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i have arrived!

September 16, 2010

It was a relatively hassle-free journey.  I am lying quietly on “my bed” for the moment (because my living situation will change in six weeks, so it’s not really mine), trying to take a breath.

There is a little boy in the building next door singing at the top of his lungs along with the radio. Really off-key. It sounds a little more like defiant yelling than singing, but I don’t judge. I’m still gonna leave my windows open because I think the sounds are helping me to adjust.

I am in a completely new world. I knew that coming in, but now that I’m here, it hits me harder. On the way over, I sat next to one of the only non-veiled women on the plane (she was wearing a little cross around her neck, so she’s obviously not Muslim…). She watched me struggle with the overhead compartment when I was trying to get my glasses out of my bag and motioned for me to stand on my seat so I could get the dumb thing closed. Then, as I sat down again, she lowered my tray table for me because the dinner carts were on their way. When I thanked her, she told me I was “like her daughter.”

“How old is your daughter?”
“38.”
“Oh…” (This is when I realized that, by “like my daughter,” she meant “young and female.” Unless I seem 38 to you?)
“My youngest son is 30. I was just in America for his engagement.”
“Congratulations!”
She beamed. “Thank you.”
And then I slept for almost the whole flight. I’m serious.

On the drive to the city from the airport I watched the red dust that colored the lower part of the sky and the barren ground and the forlorn trees, while Mrs. C explained to me in a mixture of Korean and English and the occasional Arabic word all kinds of things that I needed to know. She drove me first to the church where I’m working–tucked away in a part of the city that my guidebook describes as having no reason for a tourist to visit–and then to my current home, an apartment just around the corner from it.

I met my flatmate, a New Zealander. She left to go visiting while I settle in. (Of course, this is me settling in: getting on the Internet, calling my mom, and writing over here.)

At this point, my goals are simple: 1.) Buy a cell phone 2.) Figure out the orientation of this city and how to get around 3.) Find an Arabic tutor 4.) Learn. 5.) Oh yeah, and teach. (But that comes in a couple weeks.)

The little boy is not singing anymore, and now all I can hear is the call to prayer and cars honking. It’s getting darker already outside. What?! Okay. On to unpacking.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 11:23 pm

    Dearest skim, I was trying to listen to a Canadian Arabic radio station while doing my poli ec readings, but they’re talking about Justin Bieber and it got too oddly distracting — and it made me think of you. 😀 So glad to hear you’re there safe, and to read your gorgeous writing. Will say a quick prayer for you now! love

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