Friday, October 5, 2012

Third Week In

So as could be expected the first two two weeks of classes were not too bad.  I had some reading there and some bits of homework.  Then there comes the third week and all of sudden it's like, "Yes school has finally resumed brain, pick up the pace!"  So there has been a lot of work done yesterday and to do today.  I was happy to get to the gym this morning, it will unfortunately be one of the few times I get to leave the room today.

This past week was also the Office of Student Employment job fair for on campus employment and  the clubs/organizations fair.  I didn't go to to the job fair, mostly because visiting/exchange students cannot apply for work through the OSE office.  The Club and Orgs fair was fairly overwhelming and really interesting.  I found out that to be an "active" club, you maintain 1000 members, which to me sounds really big, coming from Guild of Carillonneurs which is at best in the forties and Quidditch team which is somewhere between 15-30 depending on the day.  Palestinian Cultural Club is supposed to have the highest participation rate with about 3000 members.  I did end up signing up for Math Club(its the fun math), Music Club and Performing Arts Club(I would like to play some music while I'm here, otherwise why bring my oboe), Emirati Culture Club, Islamic Cultural Club and Islamic Cultural Club-Women, Arabian Culture Club, and Book Club.  What was really nice was all the food that was being served.  To entice people to join, almost every club had some kind of food item, little sandwiches, marshmallows with chocolate and crushed graham crackers on the outside, mana'esh, donuts, etc.  The Islamic Culture Club had a sweet fried doughball that was dipped in a sweet/bitter maple-syrupy-like sauce.  I can't remember what it's called, but it was really good.

I don't know why my posts keep coming back to food.  The only other thing on the agenda for today is homework and an "Arabic Through Drama" meeting.  This is an extracurricular program for the international exchange students to learn Arabic language through the use of drama and music.  In the end we will be putting on a play.  To track our progress each session is filmed and then will be compiled with the final filming of the play.  We will then have a copy to take back with us, which I think is pretty neat.

Finally, I really did want to post some kind of picture this week, so below is a photo of our exchange group from one of the previous outings.  In it you can see some of the guys in traditional Emirati clothes, the dishdash or khandoura.  It's the male counterpart to the abaya.  It's kinda rude/frowned upon to take pictures of women you don't know(especially those dressed in an abaya), so when I get a picture I'll post one.  They are black but still are very much styled and come in a range of designs.  I've seen some with lace edges and some with black cheetah print along the collar.  It's as much a style statement as anything we might wear in the states.

Miscellaneous facts I've learned/highlights over the past week:
1)  Hair Salons here don't have windows.  This seemed very strange to me when I first noticed it until my roommate mentioned something about windows being tinted in buildings here so that if I woman was inside her house she could take off her hijab/abaya.  Which makes sense that the hair salon wouldn't have windows, so that the stylists could cut/trim/fashion the hair without every passer-by seeing.

2)  Grape leaves are actually really good.  My roommate's mom brought stuffed grape leaves to the dorm.  I was hesitant to try them, because the grape leaves I had in my first week here were served cold and tasted very bitter.  I'm determined to get the recipe from her, because these didn't taste like the cold ones.  These were served warm and were very warm and delicious.  My roommate claims the ones I tried that first week were Lebanese style and served as an appetizer.

3)  The freezer is not a good place to store your room key.  I woke up got ready for class and realized I couldn't find my key.  I looked everywhere until my roommate mention when she was coming in last night I was putting the mana'esh back into the freezer.  So I looked in the freezer and low and behold my key was underneath the frozen food.

4)  When planning for classes at your study abroad institution, be flexible in planning, plan for the worst case scenario.  Also if you are taking language classes or such, ask for a placement test.  I've been running into conflict concerning which Arabic class I should take because I took the advice of the intermediate professor and my study abroad program adviser, rather than asking for a placement test/conversation from the beginning.  One of the reasons I have so much homework is to try and catchup as it was decided I needed to be in a more advanced Arabic class.

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