My feeling of slight melancholy and discomfort in my new surroundings is beginning to abate. A few negotiations successes and some good meals were all I needed. I believe the discovery of about 10 good places to drink coffee and eat in a 3 block radius of my apartment has me feeling less annoyed about my electricity situation. Among these discoveries:
Lina’s- A block away from my house, on a nice busy corner. Good coffee, good sandwiches and an interesting mixed crowd of young beautiful people and old cab drivers all there to enjoy coffee.
Ristretto- Excellent coffee and really nice people. Free wi-fi and an unfortunately good cheese croissant. A man there told me they have really good eggs and pancakes and their outdoor terrace will be nice once the heat cuts me a break. Right on my way to school -I have a feeling this will be a regular morning stop.
Zaatar w Zeit- I may not Ike this as much since school has kicked off- it was loaded with undergrads screeching and socializing. I sound Iike such an old lady, but all that carefree attitude can be a bit annoying. The place is a chain but with really yummy manaeesh- fluffy bread with what ever your heart desires. Also, free wi-fi and good orange juice, right across from school.
A sushi place- the name escapes me. But, I am already in love. There is a square bar with a little conveyor belt that zooms sushi around. They are all labeled and on different colored plates- the color corresponds to the price. There are three pieces of sushi on each plate, and you just grab whatever you want. I had three different plates with yummy fresh sushi on it, and it was…7 USD. 7 for a sushi lunch! they have a very entertaining Japanese sushi chef who was yelling in heavily japanese accented Arabic. This place is a stones throw from my house. They also have sake. Score.
There are a few places that I have not been bold enough to enter solo because they are a bit more barish or pubish. But I’m sure I will enjoy them soon enough. There is one in particular, Ferdinands, that has caught my eye… I think my dad will like it.
On a separate note, I was awarded a full graduate assistantship, so yet again, I am not paying for my education. I don’t really know how I get so lucky. AUB is paying all of my tuition. Though I had budgeted for the about 30k the two year program would cost, it looks like it is taken care of. In exchange, I am the graduate assistant to a professor, and it looks as though I will benefit much from my match. She seems brilliant and energetic, and I am very excited about working with her. I am the graduate assistant for a second year art and architectural history course that examines the trends, theories and development of the Italian renaissance and the Ottoman empire. The first class was today, and I am shocked by how young the students seem. I had quite a bit of fun playing the the serious but helpful assistant, handing out syllabi and telling people that if they showed up on time, they wouldn’t have to ask me questions which the professor had already answered. I remember being scared of the graduate assistant in my first undergrad poli sic class- Leila. I bet they view me the same way. I will sit in on every class, which I am quite excited about- art history is something that fascinates me but under other circumstances I would not have the opportunity to take. Perfect!
I settled all my school issues, so now I just have to get my ID card. Then I can use the gym and try all the fun yoga, pilates and dance classes they offer. The gym is just a stones throw away from my department, which is nice.
One remaining hurdle is my residency visa, but it seems easy enough. I have to go all over town to countless government buildings handing in strange forms and they will take my passport for 3 weeks to put the visa in it. Then I am a legal resident of Lebanon for the next year.
Enough for now. My iPad has me reading again- for the last three years, I have to admit, the amount of reading I did at work prevented me from enjoying books. Now I am flying through Pride and Prejudice and am enjoying it quite a bit…