Wasim, Andrew, Samer & Sami
Wasim is a very good friend of Amer who was stuck at home with torn ligaments in his ankle. (We visited him at his house the next morning.) Wasim called Amer to ask if Samer could do something for him, but Amer told him that Samer was busy with his American guests for the next several days. Wasim wanted to meet us, and what an incredible host he was! Such a kind young man. I greatly enjoyed meeting him!
So we dropped by Wasim's house that evening after he got off work. Wasim (said like "waa seem") is a dentist who is planning to move to America. His fiancee' is a Syrian who already lives here. By the way, Wasim means "handsome." Samer told us this.
We arrived at the house and removed our shoes before walking on the area rugs. This is typical. (I planned for it and brought lots of black socks. I don't think I wore white socks the whole time I was in Syria! )
My hat sure was warm, but it's getting old seeing it so much in pictures! At one point we all were chatting except for Wasim who, unfortunately, was sick. But still he would smile and finally spoke up, "I'm not saying much, but I am just listening and thinking how I cannot believe that Americans are sitting in my house right now!"
Samer showing Sami a few pictures from the day.
Sami anticipating the taste of those sweets! His favorites are the colorful squares outlined in black. He called them "day and night; night and day" something like that.
For one not knowing he'd have guests, Wasim sure had the sweets on hand to share, didn't he? You should have seen how much he put on our plates. :-)
Sami tickled me when not long into our conversation he said with a smile and anticipation, "OK, now let's talk politics." He was such a sweet guy, really funny, too. And he spoke English exceptionally well. He is the only guy who gave Andrew the traditional Syrian greeting -- a hug and kiss on each cheek.
One impressive thing about Wasim is that he has memorized the whole Quran (about the size of the New Testament if I remember correctly.) He even recited a portion for us which was very lovely although I couldn't understand the words. He participated in a competition a while back. Quran memorizers met in -- I want to say, Sudan for a competition in which he placed in the top 10 in the world! He told us his layover in the UAE was 17 hours. We'd just shared about our 12 hour layover in Istanbul so he had us beat. Ugh.
When we left, Wasim sprayed Andrew with some cologne he kept on a table near the door. He said, "something to remember me by." I really wish we could have met up with him again before we left Syria. I greatly enjoyed meeting this fine young man.
Pictures from Damascus, Syria