"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Damascus -- Wasim & Sami

On this particular night, we were supposed to drive up the mountain and view Damascus lit up in the darkness. Samer went to meet Wasim for the evening salat and later we all met up with Sami outside of Bab Sharqi. Sami was going to drive us up the mountain, but first Wasim asked if we could drop by his house for a few minutes. We ended up staying there for quite a while and put off the mountain trip until the next evening.

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.

I love how the guys just throw their arms around each other so easily.

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
February 2009


Nocturnal Queen said...

Funny that his name means "handsome". When I saw the first picture of him I thought that he looked handsome. :-)

Joni said...

Wasim's house is beautiful. It looks fancy - maybe Victorian in many ways? LOL about "lets talk Politics".

Sarira said...

Susanne, I really liked this post and all the pictures. I feel like I was there with you! :D

The funny thing is that I was 'dying' to share with you the fact that wasim means handsome! Haha! I love sharing the meaning of Arabic names with people who don't speak Arabic because the names are so 'different' so to speak :P Maybe I'll share with you a list some time or post some on my blog. I just love names, LOL.

Anyways, I had to laugh at Wasim beating you guys and having had to wait 17 hours!!

And your hat was not getting old in the pics ;)

Definitely Wasim displayed good old Arab hospitality :) With all the food and whatnot. You should see what Arabs do when they ARE prepared for you to visit. Talk about a feast/banquet. I was actually once interviewed by an American friend about 'my cultural' background (for her research project)and I made sure to mention this incredible hospitality.

It actually stems from this Islamic saying:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the messenger of Allah said :

"Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent, and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his neighbour, and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his guest."

Anyways, I really enjoyed this post :) Thank you for directing me to it. :D

now i'm off to answer again- your great answers- to my points ;) I need to clear up what i meat about sin!! hehe!

Susanne said...

Sarira, I'm glad you got a chance to read and reply to this post. I just adore your comments as they are chock-full of interesting and related facts. :)

For what it's worth, Wasim and his American/Syrian fiancee' called off their wedding so he is single again. He's staying in Damascus getting a Master's degree or *something.* Oddly enough I heard from him JUST TODAY on Facebook. I don't hear from him much since FB is banned there and he's busy with his work and life. :)

I would LOVEEEEEEEEEEE to see a list of names on your blog sometime. I love them as well. It's cute that you were dying to tell me what wasim meant and Samer made a point to tell me. That's hilarious to me for some reason. :-D

I loved all your comments on my post. Thank you so much for taking time to enjoy this with me. :D I adore Arab hospitality! <3