25 December, 2005

Salaam fi douniya

Happy holidays.
Yes, plural, to those of you Grinches complaining of acknowledging others.
It's late on Christmas morning/first night of Hanukkah.
About a week until I leave for Syria, where one blogger reported the bells tolling in Damascus to coincide with midnight mass last night.

Flipping channels on the television, I landed on a Christmas pageant/mass on LBC, a Lebanese channel.
What stopped me was that I noticed the young men playing the wise men looked to be mentally challenged. Then I noticed the rest of the cast.
All the players, save Mary, were mentally or physically challenged. Even the baby Jesus.
I found it quite moving and a nice reminder of some of the things what we should all keep in mind throughout the year.

I don't know, it was just the first thing I'd seen in a long time that I could possibly say moved me with the "holiday spirit."
And to those other Grinches that say Muslims don't worship the same god as you (and you know who you are)...Watch a church service in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, or Israel and try not to fall over when you hear the priest refer to Allah. God in any language is still God.


04 December, 2005

Anemic update

For those keeping track....Got the visa. Got the plane ticket. I leave January 3.
Beyond excited.

30 October, 2005

Syria, Insha'allah!

Well, for those of you keeping track of my address, get your White-Out and erasures. I am off again. This time it might be for a while. I plan to leave at the start of the new year for Damascus. Yes, Syria. Yes, Iraq's neighbor. Yes, Saul to Paul and all that.

I have been able to gauge people's knowledge of geopolitics by their response to my plans. People who know what Damascus is and where it is located are either quick with tales of dread and concern or very generous in their stories of how beautiful the country and its people are. Those who do not know casually toss off an "oh, that's nice."

I'll be living with a family and studying Arabic at Damascus University through September 2006, insha'allah.

So, I've been on the Road to Morocco and now I am on the road to Damascus. Granted, two very different experiences. And, honestly, while I hope for some sort of Damascene experience, I am hoping God skips the blinding white light stuff. Maybe a Burning Bush?

Joining the (not-so-exclusive) club

So. A blog. A screaming endorsement of egotism. A 21st century soap box or smoke signal. An electronic cairn for those who know me to follow my trail.

Aicha Qandisha, a spirit in the form of a woman, marries men in Morocco and causes them to go quite daft. Her husbands number in the many thousands at this point. I've only married one Moroccan. In comparison, I am either slacking or simply unable to multi-task as well as she. The men wander about, especially in dry riverbeds, searching for her when she disappears. When they catch site of her they, well, engage in conjugal relations on the spot regardless of where they are or who is there. If you ask my husband, he will be quick to tell you that he certainly hasn't been the same since he married me.

Taromeet is the Amazigh/Ashelhei word for foreigner in the feminine form. The root supposedly comes from the word for Roman, the original tourists to N. Africa, if you will. I love that the concept of "out-of-towner" in the language goes back that far.