Going out shopping with the girls takes a bit of planning since we can't drive, we can't just go out whenever we feel like it. It takes a bit of planning. Mort and Vanessa have lived in RT fora year and know their way around Rahima, the town right outside of camp, so they offered to take me into town one evening to show me some of the stores Brad and I have been looking for but couldn't find on our own. Let me say, it is almost impossible to look for specific stores while trying to read in Arabic, maneuvering tight roads, crazy drivers, and pedestrians! So it was nice to take the company "shoppers' bus" into town and walk around on foot to learn where things are!
The girls took me to the bakeries I've heard about but couldn't find. They also answered questions I had about some of the "Bachelor" restaurants we thought we couldn't go to.... see, one of the yummy Lebanon places Brad and I tried to go to but couldn't because it was Bachelor only I learned that I could go in and order but really shouldn't stay and eat.... I can handle that. Really, I think I'd rather take the food home and eat it in the comfort of my home where I can relax and be myself! They also took me to the chocolate store... and all of these places are willing to hand out samples....
So I ended up doing a lot of tasting!!! It was nice to be out with people who knew they way around and could show me what was good and where to go. That is part of the hard thing about being new... in Fayetteville I knew my way around, knew the back roads, knew the good eateries, knew where to shop for what I needed... and now I just need to learn the same for here so shopping isn't so stressful! It also helped being kid free!! :)
The other thing bout being on foot was I could take some pictures... I know some people here are not fan of having their picture taken so I tried to be respectful of that... but I still want to take pictures to document the entirety of our adventure! I've been wanting to take this guy's picture for a long time. I really want to take it at prayer time when he is kneeling with his eyes close pointing toward the Holy Land praying... there is just something about him I'm drawn to.
What a different experience this afternoon was! Some of the good food places on are on the "man's street".... but walking along this street as a female with our hair not covered draws a bit more attention that I really feel comfortable with. The stares are uncomfortable... I don't like not fitting in... I just want to blend in and go unnoticed... almost impossible here! Here is something I find interesting.... a woman and a man are not encouraged to show any PDA... no holding hands.... interesting though that 2 men can walk holding hands and no one says anything... things that make you go.."hmmmm"
My shopping trip was successful... I was able to get out and learn more about Rahima and where to go for things I need, I was able to hang out with the girls, and I was able to have a small break from the kids! I was also excited to go home and share some of my goodies and new findings with the kids!!! They were all excited I had a successful trip and brought home things to share!!! It will be nice to start taking the bus out to do some shopping while the kids are in school... the nice thing about that is that I'll be kid free but the streets will be less crowded... one thing I've notice here is that the community comes alive as the sun is going down...so early shopping will be a much less stressful experience and I can't wait!