Monday, October 23, 2006


(Hi! This is Elisa & Jenna. Sharon wrote these entries on October 6th & 7th, and we are posting them for her.)

I mentioned in one entry that fall came early to TimHdit. Well, it didn't. There was one chilly day and other than that it’s been no-jacket-yet weather. On my first morning and phase II, there were leaves on the ground - so it’s coming. There aren't many trees. The ones in the forest don't change color, I think. I think they're cedars but that doesn't make sense - maybe they're pine. There’s so much to learn about!

In class, we learned Arabic words to “if you're happy and you know it clap your hands” and Mina wants to start every class with it. Good way to learn some verbs and body parts and get some energy. The first line also could have come out of the Princeton Band Gross Carmina (“sfq b yddk”) but once we sang it the first time we stopped giggling about it. Back in high school, Martha and I used to sing “if you're spastic and you know it clap our hands” (and then miss) so it’s a way to think of her every day.

Speaking of high school, the person whose computer I use the most revealed her password and mentioned that it was the first password she had on here first AOL account in 7th grade. I said that in 7th grade we had punch cards and all of a sudden the room went silent. It was like that e-mail with “people born in 1984 have known no president before Reagan” or whatever. Upon returning from the first phase of CBT, there was some shifting and someone new moved into our room with six beds. It’s like a girls' dorm now, with more hanging out and munchies. We've also been staying up later. I do want to write about the other people in the group at some point. I keep thinking of an exchange I had with one of them. He said, “What if you're in a site and you don't like the other volunteers near you?” I said, “I like everybody,” and he said, “I've noticed that about you.”

Tea - From the moment I was called with the offer to come here I knew there would be lots of tea. Mint tea, I was told. They didn't mention the sugar (though I had a hint of that from the Princeton grad). We had a lesson on the making of tea and the importance of tea here. It's regular tea from China. You boil water, put in the tea leaves, pour it into a glass (not a teacup) and then back into the pot a few times (leaving out the sediment), add sugar, add more sugar, add more sugar than you might have dreamed possible, and add fresh mint leaves if available (my host mom grows it in her garden) or other spices in the winter. You bring the teapot and glasses into the room along with cookies, nuts or other goodies, and then you pour with a flourish from 12-15" above the glass. I've had some tea but I haven't said yes at every opportunity. I'm just not that much of a tea drinker - though I know that here it's not about the tea, it's about being social, so I will have more than I'm inclined to. When there's a choice, I've been going for the aqwa with hot hlib (coffee with hot milk) - it's very good. But to fit in I just have to have more tea!

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