While on my vacation in Israel, I took a few walks in the city of Jerusalem at night. This was one particular night in which I captured a beautiful picture of a view of the Old City in Jerusalem from a distance. “What a beautiful sight”, I thought with the shining light of a most beautiful full moon hovering above one of the most beloved places on earth for Christians, Jews and Muslims, alike. Don’t you agree?
I truly believe that we are more alike than we are different. Why should we let our differences prevent us from showing love or kindness to others who are different from ourselves? Well, I believe that we can acknowledge that we are different while welcoming each other as we are.
While in Israel, I met a very kind and lively young woman who worked at a restaurant that I ate at while on tour in Jericho. Besides the fact that she was Muslim and I was Christian, we talked that day and found out that we had so much in common, more than our difference in faith. Well, she invited me to visit her home while I was there, and I gladly accepted the invitation. So, before I left Israel, I called her up to make plans to visit her and her family.
I went on the third day of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan which is considered a time for spiritual purification for Muslims. During Eid al-Fitr, families come together and celebrate the end of the fasting period of Ramadan with lots of traditional dishes and delicacies and fun.
Though I was Christian, I was welcomed as if I was part of the family. Some of the members of my friend’s family even thought I looked like family and that I could be Palestinian. I had a great time with some great food. We visited the center of town where they were heavily celebrating in the main center and to the park for some entertainment for the children. Lol…I even rode in the bumper cars. My friend’s sister and family insisted that I spend the night with them. So, I did.
The next morning, we had breakfast together and chatted. The whole time I was with them, they were just so welcoming and took care of me very well. We shared a truly memorable experience that I will carry with me for years to come. Though our faiths were different, the love that we are commanded to show others brought us together in a welcoming way.
“Love God, Love People”
- ‘Eid’ holidays fixed (arabtimesonline.com)
- Ramadan 2012: History, Dates, Greeting And Rules Of The Muslim Fast (huffingtonpost.com)
- Leaving Palestine :( (liaminpalestine.com)
So, from learning pool as a past-time while in Saudi, I would occasionally hangout by the pool outside of the pool house. There wasn’t much to do on our small compound, but every now and again, I’d just walk over to the pool house just to get out of the villa…and lol…take pictures as you can see which was one of the favorite things for the compound office staff to do. I can still hear them say, “Make picture”.
In Saudi Arabia, I would spend some of my afternoons and evenings at our compound’s pool house. There, we had a pool table, lounge (with projector to watch movies from your computer on the big screen or the wall, actually) and sauna. Sometimes, I would just go there just to get out of the villa for a change. Other times, I’d go to use the Internet or maybe watch something.
Well, some of the guys would play pool and invite me to play. I didn’t really know how, but they showed me how and gave me some on the spot mini-lessons and pointers. So, whenever I had some spare time which there seemed to be a lot of in Saudi, I would go over and practice a little pool. I think I actually got a little good at it after only playing about a couple of months but definitely wasn’t a pro or anything like that. Though, someone once likened me to the Tiger Woods of pool. Wait a minute. Maybe that was just me :-) . However, I did win a few games played with some of the pros on the compound which not only surprised me but them too sometimes because they weren’t just trying let me win. So, maybe I do have a bright future in pool after all…lol. So, I have golf from Korea and now pool from Saudi. Hmm…maybe I should seriously include them in my back up plans. Don’t you think?
So, in your traveling, what things have you learned that have helped you pass the time?
Okay, I took the photo challenge for this week. This is a picture taken during my vacation in Egypt. I was in Alexandria, Egypt just getting ready to go inside to see the Pillar of Pompey when my guide and a couple other guides from Memphis Tours began some friendly chatter. (Silly me…I thought they were all the way from Memphis, Tennessee. However, Memphis used to be the capital city of ancient Egypt which is what they are named after.) He told me that one of the guides wanted to take a picture with me and that he would be my adoptive grandfather. Lol…not only do stray cats find adoptive families around the world, but so do people. Well, at least I seem to, and I love it :-D
One day, one of my most eager Saudi students came to me after class. She did this several times as she was eager to improve her English and sometimes had a question, asked for a resource or just wanted to share, utilizing her English. Though she felt she was very bad in English, I felt she was one of my best students because she tried her best and was motivated to learn. On this particular day, she shared with me that the day before, she had been sitting at home with nothing to do and just began to write a diary (entry) of her life.
She was so proud of what she wrote having written her thoughts out in English to the best of her abilities. She thought it wouldn’t make much sense as she handed her notebook to me to read. However, as I read it, I was amazed by what she had written and how she had expressed herself. I encouraged her that what she did was a great example of her desire to learn and improve her English because some students barely want to do any work in class, let alone attempt to express themselves in written form outside of class as she did. I impressed upon her that even she was going a step further by both thinking about her feelings and expressing what she felt about her life in English. Even though there were some mistakes, her efforts were far greater than any apparent errors and that I could understand what she had written and meant despite her (writing) mistakes.
As a matter of fact, understanding what she meant caused my eyes to water, and I almost cried. Thinking about her being so eager to learn with such big hopes for her future which to her will never see the light of day because of the restrictions placed on her as a woman in Saudi Arabia and what she feels her religion will dictate for her future. I tried to encourage her that she can be successful and to not give up her hopes for her future because anything is possible. Not only that, but as she keeps practicing her English will continue to improve, as well.
So without further ado, you may read her thoughts (below) about her life that she shared with me on that day.
[Click on the image for a larger view.]
So what are your thoughts about what my student shared? What was your feeling as you were reading?
- Saudi youth call for end of religious rule (ifaynsh.wordpress.com)
- Saudi Women’s Spring (nationalinterest.org)
- No Female Olympians for Saudi Arabia (patheos.com)
- How to Learn English (answers.com)
- How to Teach English Effectively (socyberty.com)
- 70 Ways To Improve Your English (doetaec.wordpress.com)
I was so happy to be at the top! However, going up and down those stairs to it was anything but happy for me. Why? Well, you see, I’m a little afraid of heights. So, I was trying to hang onto every rail that I could get my hand on…lol.
Well, once I made it to the top, I started my descent down into the pyramid. Yes, I said down. Venturing inside a pyramid means going down a ladder-like pathway, and the best way to do this is walking down backwards. I’ll tell you one thing, if you haven’t exercised in a good while, then your legs are going to get a real workout. I know mine did. To add to that, keep in mind the hot temperatures outside and the fact that you’re going down into an enclosed infrastructure. It’s hot and humid with an awful smell. Even before getting to the end of the pyramid, I was sweating like I was in a sauna. Oh, but what a sweet pay-off once I made it to the end of my first ever walk through a pyramid! Excuse me if I got a little silly, but I had to take a few pictures and video of it all even if I was shining like new money in glistening sweat…lol.
Now for some funny video of me documenting my journey out of the Red Pyramid…
Now for a few more pictures…
What an awesome experience it was for me to get a chance to not only see the pyramids but to actually get to go inside of one. The Red Pyramid was awesome! If you ever go to Egypt, I think it would be worth your while to purchase a ticket to venture into any one of the pyramids that allows entrance. To me, going inside was like being inside of a page of a history book!
While I was in Israel, with my place of stay secured in the affordable Jerusalem Apartments, I wondered where I could get some affordable fresh produce and meats other than the small corner markets that I had been going to. On one of my tours, I met another tourist who told me about Mahane Yehuda Market which was within walking distance from where I was staying.
Mahane Yehuda Market is a famous shuk (Hebrew term for an outdoor market; called a “souk” in Arabic) in Jerusalem. It also happens to be called “The Shuk” being that it’s also the largest shuk in Jerusalem. You can find almost anything you need there from food and kitchen items to souvenirs and clothing. You can even bargain with some vendors, even those with set prices.
I loved shopping there and did so many more times than I can remember. The atmosphere was noisy, busy and crowded, yet with an air of excitement. Every sense that you have, whether sight, smell, touch, sound or taste will be stimulated if you allow so by everything around you. The streets of the market were constantly filled with everyone from locals to tourists, Greeks, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, there were no lines drawn.
I especially enjoyed the fresh meats straight from the butchers, the olives and fruits! Oh, those olives were amazing with so many choices of flavors and spices. The lemon olives were some of my favorite. The fruit was delicious! Plus, I have two beautiful dresses from there to rock that I got at such a great bargain.
I can’t say enough about it! If you’re ever in Jerusalem, you’ve got to experience it!
While in Jordan, I visited Amman where I had a guided tour of some key sites in the old city. One of the sites I saw was Amman’s Roman Theatre which houses the Jordan Museum of Popular Traditions. Inside you can find many different artifacts, but instead of me writing about them, I will let my kind guide tell you about them in this short, fact-filled tour of the museum.
If you ever visit Amman, stop by this popular museum and have a wonderful time!
- Amman’s downtown (srous85.wordpress.com)