This week has been slightly uneventful but very culturally educational! On Monday our Arabic class had an impromptu Bedouin dance session. The traditional dance of Bedouins is the debka. When we went to Wadi Rum and met the Bedouins in the camp next to ours, they taught us the debka, so my classmate Jordan and I had an upper hand during the dance instruction.
One of the professors for CIEE is actually a Bedouin so he is a professional at the debka. Another professor is a “certified” instructor, so we were being taught by the very best. The debka is a line or circle dance and requires you to hold hands or shoulder-hug the people next to you the entire time. This is great for group bonding but not so good for balance. Most of the dance is footwork and goes in a predictable pattern, but the speed of it and all of the jumping makes it hard to master!
This class session also featured traditional Arabic coffee. Our professor had brought it for us before, so we all knew what we were getting into. Unlike Turkish coffee which is very thick and strong, Arabic coffee is light and flowery. There are a lot of specific rules that go along with coffee drinking in the Middle East. One example is that shaking your cup means you don’t want a refill and not drinking upon being served the coffee means you have a favor to ask the host. I probably unintentionally perform the latter because I can’t stand drinks that burn my mouth, so I let almost everything cool down first.
On Wednesday, I attended the CIEE cooking session of maqlouba. To be honest, the “cooking” session was more of a “watching” session, but we got to eat the final product so it was worth it! Basically, maqlouba is made by layering rice and chicken/vegetables in a bowl, cooking them, and then flipping the concoction upside down and hoping it retains the same shape! It is topped with nuts that give the dish a deep, rich flavor. I definitely enjoyed it but it was far too complicated for me to make in my meager apartment.
I have nothing big planned for this weekend. I think Caroline, Allison, and I are going to go to the mall tomorrow to look for flip-flops to take to Egypt on spring break. I am also getting tired of wearing the same jewelry each day. Living out of one suitcase is hard! However, my goal of being fashionable yet modest seems to have been achieved. Almost every day one of my classmates compliments me on my clothes. I have gotten, “Katie, I wish I could come steal your closet! You always look so cute!” and, “You look so put-together and fresh each day!” I try to mix and match outfits so I don’t repeat, but it is hard to make 4 months worth of outfits out of 10 shirts and 5 pairs of pants. I predict a shopping trip as soon as spring rolls around!