A comment on my blog made me realize that I was maybe definitely becoming too pessimistic and sort of really hating on Syria. I’m going to correct that now. I’m going to make a top 30 list of all the things I just wouldn’t be able to do without Syria and all the things I’ve learned. You be the judge: was it worth it?
30. Black outs were very frequent in the summer of ’06, during the war in Lebanon, so I can handle six hours of no electricity.
29. I know how to pick fruits.
28. I know how to mash said picked fruits into jam. Seriously. I made apricot jam. Beat that!
27. I also made vinegar.
26. And tomato paste. Syria’s still big on the whole let’s save for the winter cellar thing.
25.I know how to ishtuf. You pour water and use this man-size squeegee to push the water towards the drain. It can be pretty fun when it’s hot out and the veranda turns into one huge water park.
24. I can now knit. Passably.
23. I drive stick shift. Nice, eh?
22. I also know how to start a standard car without a key. All you need is a slight decline.
21. And how to hot-wire a car. Yup… all in a days work.
20. I can make popcorn using some butter, salt, kernels, and my trust-worthy Tefal casserole.
19. After much dropping of clothing from 11 floors up, I can now successfully hang a washed load to dry. All by myself. Complete with shaking them out before hanging, and using one clothing pin for two items of clothing.
18. I can successfully teach (I was a full-time grade 6 & 7 teacher for two years and am currently an adult teacher)
17. I’ve been introduced to the world of blogging. Hello, blogging world!
16. I’ve met some pretty amazing people.
15. I’ve got this collection of Syrian adages. They’re hilarious.
14. I know my way around some of Damascus. It makes me feel so important.
13. I debkeh with the best of them.
12. I also know some aweeeehas. And my zalgouta? The le-le-le-le-leeysssh thing? Everybody always stares like: The Canadian? Where’d she get that from? (they’ve asked me repeatedly to teach them. Me, the canadian, teach them, the syrians!)
11. After a ton of practice I can now brew turkish coffee.
10. And drink bitter coffee without pulling a face.
9. I’ve learnt some of the ins and outs of Syrian customs.
8. I’ve learnt that you don’t say makhtoob for a guy. He’s khateb and the girl’s makhtoobeh. Apparently, it’s a biggie.
7. I sort of understand Iraqi arabic. When we first got here, there was a huge influx of Iraqi refugees. At first I understood nothing! They’d be speaking and my face’d be pretty much blank. I get a few words now. Like zain. Zain, 3ami, zain! Good, good!
6. I can bargain and barter passably!! Listen to this
S&S: pick up what I want and pull a face.
Store Owner: What? Don’t you like it?
S&S: It’s not too bad.. but the price is ridiculous! walk off
SO: Where you going? Khalas, don’t worry. We won’t disagree. lowers the price
S&S: raises eyebrow.
And we proceed to do exactly that – disagree. As a rule, I generally don’t like haggling. I’ve seen people disagree over as little as 50 pounds! That’s around a dollar. But sometimes the Syrian in me rears its head and so I find my self in Old Damascus haggling like some old crone.
5. I have a huge collection of hijabs and abbayehs, two things that were scarce and extremely expensive in Canada.
4. I can read and write Arabic! That’s a good one.
3. I’m slowly yet surely learning how to hold my tongue and be patient.
2. I’ve been in a few choice situation that have taught me some life lessons I’m not likely to forget any time soon.
1. I’ve realized how truly blessed I am, alhamdiAllah. Both for the life I led and the life I am leading.