Monday, June 8, 2009

A Stranger (Feeling at Home) in a Strange Land

Yesterday I moved in with my host family, the Dhabbebi's, a charming and welcoming family in the suburbs of Marsa. The town is nestled between Gammarth and Sidi Bou Said, about thirty minutes by taxi to Tunis, and goes right up to the Mediterranean. The Dhabbebis' have made me feel so much at home that I no longer feel as if I am an observer; I have stepped beyond the boundaries of a tourist and have begun to feel what it is like to be a part of this beautiful Tunisian culture.

Arabic classes are difficult and demanding. We spend about five hours in class five days a week, and then about four practicing and doing homework. But I'm impressed by the flexibility of a stress-free mind; everything we learn is coming very easy to me. I will have a unique opportunity come the end of this year to see myself learning in three very different learning environments--Los Angeles, Tunisia, and London--and really understand how I shape my perspectives, engage in my environment, and realize how I best learn.

Below (from top to bottom): A view of Marsa from the roof of my home; clothes air-drying in the warm sun against the backdrop of the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul; homes on the Marsa hills right above a Mediterranean beach.

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