Archive for June, 2009

First day of class

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Well, here we go again.  Today I began my  third straight year of school.  I’ve been attending one school or another (minus xmas and spring break) constantly since June 2007.  And I actually really like it, so no feeling sorry for me.

Today I started Arabic classes.  I tested into level four (beginner intermediate), which is where I expected/wanted to be.  So far I think I’m beyond this level of grammar (I just did a grammar class spring quarter at OSU), but my speaking and listening are not really great, so this is the right class for that.  I also plan to start taking private lessons three days a week in Syrian (the colloquial language) within the next week.

So there are about 13 people in my class: 1 Iranian, 4 Spaniards, 1 German, 1 Chinese, 1 Malaysian, 3 Americans (me and my two OSU classmates, funny how we all got put in the same class), 1 Brit, and 1 Australian.  I am VERY excited about the chinese girl (Wen Qiying, but since Syrians can’t pronounce Qiying, she gave her name as Kiween).  We spent a while chatting in Chinese during break, much to the amazement of the rest of the class.

I’ll let you know more about classes once I’ve had a week of them and actually have something to say about the homework and stuff.

I also have more pictures to post, but I’ll probably be slow in doing it now that school has started.

More pictures!

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

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Mosque being refurbished in front of the unfinished ministry of religion (has been sitting there for 10+ years).  This is at Sahat Marjet (Martyrs Square), a major hub (more…)

Pictures, finally

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Finally some pictures, if I can get them to upload anyway, the connection is sketchy here and some things are blocked.  I wish you all could be here though, the pictures don’t do it justice

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This is the courtyard of the house I’m staying in.  It is very cool here in the (more…)

The Joys of Syrian Bureaucracy

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Well, today I got lots of stuff done, and I got to witness first hand the legendary Syrian bureaucracy, though I was assured that what I went through was MUCH easier and much more friendly than what it had been like in the old immigration office.  Let me back up, today I registered at the Syrian immigration office for a living permit here in Damascus.  I spent about an hour running around between various offices, accumulating signatures and stamps on a form that I was ultimately to hand to the “general” for signature and a stamp in my passport.  It was crowded (no such thing as lines in Syria, much like China) and hot, but it seemed like the officials were specifically helpful to me and Jennifer, I suspect because (more…)

Arrival in Damascus

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Well, I know two things very well now, or at least I have confirmed in a big way what I already know: one, God loves me very much and ALWAYS takes care of me, second: I am VERY good at making friends ;)>.

Several things happened over the past day to confirm these for me.  First of all, at the Dubai airport, they moved the gate for the boarding and I didn’t notice, until 7 minutes before the plane was supposed to take off that is.  I ran to the new gate and got in just in time.  As I tried to go to my seat, I discovered that (more…)

Hello from Dubai

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Ok, so the Dubai aiport, kinda lame, but I decided to just sleep in the airport intead of spending money on a hotel.  The airport is actually pretty nice.  There is free wifi, and chairs that lean back where you can sleep.  I’ve had a long, but uneventful flight over here.  I met a mother with her three daughters at Cincinatti and she overheard me saying I was going to Syria.  Well so was she!  I kept them company and entertained her girls as we waited for our next flight (we had the same plane).  I didn’t get to talk to them much during the flight over the atlantic since we were a couple seats apart.  I met another girl (my age) who was born in America but was ethnic Palestinian, who sat beside me on the plane.  She was going to Jordan to visit family.  She was suprised that I knew how to correctly pronounce her name (yesmeen, the Arabic form of Jasmine).

Once I arrived in Dubai I exchanged a little money and ate some snacks a brought from home.  I didn’t like my choices between unhealthy – Burger King – and expensive – insert name of restarurant that I’ve never heard of before, but looks very high class.  So instead I had granola bars, carrots, sweet snap peas, and broccoli.

I should arrive in Damascus around 9:30 tomorrow morning Damascus time (they are 7 hours ahead of you all).  My roommate, well kind of roommate, who arrived two days ago as scoped out some rooms I’m going to look at, and I’ll probably pick one out tomorrow as well and get started on registering for classes, registering at the embassy, and registering at the Syrian immigration office *sighs*.  Classes don’t start till June 28, so I have a good week and a few days to arrange everything and get familiar with the area.  Thanks for your prayers so far, God has taken good care of me, and I really look forward to arriving in Damascus.

In Him

Lydia