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Sidestepping the Football Culture

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday I had an interview with a possible replacement for my position at Sybel. When I finally came out of it to discuss with my boss,  I found the entire place empty except for me and Hager. The Tunisia vs Cameroon soccer game was on. 

I didn’t realize that work stops for soccer and once I learned of this fabulous cultural norm, I obviously followed suit. My initial plan was to meet up with Anna, Thameur and Karim at a cafe to watch the game ( remember the “multipurposed cafe” post? a cafe here can also be a sports bar!) but I eventually decided I’d rather get in an early workout so that I can go out for the night earlier than usual.

And anyhow, I remember all too well the night I was in France during the Euro Cup and Turkey won a match. So not interested in being in the middle of such “football hooligan” debauchery again. 

So I got to the gym ahead of schedule and ooph,  just the eeriest thing. I had the entire place to myself. The lights were a little dim. The distant buzz of the soccer game floated into the cardio room. Creaks from the wind kept making themselves known. I had a fleeting thoughts that I am in the middle of ideal raping conditions… but then I realized, how ridiculous! I’m the one with the dumbells in my hand. 

I switched off the game- what do I care about soccer?- put up the music and had an awesome workout. After the game, people started trickling in so I mingled for a bit at the bar with them. Once I had my fill of senseless soccer banter, the manager dropped me home so that I don’t have to walk along the street laced with ideal raping conditions. (I’m evidently getting a little paranoid) 

I got dressed as quick as can be and went out for dinner with Hicham in Lac. We decided to go to Phukets where one of my friends has redone the menu to include healthy dining and juices. I was worried the menu wouldn’t be out just yet we we would be stuck with cheesy crepes.( the cooks have been apparently learning pretty slow). However, when we got there and the waiter saw our dissappointed face and he brought out the real deal. It’s funny because the food actually tasted like a combo of Panera’s and Tropical Smoothie Cafe but I was so excited at the thought of having something American-ish, I didn’t care. I had a mozzarella, tomatoe, pesto panini and a peach, melon, strawberry smoothie. Divine! 

(Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. The little things I miss have become too many to ennumerate!) 

I got home, nearly froze to death upon entrance because my chauffage had been off, and hopped into bed with a cup of fresh lavender tea and my yoga sutra translations (with commentary by desikachar). I love those aphorisms, there is so much power in their simplicity. 

The next morning I got up early for my usual yoga/pranayama meditation routine, and had a chat with my landlord. I have loved living here with this family. He needed my last months rent and I added a little extra because I broke a light ( I slapped it thinking that makes broken electronics work. woops!) 

He totally started my day off right. He told me how I am nothing like him the students who come and go in all his other apartments. He said I have been a little sister to his family and  that every one of them loves me very much. He praised my parents for the way they raised me and praised me for giving so much affection to them at all times. I was so touched I cannot tell you! So sweet! 

It’s now 10:30 here and I haven’t started to work. I’m leaving at 12 pm to get prepared for a  radio show I’m going to be on for TounesBledi. This show is called “Building Bridges” . I met a bunch of Americans learning Arabic at a bar one night and the Tunisian in charge of this program has been doing some really great things to fortify American/Arab relations (in conjunction with Hilary Clinton). He invited me to be on his radio show, did some minor Tunisian things that really aggravated me, I think a taxi driver had gotten on my nerves earlier because I was in prime flip out mode and I tore him a new butthole. But he didn’t retract the invite so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. At any rate, Ill be on the radio at 2 pm Tunisian time so tune in if you can!

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