Archive for October, 2009

A day

October 26, 2009 1 comment

So it looks like this daily monitoring of my life isn’t going so hott. A strictly adhered to schedule is forever elusive for me here in Tunisia. My goal was to blog daily and share epiphanies but I think, for the sake of regularity, I’m just going to stick with blogging on the banal. Hopefully in time, I’ll be able to recount the past. So here’s a day, a Saturday in fact, that I typed up at my internetless home and am now posting.

The past two nights I’ve had no electricity. My landlord (an absolute darling who lives right across from me) accidentally cut a cable. Quick description of where I live. My landlord has a huge house with orange trees. There’s a large white wall that divides the tenants quarters with his. Everything’s always white here I love it. Just today one of his workers repainted our banisters. Anyhow, so my landlord cut the cable by accident Thursday. I was out with friends getting fat on cheese filled crepes and came back to find a whole lot of candles placed in my door. I arranged the candles all around my house in beautiful hand painted tea glasses I bought as décor. All I can say is that I kind of wish I had a boyfriend here to share that moment with! I’ve never had a whole house lit up with candles before and it was just gorgeous. Needless to say I capitalized with an awesome yoga and pranayama routine.

But that’s what I’ve found here. Anything that could be even mildly irritating always ends up being a beautiful moment. Another instance is today. My boss, Elyses, brought his daughter to work (yes, we work on Saturdays but only half days. Besides I get a two hour lunch break, a delight which I will explain another time). Her name is Mishket, she’s four and already speaks a bit of French. I set her up with some markers and paper while my boss was in client meetings. I noticed that she’s a little uncomfortable sitting with a stranger so I got up to get her a cookie from mine and my other boss, Hager’s, not-so-secret munchie stash. (sweet tooth cravings? obviously a female boss)

So little Mishket follows me then …pees on the floor.

I didn’t know what to do. She peed on the floor! All I could say was ‘ Ne bouge pas!’ which translated in my head as ‘ I better get paid for this’. I cleaned up the floor but her pants were entirely soaked. I remembered that time I went skiing in jeans; wet pants suck.I finally worked up the nerve to knock on Elyses’ door. I didn’t want to say in the middle of a meeting, ‘You daughter wet her pants big time’ so all I said was ‘ Votre fille…” and he came leaping up, sorted her out, and then left us to play.

And play we did!

She was the cutest thing after that slip up. I didn’t do any work for the rest of the day. I just played with Mishoo and learned a bit more Arabic.

I got home later and found Fati, my Moroccan friend, just waking up. She spent the night at mine after going salsa dancing nearby. I really wanted to go but it’s about time I buckled down and started doing my applications. (I ended up reading a book instead but still, I’m getting mentally prepared. )

So while she keeps trying to wake up fully, I hop across the street to a fresh fruit/veggie stand to buy ingredients for our salad. Everyone along this street knows me now, it’s a pretty good set-up. The Baker always has two loaves of brown bread waiting for me in a plastic bag because he knows I don’t like the idea of dust getting on my bread (for all of you who think I’m being a brat, it gets very dusty here!) The quickie mart guy always knows how much money I want to put on my cellphone recharge along with my life story. The Patisserie  knows that on Sundays, I like the dark chocolate mille-feuille, but on Mondays, I like the creame and fruit tartlette. The unemployed men at the café across from me know I’m super bitch if they get fresh with me let alone look at me for more than 2 seconds. Like I said, a pretty good set-up.

Anyhow, to continue, fruit/veggie guy and I have a quick chat. He always teaches me new Arabic words (well, Tunisian). Today, I learnt that lettuce is ‘slata’. Hmmm. Spanish influence, I guess.

Back at home, Fati and I cook up some pasta-a-la-vitesse, our Albanian friend Sonia comes over and we have lunch and a Turkish coffee. Fati and Sonia then leave to  go to the ‘Freep’ which is the Tunisian thrifting place to be. I would’ve loved to go but I am on a mission to get some applications done. I say that tongue in cheek because what do I do from 3 pm on?  I kill some flies, sit outside and write postcards, journal for a bit, meditate in the sun, have a quick chat with my landlord who popped over, make toast and watch half of ‘Auberge Espanol’, write up my grocery list for tomorrow and then….blog.

Procrastination has struck me as never before.

I think after graduating, I’ve completely checked out.  I can’t make myself write one more essay. Hopefully I get a bout of anxiety and put that nose to the grind stone!

Oh wait…yup, here it comes. A decent flow of mild anxiety. Keeeeep itttt commmin’. Off to type!!

Categories: Tunisian Life Tags: , ,

At last a glimpse

October 17, 2009 1 comment

At last a glimpse of what I’ve been up to! Life in Tunisia has been awful busy, but more than awful busy, unbelievably bewildering. Et c’est pour cela that I have not publicly documented a thing despite my finding a million and five instances of life needing to be shared with friends and family far away.

I’ll kick off this blog by explaining why I am here (I’ve gotten far too many wtfrick’s not to). I graduated early with an intention to experience things in life I hadn’t yet had a chance to experience while hyper-speeding through Cornell in 2 years. So what have I done? I learned to cook a mean Indian dinner, take my yoga practice to a new level with a teacher training, read all the pleasure reading I hadn’t yet devoured and know my lovely city of Cleveland  more intimately. But of course exploring the world takes more time than one would think. You can’t hyper speed exploration! I had already premeditated by my senior year to take a year off for traveling and discovering. I figured, with health care and pensions these days, I’ll be living till I’m 95, working till I’m 90…I’ve got time to play;) So I put my resumé up through AIESEC, an amazing organization for young people with international fancies, and was contacted within a week from a super cool company in Tunisia. Score!

Another side of why I’m off and abroad is professional dreaming. My hopes for the future are to enter academia and specialize in immigration issues. As I want to learn about a culture that’s been having great impact on global decision making, I decided to find a stint in the Maghreb where there is an Islamic culture and an immigration hotspot.  I also figured the Maghreb is better than the Middle East proper since people speak French and I’d have ample opportunity to practice my language skills. So in short, my goals to learn about the various strands of Islam and a very important immigrant culture are being met.( If you’d like to check out my past travels discovering South Asian immigrant culture, go to

And for the final factor? I wanted to spend a good chunk of my year mucking about in a beautiful country with wonderful weather and tomes of preserved history. Tunisia bien sur.

So I’ve had incredible experiences in just a short month with ample stories but few pictures (a grace d’un voleur, ou le plus probable, mes betises). Little by little, I’ll start recounting all in a non-chronological order. Such is my head, anything but logical, let alone chronological!!

Alors, ciao ciao for now.