I’m so sorry its taken me so long to get things up here! I made friends the first month here and they were strengthened in October and therefore… I kept myself busy in November by being with them instead of being productive on here. Oops!
This is what I have learned in the 5 or so weeks I’ve been away from the blog:
When the temp drops to the 50s, everything thereafter needs heat. This week its been back to the high sixties and low seventies and I get excited to sit inside coffee shops only to my dismay that the heat is on and I’m better off outside in the shade. I love it here none-the-less but it definitely doesn’t feel like its December. Christmas still feels far away. On a happy note, I’m pretty sure we are going up to the mountains to stay in a lodge surrounded by snow for the Christmas Holiday.
2. Kids don’t really have bikes or outdoor toys because there isn’t room for them to use them in the city but at the markets, all the kids have scooters which is really funny. They get in everyones way but are having a good time. I can’t wait until I can speak arabic well enough to make friends and laugh with them.
3. Most Lebanese think stuffing is gross, so I was happy because for thanksgiving I was able to eat all the left overs 🙂 We had two thanksgivings, one for just our program on the actual day to feel more familial and then one we hosted for all of our friends to come.
4. For birthday’s, if you are close with someone, you get them a present so for my birthday (tomorrow) at my party (last night) I received a number of really awesome gifts. I was so blessed by all my friends and thankful for some many awesome people that came over to celebrate. We had a Christmas themed party which will be posted on here and Facebook later this weekend.
5. Halloween in Lebanon is Dec 4th, but they celebrate it on the following weekend. Its for “St. Barbara”, not sure what she did or who she is but you eat lots of certain kind of desserts and kids dress up just like we do on Oct. 31st in America.
6. For one of the girl’s birthday in my program, we had a “wine & canvas” type party (at her request.) I bought 11 canvases and taught the class on how to paint birch trees. It was really fun and we painted a lot of really cool pictures. This will also be up on the blog soon.
7. I’ve been visiting different campuses in the last 5 weeks and am excited to share a new part of my blog about each one. Probably more to come in Jan and throughout the Spring.
8. Most girls in America know how to use a straightener and own one. Here in Lebanon most girls leave their hair how it is naturally and only get it straightened if they go to the salon. Its actually pretty cheap here to get your hair “brushed” which includes: washing, blow drying, brushing and styling. Some women get it done once a week but most college students leave it curly so the days I wear my hair natural are the days I get mistaken as lebanese way more often.
9. Traffic is CRAZY. There are about 1.5 million people who live in our city but it doubles during the day so coming into the city without real highways (as we know them) and going out at night is absolute chaos. The other night I was meeting a friend at the mall just outside the city and although I thought leaving a half hour early was plenty of time, it ended up taking a whole hour. To get home it took 13 minutes, only an hour and a half later after being at the mall for dinner.
10. Students who come from Christian backgrounds are really involved in their churches and instead of having “youth group” on Wednesday nights like most in America, Shabibeh is on Saturday nights. Its usually around what we call dinner time, 6pm but everyone eats after. I’ve accustomed some to the Lebanese eating times but it depends on the day. Breakfast, if you eat it, is at 10; lunch is between 1-3 (sometimes 4 or 5) and then dinner is later like 9-10pm. This was really hard for me to get used to at first.
Thanks everyone for reading! Really exciting things happening here in the Middle East. Will report again soon!