Friday, January 9, 2009

Highlights from Friday

Jeff did a great job letting you know all we did on Friday. I'll be brief with my impressions.

The Museum of Islamic Arts is gorgeous. The approach the museum has taken with it's collection is so interesting. The theme is to share with visitors how Islamic art has taken form all over the world. It has impacted and been impacted by other cultures. Islam has a place in this world, not just in Arab countries. My favorite part of the museum was the room showing the use of pattern in art. On the wall was this - "All Islamic pattern is based on the idea that what we see is always and only part of a whole that extends to infinity." This is how I feel about the world. We are part of everything and each other. It reminds of a quote by Cheif Seattle that talks of how what happens to one of us, happens to all of us. That we are all a part of a web - connected.

The Souq was bustling with activity last night. As we are in the Middle East, we are among people speaking Arabic and wearing thobes and abayas and head coverings. It is interesting to see it as a regular occurance. In the States I feel like when we see someone dressed like this, there is a level of distrust, suspiscion, or judgement. There have been times here when I am accutely aware of my whiteness and my American-ness (like the forum at Education City I talked about). Other times we are in such a diverse atmosphere that I feel as though I can embrace my place as a citizen not just in the States, but in this world. I am really loving being among people from different parts of the world. And I love that it seems (at least to me) that it is a much more comfortable and natural atmosphere than in the States. Now I'm not so naive to believe there is no conflict or issues here (the issues surrounding class here are significant), but I do appreciate that the diversity of people seems to be less of an issue.

On a lighter note, let's talk food. I love food. New things I love to eat include thai iced tea with milk, dates, and a tangy yogurt called lebneh. Mmm mmm.

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