Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Take-offs and Landings

It's about 4:30 in Tunis and I'm sitting in my hotel room enjoying a little down time after arriving in the city around 11. In just a few short hours though, I've had more new experiences than I can count. First--flying over the Mediterranean Sea is probably the most beautiful thing you can do. It is nothing but blue for miles. It also represents a very drastic change in scenary. We left Paris by flying over the colorful and green fields around the city (I also actually saw the Eifel Tower for the first time!) and, after 2 hours, we found ourselves in a totally different environment--everything looked so brown from the place. But it was also beautiful, just a different kind of beauty. When we landed everyone on the plane started clapping. I don't know if that was because we had a kind of shaky last few minutes or if it was all the Tunisians returning home or the other students on the program so excited to finally arrive in the place we've been looking forward to for so long.

We took a bus to the hotel which is on the main street of Tunisia and now have a few hours until the orientation officially begins. I walked down the main street with a few friends. We stopped at a cafe and had crepes, as well as our first impromptu Arabic lesson of the trip from the owner of the cafe. Everything I'd heard about the people of the country is true so far--everyone has been very welcoming, open and ready to teach us their culture and language. We then continued walking down the street until we reached the old city, Medina. It was marked by a beautiful gate (on the right). We wound our way through the very very thin alley ways, past venders selling all the Tunisian fashions and Western clothing. There were also mopeds!!

What I'm most surprised about by being here is how similar it feels to so many other places. We often forget how many similarties people share and arriving here in this country on this continent I've spent so much time studying and talking about in disconnected words is already teaching me a lot about needing to maintain that simply human perspective in my work and studies. Tunisia seems like a great place to learn this lesson--it is a country with its own culture that sits between and unites so many other cultures--European, Middle Eastern, African...


  1. 1) You are so absolutely adorable, and I miss you dearly.
    2) YES! A laptop! It was a long time coming, and I'm glad you finally caved and bought one. :)
    3) Your journey is just beginning and it already sounds magical. You will have so much fun, learn so many things, and I'm so proud of you for making it all happen for yourself. (I'm glad you made this blog.)
    4) Similarities, yes! I never understood acknowledging only differences... causes unnecessary divide and friction in many cases.
    5) Did I mention I love you!?

    Love love love (not to be too repetitious or anything...),

  2. Keren,

    It is so exciting to hear from you. I am glad that you are so detailed in your description. I am thinking about writing about Chuck Green Experience, (should I post on this blog to share?)

    Please keep the details coming, I loved reading your take off and arrival. I am sure that every minute will be a learning experience. Are you living with host parents? Hows the food? I am sure I'll hear stories about these things and I can't wait.

    Friendly comment from the States,

    Roman Raymundo

  3. Yay!! I love you both so much, too! It's great to hear from you and I'm glad we'll have a good way to stay in contact this summer! Roman--you should totally get a blog and we can follow each others'! It would be really great to hear about your experiences as a Chuck Green Fellow and I bet a lot of people that are considering applying for next year would be interested in getting a behind the scenes peek. And the food is great. It's so fresh--strawberries, apricots, all sorts of berries...and so much cheese! We're all going to gain so much weight, because the portions here are so cheap and so big and packed with carbs--but it's kind of a vacation, right?

    Love, love, love to you too/two!!!