Disoriented and about to roll out of my tiny twin bed, I awaken to the sound of concrete mixing, hammers slamming, and pipes banging- noises which my earplugs manage only to muffle. After a quick breakfast of traditional Lebanese bread (flatter than a tortilla and tastier), cucumbers, and some sort of white, mildly-crumbly cheese, we head off to Arabic lessons down the road. Quickly dodging between ancient Mercedes and brand new Nissan Z’s, heading past the purple and gold Hallmark store (kitsch crosses the globe I guess) and the loads of closet-like shops selling sodas and a variety of wares, we arrive at the lesson.
After a slightly painful two hours of writing beautiful, curvy letters and then mispronouncing them all, it is back to NEST. Chapel begins at 12:10, lunch follows at 12:30, and then comes coffee. Arabic coffee certainly bites back, but the fun of sitting on the balcony with everyone else and laughing makes it worth it. I vow to love the coffee by the time I leave; Nathan already does. Then, being the diligent student that I am, I read the local paper, attempt to use the internet and fail, then do some reading, and end with a stroll. It’s a pretty good afternoon schedule I think.
Nathan and I are both enrolled in A Survey of Eastern Churches, Introduction to Islam, and Islam in the Modern World at NEST. So far, very good. I am perhaps most excited about the Eastern Churches class, both because I love theology and liturgy and because we get to take trips as a class. I realize, though, that Islam classes are most relevant and will apply myself to them with great fervor. Anyway, being a student is all I know how to do, so what else would I do?
My time at the café is about end and with it, the internet. Sorry to put up so many posts at once, but, with the internet being so dodgy, it’s the only option. We did take a fantastic trip to an idyllic town called Byblos…but I’ll have to get to that in the next post (great foreshadowing, eh?).
So, from Beirut, where the weather has finally cooled a bit, but Nathan insists he should continue to unbutton all the buttons of his polo to fit in with the Lebanese men,