists and Me

My seaside African town welcomed me and my exploring feet today. I wore skinny jeans and boots to fit into the local attire, as well as a cardigan and scarf because of the salty wind and cold. I grabbed a notebook, pen, book, and some dinar and was set.

The smell of fish and fried bread drew me to the Medina, or the 'City Center' of town, where I purchased pastries and one more rainbow scarf.  I was not the only foreigner roaming through the ancient walls. Sunburned and fleshy retired Europeans strolled through the Medina in their spaghetti straps and shorts, oblivious to both the chill and culture.  Alongside the Medina was a peer with docked 'pirate ships' waiting for the gullible tourists to be lulled into their 4 hour tours.

Apart from the pirate ships and mass Europeans, it indeed felt like the Arab world. Just a bit fishy and also a bit French. I pulled out my notebook to begin surveys with a few of the young women and was able to glean some valuable information for our research. Yet, I couldn't help but wish I had a friend with me as I tasted and smelled and touched and walked. Just someone to laugh with when I can't understand the shop-keepers or when I fail miserably at navigating.

Now I'm back at home with my awesome American family, where I can hear the waves and see a light-house in the distance from our living room window. Soon, I'll begin my nightly routine of line-dancing in the kitchen with the teenage boys I live with. I think our featured song tonight is "John Deere Green." Keep your eyes out for a future video post of our Texas dancing talent.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Packing for North Africa

I may have just written a nostalgic post about transitioning back to the States from the Middle East and the desire to use a drying rack.  However, I'm returning to the Arab world tomorrow for two months. North Africa!

My packing thus far. As you can see, I'm bringing peanut butter and Altoids with me. Yes, that is also a swimsuit, since I can hear the sea from my bedroom!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Drying Rack

I'm allowing myself one post-Jordan entry... and its about laundry.

I went to Target and bought a drying rack. Now, my parents have a great dryer, but I miss my drying rack. Actually, I miss drying my clothes on the line on top of my first roof in Jordan. Its ridiculous though. In the winter our clothes would hang for several days until they grew mildew, and they still wouldn't be dry. I would've given anything to have a dryer. Now, I MUST hang my clothes.

Hanging clothes to dry isn't only about the crispness of the laundry or the saving of energy. To me, it represents a simpler life. One in which I scheduled time in my day to hang clothes, wash dishes, and cook from scratch. I once thought that chores like these took away precious time and the invention of machines made life easier. Yet it almost felt like such chores kept life paced and simple. Routine. They gave time to think and pray and listen to music and talk to whoever may be coming or going.

I hope that I will always have a drying rack instead of a dryer, just as reminder to keep life slower, simpler. And to retain a part of my old and uncomplicated Levant life.

My neighbor's laundry hanging to dry. One of my favorite sites.