Monday, May 2, 2011

The Other Deir

So for those of you who I haven't told, I have decided to get out of Syria within the next couple days.  Still haven't bought my ticket, but they're (almost) daily and the same price whether I buy it 5 days or 5 hours before the time of departure.  Upon my departure, I will give a more candid rundown of how I see the situation here.

Regardless, my last post reminded me that I haven't talked about my new home yet.  If you remember, in January I moved to a new place in the "new" old city of Aleppo, called Al-Jadeida.  It is also a monastery, or deir, but that is mostly just a name.  In practice, it's a student house for Syrians, mostly Damascenes, who are studying in Aleppo.  One of the students at the institute has lived there since the beginning, so my friend Chris and I decided to move to get more of an Arab environment than we were getting in our previous place.  But the real reason I'm talking about this is to show pictures of the beautiful courtyard of the Arab styled house that has been my home for the past few months.

Behind the tree is Chris preparing to throw an orange he has in his right hand at me.

Living here has also made me realize that in order for any foreigner to successfully live in the Middle East (or maybe just Syria) for an extended period of time, they need to have local friends.  I don't know that many Syrians, and most of them are from the Deir.  However, they left for a few weeks while they were on break from school, and during that time I spent most of my time with my room mate, Chris.  It was a bit weird, but because I was mostly only interacting with foreigners, it felt like I was watching a movie.  Everywhere I went were people with whom I had no relation, and I just watched them going about their daily lives.  They were separate from me, and I was separate from them.  When I'm hanging out with Syrian friends, however, it's a completely different feeling because I become inserted into the society, and feel like I'm a part of it, rather than watching it.  Not having any connection with Syrian society made me feel like a minority, different than everyone else, and constantly being judged for said difference, which is a draining way to live one's life.  Being able to meld into society allowed me to forget all the little things about Syrians that irk me, and it felt a lot more like I was somewhere I could live for an extended period of time.

1 comment:

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