Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three things today

1. Today in the class I teach, the subject of the evils of alcohol came up. I took the opportunity to tell my students (all Muslim, but not all Arab) that I have never had a drink of alcohol, ever. They were super impressed and actually burst into spontaneous applause. I love telling Muslims that I don't drink alcohol or have sex before marriage. It feels good to break down Christian stereotypes.

2. Also in class, in a discussion about whether people at AUS look for a potential spouse among their classmates, the subject of bride kidnapping somehow came up. One of my students is from Dagestan and he casually remarked that when he was in ninth grade, a 14-year-old girl was kidnapped from his class at school. As in, he was sitting in class with her, and some people came in and kidnapped her right then and there. As a teacher in the UAE, I have to be careful about passing judgment (or perceived judgment) on the religious or traditional practices of my students, so it was one of those times when I had to paste on a smile and make a comment about how cultural differences sure are fascinating!!! And really, they are.

3. Someone is messing with me. Yesterday I wrote about how strangely Australia is portrayed in its literature and today I got an email from a person at a university in Australia. It appears that Other Bridget is now studying at James Cook University in Queensland and someone sent her a message about a professional project. Here's an excerpt of the email I received:

"I have put the gelli baff with the laptop and the key is in the second drawer of the workstation you normally sit at. I ran out of time therefore I will make the snot at home and email you my thoughts about it, I hope that is ok with you."

Discussion questions: what is a "gelli baff"? And what possible alternate meaning have Australians given to "snot"?

11 comments:

Jill said...

I love having the number one conversation with Muslims too. They usually think that Americans are crazy

Susanne said...

A quick google search revealed this snot recipe. Bridget, maybe your girls would want to try this one day.

http://www.kidspot.com.au/discoverycentre/10---12-years-Learning-Snot-recipe+10974+546+sponsor-activity.htm

Susanne said...

Oh, I love these kinds of posts! Anyway, about #1. One of my Syrian friends (NOT Samer) was so impressed when he heard I never drank alcohol that he changed his Facebook status declaring to all his friends how proud he was of his evangelical American friend!! It was kind of like spontaneous applause Facebook style.

On the other hand, when we were in Syria at the Convent of St. Serge in Maaloula, we met P. Toufic Eid, B.S., Superieur as his business card reads and he was disappointed that we didn't sample the wine! One of our Syrian friends who was our driver told Samer in Arabic that he'd never met Westerners who'd refused alcohol. He was curious about us so Samer explained that not all Christians drank alcohol. I've actually been ask by some of my Muslim friends if it is permissible for Christians to drink alcohol so I've tried to explain that it is in moderation, but some of us choose not to do so. Thankfully I found a great link online explaining alcohol biblically.


Oh, about #2 on your list - wow


#3 -- I am curious as well; BTW, the making snot activity I posted above was on an Australian website as a way to let you kids learn about science.

Amira said...

I liked saying I didn't drink alcohol when we were in the Middle East. It doesn't get the same reaction in Central Asia though.

Bridget said...

Susanne, I think you are right. I just googled Gellibaff and it's some kind of sensory activity for kids, which would fit right in with the homemade snot stuff. I just wonder if someone sent me the email as a joke or if it's another Bridget Palmer out there who was supposed to get it.

Susanne said...

I think they sent it to you so you could suggest it to Liz as a way to occupy her time during her Lenten fast. :) (Sorry...I just read her post about her first day.)

Katie Lewis said...

About #3--Hahahaha!

Liz Johnson said...

Gross! Although around day 17, I might be desperate, so it's probably worth printing this out. Ugh. I hate doing craft/messy things with my kids. I just hate it. I would probably rather play Candy Land, which is saying A LOT.

Liz Johnson said...

Re: #2 - WOW. On the one hand, I really do espouse a "live and let live" policy, but on the other hand, I have become increasingly militant about women's rights/feminism... so I don't know how I would have reacted to that one. Fascinating, indeed... and I think I would have smiled... and inside my brain would have imploded.

I always used to hang out with the Muslim kid at parties in high school. He was the son of the Saudi ambassador to Mexico, and we used to sit on the sidelines and drink our Diet Coke (me) and milk (him) and make fun of the idiot American kids getting wasted. I always did appreciate having a fellow non-drinker in the crowd, and I think he felt the same way.

Matthew said...

I'm fond of the Russian 'bride running away' thing.

Ali and Joe said...

James cook huh? Joe's university. I'm guessing this other bridget does education perhaps? gelli baff is great stuff. lots of fun. You'd make snot in a science class in year seven...and you'd make it at home to use for early learning. Borax is nasty stuff and you'd have to do it in a controlled environment. As for your australiana post, i'd love to comment. I've thought a lot about the australian literary voice, having spent my primary school years reading english classics (yes, in grade 2 pride and prejudice was my favourite book!), discovering australian lit later on, and north american after that. I need to think about it first, fill it out and put it into words (because it's no-one's theory but my own). Maybe we can semi book club one friday after church. We can pad it out together :)

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