Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Everyone woke up this morning to a white snowy Damascus. I was hoping work would be canceled, but it wasn't. It hasn't snowed here since 2004, so everybody was out playing and throwing snowballs, even the old men and women. You can just see at the top of the mountain in the picture a bunch of restaurants that overlook the city. It also got below zero and windy and frigidly cold so the already cold house is now an icebox. I have an electric heater in the bedroom so if I close the door it warms up in about an hour, but the shower room never really heats up and that's the one that really matters on a cold morning.

It started snowing just a few hours after I dropped Vanessa and Alexa at the airport. Vanessa was sad to leave me and to separate Alexa and I, but she was sure exited to get out of Damascus - she had said her goodbye's and been packed for almost a week. I think she almost had a heart attack though when she called me from the airport because they wouldn't let her through the gate without her exit form that she had left at the house. Can you imagine a country forcing a foreign citizen to remain in the country because they didn't have the correct form? That system wouldn't work in the US, every foreigner would purposely forget the form and stay in the US for good. But after pleading with him for a while of course they let her through. She's back in the US now and is planning on going to Peru in 2 weeks to stay with her Dad after his kidney transplant. She called and said she is in loving the luxuries such as a dishwasher, microwave, bathtub, and cigarette smoke-free air.

It's pretty depressing to come back to an empty house after school and work now, I even sniffed one of Alexa's dirty diapers in the garbage and it put a smile on my face. It's only for 4 months though, and I can get back to my nomadic lifestyle of exploring Syria after school and on the weekends. That's us on the left being sad at the airport when it was time for them to leave.

In other exiting news - we had been lazily using a handful of baby sign language signs with Alexa for the past few months and all of a sudden a few weeks ago she actually just started using them! I had just read a book to her and she all of a sudden used the sign for "more", then later that night she used the sign for "more" + "milk" with Vanessa, I didn't think all that crap was real, but now she is using all of these signs like a total deaf baby.

I'm still just going to classes and working at a PR firm every other day where we organize events for Syria's rich and famous. I realized that there are a lot of really big Syrian fish in a really small pool, or at least they all seem to think they are. This year Damascus was designated by the Arab League as the "Capitol of Arab Culture" (last year it was somewhere in Algeria) and they kicked off the celebrations last week with a huge party in one of the main squares - it was pretty impressive, but cold, see pics below:

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