This morning, I was awakened at 6:00 with a full moon staring at me and the Muslim prayers being resounded through the streets. It was sunrise and the first of the five prayer times that the Muslims have here every day. I couldn't help but feel chills down my spine.
I am a foreigner. It's an interesting feeling to know you don't belong. I've been to a few countries and it's different here. Perhaps because women are not treated very well. In fact, they are very disrespected here. I am also pretty sure that if I don't move at a rapid pace or push my way through, I will get run over! Most people don't really understand waiting for long periods of time in a line. They tend to push you out of the way if you don't move!
I've experienced similar things in China where it's crazy to even get through the grocery store. There, they push grocery carts like they drive their cars, absolutely crazy! I had to often close my eyes for sanity sake so I wouldn't fear for my life every time I set foot into a car!
This isn't China, but I am starting to understand about this culture that they get to their destination very fast if they want to. Planes, buses, and trains don't believe in waiting for you to get there. They have no shame in leaving you. This was another reason I was relieved to barely make it to my gate in the last connecting flight I had.
They gave me gate number 102 on my plane ticket. For some reason, however, I had a feeling that it might change and told myself to stay awake as jet lagged as I was. Well, to my "surprise" they changed the gate to 110 one hour later. Of course, a man came over and yelled in this foreign language but I could not understand.
When everyone left, I had a feeling, maybe I should check the screen to see the gate. Sure enough, it had changed! By the grace of God I barely made it. As soon as I found the gate, they started boarding! Whew! God is good! Being alone on this journey here was an adventure for sure!
As soon as I finally got to my destination and got off the plane, a man spoke to me in a foreign language that, again, I didn't understand and went downstairs to find myself outside and a bus being in front of me. Fortunately, I have been to many countries where you have to take a bus to baggage claim so I figured it out.
Once I made it to baggage claim, one of my biggest fears came to pass. I waited and waited for my luggage to come and it never showed up! Of course, I was the only American and had no idea what to do or who to talk to! Fortunately, I met a guy who lost his luggage too and he knew English. He was nice enough to show me what to do and translated for me. Thank the Lord for him!
It turned out that they left my luggage in the last connecting city and never transferred it so we had to come back to the airport later that night. It worked out! When I saw Julie and Lucy at the gate, I was relieved! I finally made it and could be with someone who understood me!
So it goes when you are in another country though! You never know what is going to happen and you have to be flexible. I am pretty proud of myself that I didn't cry once!
For some reason, I am so different as a foreigner. I don't expect for people to cater to my needs. Ya know, I need to have that same mentality in America! After all, I am a foreigner in this world! It's not about me! Anyway, there you have it, my first day here in the Middle East, in a glimpse!
I was able to meet with Pastor Ali today and Josh translated for us. It was so awesome! I am loving being here and being a student of this culture hands on! I am now motivated more than ever to learn the language and any free time I get, I want to learn more words! Blessings to all of you! Stay tuned for more...
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