Saturday, February 28, 2009

Malls and Movies

Well, since the last post got so many comments, I thought I would update you on this weekends' shopping adventures.

We saw a movie in the mall tonight, and when I was telling my parents about it, I realized how different the movies are here, and thought that maybe you would be interested in the differences.
  • You pick out your seats on a screen when you buy your tickets.
  • You are escorted to your seats at the movie.
  • It is comparable to a nice movie theater in the States with stadium seating and nice big chairs!
  • 90% of the movies are in English with both French and Arabic subtitles
  • 85% of the movies are Hollywood movies, a few are from the Arab world, and occasionally there is a Bollywood, I think.
  • The matinee is about $5 and the evening show is $8, so that is comparable or better than the States
  • Most of the movies from the States are fairly recent although we may be a month or so behind what is showing there, but if you want to see a movie here that is not showing in the theater, you can get a pirated dvd for $3.
  • And of course, there are still those same middle school/high school kid that sit in front of you, talk, and change seats multiple time during the movie!
Okay, so I have more stores to add to list that you may recognize:
ESPIRT (I got 3 shirts there)
Nine West

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

what have I done that is blogworthy?....SHOP

So, I have not forgot about the blog, but I have had a hard time, thinking of what of my life this past week is blog-worthy. I have officially been here for 6 weeks now! So, lets talk about shopping, cause just cause I moved overseas, doesn't mean I gave up this pastime!

Shopping Here
  • Like Europe, the sales here are only twice a year, and all the stores have the sales at the same time. February and August are the sales months. We actually talked about this in our International Business class in college, but our angle was that a foreigner doing international business, you could encounter problems if you tried to have a sale that was not during the "sale season."
  • As a bargain hunter, I am having to get all my shopping done this month, cause otherwise I will have to wait 6 more months to shop!
  • My neighborhood has mostly higher end stores, but I have found one place that is more comparable to a Ross, so I have gotten several shirts there!
  • Shopping is great language practice! I am practicing asking how much? and Do you have this in black? And of course, you can listen to the others that are shopping too!
  • Like anything else here, you can pay with US Dollars, you will just get the national currency back in change! Not as many places here take cards, (no offense America, but it is a little ridiculous that we use our cards at Sonic's DriveThru) so I carry bigger US Dollars than I ever did at home! And you def. practice your math skills, cause not only do you have to take a percent off, you have to convert currencies!
  • Although there is less of a variety of sizes than the US (for the most part, the clothing here is much smaller) there is a much greater variety from sluty to ultra conservative! This def. makes this country much different than the rest of the region. But it is nice that conservative clothes are in abundance and are made to be cute!
  • Style is very important here! I am having fun, wearing stuff that I know I would not wear in the US, as far as styles go, but I get complements when I go with the new styles. It is fun to try new things!
  • For example, skinny jeans and tall boots... It seems every girl from 13-45 wears skinny jeans tucked into a stylish pair of tall black boots! Do I own a pair of boots tall enough to do this, or a pair of jeans skinny enough? No, but it is def. growing on me. Even my language tutor who covers her head wears skinny jeans tucked into a pair of black boots! But when I am used to American bootcut jeans, even if I got a pair of boots, my jeans would not fit in them, without puckering alot...see I have seriously considered this! Gotta join in the culture right?
  • Stores in my city, that you may know: Aldo, Clarks, Nautica, Puma, Yves Rocher, (my minds seems to have blanked, but I think there are more!)
Sorry this was a girly post, but can you blame me?

Monday, February 16, 2009


Check out my adventures in my Ruins in the Rain album! Follow the link below:

And you can tour our apartment here:

And a big THANK YOU to the girls at home for the Valentines. I decorated my wall with them! I got them in about a week, but wanted to show you how cute they were with the pictures!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vegetable Peeler English Usage Manual

Beware, this is painful…

So I bought a vegetable peeler, cause ours was not very good, although I bought this at like a dollar store, so it might not be much better. Right as I was throwing away the packaging, I realized that it was all in English, and I was surprised. There are at least fifteen sentences on this package for warnings and instructions! For a vegetable peeler, really! So I tried to read it and it was painful trying to understand what they were trying to say. Do they not have someone check their packages before they print them? (It was made in China) So I thought I would share some with you. This gives a little perspective to why it is important that I learn to speak Arabic correctly, not just the way I think sounds better or is easier for me:

Peeler Usage Manual (printed on the back of the package)
[I am doing my best to type it all as it appears, so nothing is a typo!]

With gratitude meaning you use the product of the my firm, very much from the bottom of the heart. Please must take a look first this manual before using, in order to use in the exactitude. Pleasing furthermore must keep this manual.

Attention: Please at the time of dismantling wrapping, be careful and do not run into the knife blade, because of for mow the wound hand easily.

The attention that use the top orders:
  • Please at before using have a meal first rinse liquid that having and using cleaning empress use again.
  • Divided by the vegetable, fruit excluding, cannot used for the other. It is in view of the fact fo fake the thing of the bald, so while using please watch for safety.
  • The handle is placed in to slip away the slippery appearance descend (oil, water, wash away dirt etc.)to please do not use.
  • Were sliced the object accumulate the small time, pleasing watch for the finger do not want to touch with blade,because incaution cut the hand easily.
  • The absolute prchibition against child uses alone. While using must adult together,teach to the right operation method in chile,in well carefully of foundation,send greeting the whole usage.
  • Descend to please do not use at the apperance that transformed.
  • Under the heavy circumatance in burthen please avoid usage, for cause like this and easily the product transforms.
  • Please do not used for the strong and tough material, cause razor blade indentation,mistake an etc.easily.
  • Please do not put by the side of fiety and near.Because the resin may take place to melt, burn, transform the excrescent cirmcumstance in ect.
  • Please wash,clearly wipe after using to f*ck,make it kept to the best dry,whereas,cause easily the rust, germs breeds. (the asterisk is mine in this sentence, it is the only change that I have made to all this)
  • Such as usage the metals brush, grinds the powder etc.wash away dirt, cause the wear and tear easily.
  • Please place the place that can not take in the child takes care of.

    This has to be a joke right?! Thanks for reading, can’t believe you made it through all that!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So I get a call late Monday night, inviting me to go with some of my co-workers to this touristy place about an hour from my city on Tuesday. I didn't take long to decide, of course! I had wanted to see this ancient place. It is known from Biblical times through the Middle Ages. It has alters to Baal, A Temple of Jupiter, and the largest free standing wall of columns in the world! As soon as I got off the phone though, I realized that Tuesday was supposed to be the coolest day of the week and had an 80% chance of rain, so I was trying to decide what to wear, however, since I had never been to this place before, I did not realize that it was in the mountains! And those I was going with did not think to check the weather...can you tell where this is going?

So, Tuesday, we make it to the town with the ruins, alters, and temples, and immediately all have to buy gloves, scarves and hats! Then we head to the ruins, temple, and huge columns, and practically run through all of it, because it is raining, and you can see your breath, and everyone but I forgot their camera. So I did not get as many pics as I wanted, but hey, the sky was not the best for a background that day!

So we get back in the car and try to head farther up the mountain to see this National Forest Reserve. And that is when we start to notice that the cars heading the opposite direction have snow on their cars. Eventually the road gets bad and we realize that the higher we go, the slushier the roads will be, or worse, so we had to turn around, but at this point, the roads continue to get worse as we leave the mountains. Eventually, we even had to pull over and the guys put chains on the tires! This Oklahoma girl has never had to put chains on her tires before, how ironic is it that the first time is in the Middle East?! We took some fun snow pictures, while the guys worked on the chains. I know everyone talks about how crazy people drive in foreign countries, and this one is not exception. We were driving on curvy mountain roads without lines, and people were still passing going fast in the snow...until the cars started having trouble going up the mountain. Thankfully, we were headed down from the mountains at that point, very prayerfully. Lhumdilla (thank God) we had bought the extra gloves, scarves, and hats when the weather was warmer earlier in the day, cause the guys really needed them when they were putting the chains on. We made it back to the city safe and sound!

In the city it rained and stormed that night. I think we went from a 20 degree change in weather patterns that day, in less than an hour and 45minutes drive max. Another Lhumdilla (thank God) we got our generator hooked up last week, cause the electric went out that evening for several hours at our apartment, but we still had limited power with the generator!

What an adventure! I will post pictures soon!

Lunch with my Language Teacher

Saturday, I was invited to my language teachers’ for lunch/dinner. Lunch is the big meal here. And they eat it at around 3PM. I went with my supervisor and his wife, because we all take language from her. She is actually living with her in-laws during the week, and her parents during the weekends, cause money has been tight. She is not happy with the arrangement. But this way, I got to meet more of her family. She is 28, and has 6 and 4 year old girls. We met her parents, her husband, her younger brother, and one of her sisters and her sisters’ fiancĂ©.

I had tried to make thin mints to take, but they did not turn out too well. They tasted good, but did not look too pretty, so I picked up half a kilo of goodies from the local bakery/candy shop to take as a gift. We were greeted very warmly with the cultural 3 kisses and ushered into the living room, where the tv was kept on the entire time on the National Geographic channel, until later when the girls changed it to Disney! And after the girls warmed up to us, we played, and read a lot of books. Thankfully, there is not much of a language barrier when you play peek a boo with a 4 year old, or just obey all their commands to stand here, now stand there!

We were served water, and then juice before lunch. Then for lunch, they spread newspaper out on the floor, and we all crowded around on the floor. We were all given our own plates and spoon (which is better than some meals I had in Turkey). About half way through the meal we were served Pepsi. (they don't drink with their meals). We had a beef and rice dish that was really good, with some spicy salsa, and fried potatoes, hummus, pita bread, and salad. It was all really good, and thankfully, nothing was too exotic.

After the meal, they set out the sweets that we had brought, and they smoked. Then we had chi tea. Then a little later, they served us fruit! So we ate, and ate, and ate!

It was fun to see my teacher outside of class, and watch her interact with her children. It is comforting to see how she teases her girls and talks really loud with them too. That way I know when she is talking really loud in language that, that is normal for her and she is not mad.

It was a lot of fun! I am sure I learned much more about culture than I even realized that I learned from the outing! Can't wait to go again, and her mom really liked me, because of my "baby face," so hopefully, there will be a next time!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Arabic Takehome Test, wait no its ORAL!

I also finished the 1A level at my language school, and start 1B next week! I had my first test, which I thought was going to be take home. I had promised my teacher that I would not look at my book. She said she was close with God, and he would know if I cheated and tell her, so I better not cheat!

But then when it came time to take the test, she found out from the administration that it was oral! Oh no! But then again maybe that would be better. So she brought me my oral exam, which was several pages and not at all what I would call oral. And I completely blanked, more than I have on any other test in my life! And this time I had my teacher sitting just a few feet away from me, bored out of her mind, watching me struggle through the test. Can you imagine having to watch an adult that speaks another language take a kindergarten English exam, and they can’t seem to understand what they are supposed to be doing? Rightly so, it very boring.

She helped me through it, though, and it was not graded. And she did give me “bravos” the few times I actually got something right the first time, which helped, cause I lost confidence very quickly. It was comforting that she crossed out some of the questions, because she did not understand what they were wanting!

Now, maybe I will be a little more prepared for my next text! At least it won’t screw up my GPA!

Electrician: Is this normal?

Yay! We got a generator set up for our apt this week! I have never had an electrician come to my house in the States, but here are some things I found interesting about the process. Maybe you can tell me if it is normal, or just cultural differences?

-He actually came early (that is really strange for this culture)

-He charged us more than he said he was going to, but then brought the price back down to what we expected all in the name of the son of the people who had recommended him to us. Steven, the fifth grade son of the couple who recommended the electrician to us, saved us about $30 because of his outgoing, outrageous, memorable personality!

-He smoked while he worked in our kitchen. He did not even ask, that is the culture here. But I was surprised to find cigarette butts on the kitchen floor and in the sink. The first time the sink was empty, the second time we had dishes in there!

-He asked us for coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but my roommate had some Nescafe which is pretty similar. But we had no milk. I had to figure out how to make it while my roommate was not there, using her hot pot, and in front of him too cause he was working in the kitchen.

-We had to watch and tell him which cord he was wiggling on the other side of the wall. I would expect that in the States.

-He came on his motorcycle, to assess, then leave and get supplies and come back with them on the motorcycle.

-He can install a generator, when we are without electricity.

-Of course, it is culturally not appropriate for me to be here along with a man in the apt, so I had to keep the front door open and have my roommate or a friend over here. Neighbors are always watching us American girls!

-He knew very little English and explained everything in Arabic, while I worked really hard to understand from all his hand motions how it all worked. Smile and nod.

-Since our walls are concrete, you don’t run wires in between the walls, so the cord goes around the room on the wall. It goes half way across the kitchen, then out the door, and from the door it goes across our courtyard, to the wall on the other side of the courtyard, which is a story taller than our apt. Kinda hard to explain, but it is just really long!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I am not Lasy!

My teacher today said I was the opposite of "lasy" as she wrote it. She was searching for the English word, but none of the ones I suggested she liked, so I don't know what I am but I am not lasy. Although I am still very weak at language, at least I know it shows that I am trying! It made my day.

I also bought a rug today for my bedroom. I should have pictures of our apartment for you by the end of this week! Yah! Can't wait to share it with you.