No trips this weekend, so I thought you might like to hear what our real life is like. Here is this past week in review.
Monday – Out the door at 6:30, I decide to take a taxi to school since I am battling a cold and still under the weather. I hail a “service”, a taxi that picks up multiple passengers headed in the same direction. Other than the public buses, these are the least expensive forms of public transportation at 2000 LL ($1. 33) per ride. It was a typical day at work; goals meetings with one teacher and two teacher assistants, several duties, and one minor disciplinary issue.
This is my day to supervise kids being picked up from ASA…after school activities. Pick up is at 4:15, but of course there is always one child still waiting at 4:45. I leave work at 5:00 and take another service home.
Wajiha, our cook, delivers a meal on Mondays. Yaa!
The Head of School is hosting a reception for the US Ambassador and other Embassy staff in the evening. I attend for an hour and have a chance to speak to the Ambassador…a woman.
Tuesday – My first sick day. While my cold is getting better, I am totally exhausted from the cold and the weekend Qadisha hike. A good call to stay home. Sharon goes to yoga in the evening. I spend my day trying to sleep and working on booking our November trip to Jordan.
Wednesday – 6:30 out the door as usual. The walk to school is either along the Corniche or through the AUB campus. Do my first formal observation today of a 5th grade teacher, a Lebanese national. Great lesson on decimals.
Humid as hell today. When is this place going to cool down? Cold hangs on, but I have a little more energy.
We are typically in bed between 9:00 – 9:30. The Daily Show with John Stewart does come on at 9:00, which we catch when we can keep our eyes open that late.
Thursday – One of the ways we stay connected to home is to stream NPR programs; Morning Edition in the morning and All Things Considered in the p.m. A day late, but better than nothing.
I walked to work with Phil, the new Middle School Assistant Principal from Atlanta. We walked the Corniche and had to step over a dead cat. This city is overrun with wild cats. Most are remarkable healthy looking, but not all obviously. Sharon and I left school shortly after 4:00 today. A real treat. Of course, when I try to get pictures to show….they seem to be in hiding.
A typical busy day at school with Student Council elections coming up, visits to classrooms, duties and planning next term’s After School Activities.
Wajiha delivers a meal tonight also.
Friday – A bit of an upset stomach this morning. This still happens once a week or so. This usually doesn’t last long. (Welcome to Lebanon)
Lots of recess duties today, partially by choice since I wanted to keep an eye on the 4th grade soccer games that were getting out of hand yesterday. Sent a 1st grader home for kicking another student in the stomach. No in-school suspensions here. I needed to get an Arabic teacher to translate when the mother arrived. I don’t think they were saying nasty things about me.
A nice breeze all day; so much better!
After crashing for an hour at the apartment after work, we walk up to Hamra, have a couple drinks and nachos, then go home. The Lebanese are not big drinkers. Mixed drinks in bars are always weak, and we never see people who have been drinking too much. From what we hear it is not a big issue in the high schools either.
Saturday – Tennis at 8:00 with Karim, the Middle School Principal. We finally get a match in after getting rained out two other times. Neither of us have played in a while, so it is a relaxed match. My main form of exercise seems to be walking to and from work and walking up and down the stairs at school. I do go to yoga with Sharon and Phil every other week or so. Sharon goes to yoga while I was at tennis.
We take a service to an appliance store in Jnah in the afternoon, a section of town south of Hamra. We get a microwave and a gas grill.
Our evening’s entertainment is to go to Germayze, and discover “The” happening street in Beirut. Of course, it is quiet when we arrive at 7:30 as this town does not get going on weekend nights until after 10 p.m. Unfortunately, the restaurant we research before leaving the apartment is completely booked, but by chance we discover a good Mexican restaurant on a side street. We take a couple pictures of the mosque before hopping a service for the ride home. A late night for us; home just past 11:00.
Sunday– – Sleeping in until 8:00. So nice. We go to school later in the morning for 90 minutes, get some lunch in Hamra, pick up a few groceries, and go home to relax for the rest of the day. I pick up my sax for the first time in a week (don’t tell Jim K.)
A nice day, so the doors to the decks are open. Can hear the call to prayer from the local mosque…pretty cool.
Another week in Beirut. We are settled in and the roller coaster ride of the initial high, then the low of realizing how hard the work will be seem to be over. Good thing. Another few weeks and we start getting some time off.
Next week…. A trip to the Bekaa Valley and a Lebanese vineyard.