It's Fig Season

We were rifling through the bulbous green figs together - searching for soft, but not squishy specimans to fill our sack.  The Moroccan woman leaned over to explain, in French, how to pick the best  figs.  I told her that I only spoke a little French and didn't quite understand what she had said.  She switched to Arabic which I understood even less but after a few sentances I realized that she was asking where I was from and Ana men Amreeka (I'm from America) and she has family in America and she'd visited California and Las Vegas and the Mountains and she loved it there and it was very beautiful.

And I understood her.

In Arabic.

I didn't understand all of it, mind you, and my ability to produce a reponse consisted solely of the Arabic equivalent to "That's great. Wonderful. Nice to meet you."  

But I (mostly) understood her!!

Arabic is coming much slower than I'd like...because I'm working much less hard than I'd like if I'm being honest.  BUT it's coming and I have big plans to carve out more Arabic time in the near future.  Including aimless dog walks through the city - once the heat breaks and Ramadan is over of course.  I'm dedicated, but not overly dedicated.  You know?

P.S. If you want to know how to pick the best figs....you should probably google it.  I missed that part in both languages.   


"...Where at Least I Know I'm Free"

Does anyone else think that song is a little overdramatic?  Not that I don't love the pause, key change and obilgatory standing ovation...but...  Ray Charles version of "America the Beautiful" is more my style.  Sorry Lee Greenwood...and every Rodeo I ever attended

Possibly a touch too dramatic 4th of July songs aside, I did want to share some awesome American-ness.   A few months ago I was visiting a local university in my Public Affairs capacity.  If I remember correctly, on this occasion I was facilitating a presentation about the American Presidential Primaries and we actually had a mock Republican Primary.  An aside: there was only one vote for the completely unheard of John Huntsman and when I asked the student what motivated him to vote for this man he said “In his picture he is riding a four wheeler across the desert.  That’s awesome.”  So there you have it. 

But after the presentation a student approached me and asked “Why can’t women wear the head scarf in America?”  It caught me a bit off guard but I was able to say “People are free to practice their religion in America and women can, in fact, wear the headscarf.”  We talked a little bit about the separation of church and state and the bill of rights and I have to admit, as I walked out of the University campus I got a bit choked up. 

I’m not a sentimental person and I don’t get worked up about a lot of things; but the reality of what the values we hold in America mean in practice really struck a chord with me that day.  And many other days since moving overseas come to think of it.

It’s a big deal and yes, I’m proud to be an American.     

(This post might seem a bit late for the 4th of July, but we just had our consulate 4th of July party so everything has been red, white, and blue for me all week)


Go West!

Disneyland (read "churros"), vacation home with a WATER SLIDE, Dodger's game (of course we had Dodger Dogs), San Diego with the nieces and nephews, California sun and tons of time with family.  That about sums up the last portion our home leave.

God Bless America!