I recently found work. I’m not going to say what, I’m just going to say that it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Plus the fact that it required me to see more of Tripoli, getting me off my butt, forcing me to get in cabs (all by myself), and meeting interesting people.
The truth is, the job is not practical at all for me because I agreed to do it with minimal pay. Being the bad-in-math that I am, I only realized today that my salary will mostly go to the driver I hired to take me everyday. JG has pointed this out before, being the smarty-pants that he is, but I told him that I’d rather do this than get stuck in the house all day.
Nevertheless, I love how I am finally able to walk around the Tripoli and see more of it. A new friend took me to see the Medina and walk around the Old City a couple of weeks ago. The streets were bustling with people crowding the streets with the vendors, selling everything from socks to hair products, some as low as a dinar. It reminded of Divisoria from the Philippines, where millions of Pinoys go to for bargain shopping. At the Medina, I bought two kinds of scarves and trinkets for my family back home. I was supposed to buy boots but one of the vendors was honest enough to say that I will probably find it hard to find shoes for my tiny feet.
My new friend is also my first female Libyan acquaintance. She speaks perfect English and happily answers my questions regarding their culture especially about the women in this country. Sometimes she teaches me Arabic phrases, like the other day, she taught me “Shinyalgo” (hope I spelled that right) when asking a friend “How are you”. But forewarned me that I only use that among friends, explaining that it’s slang here in Libya and saying it elders and others I don’t know is a bit disrespectful.
My driver friend has also been helping me get familiar with the city, teaching me location names. At first I wasn’t really paying attention, until he suddenly asked me one morning where we were, probably noticing that I was dozing off in the car. The pop quiz got me and I answered the only road I knew. “Gargaresh?”I said. My friend goes, “No! You are not listening; I don’t talk to you anymore.” He eventually forgave me, and started teaching me again. I in turn wrote down what he said, placing landmarks in my head. I still haven’t perfected it, still consulting my list from time to time; but at least I now know where Gargaresh actually begins and ends.
Hopefully things work out for me, it’s still hard, especially since I don’t speak Arabic, but I will do something about that. Still if it doesn’t work out whatever brief experiences I gain from this work, I will be grateful for. So here’s to hoping, I’d hate to miss out on anything else I can learn.