Our house

Here’s ten reasons why our apartment is my favorite one we’ve ever lived in (in the Middle East).

1. Location. We are close enough to the university to walk. Not only that, it’s actually a pleasant walk, away from University Road so we have a back exit to avoid demonstrations. Jeremy can walk home for lunch and Miriam and I walk to campus almost every day.

2. See for yourself: the inside is really nice (“clean”). It has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.

3. Satellite TV. Though really, you get that no matter what kind of apartment you live in. Even construction workers in cinderblock huts get satellite TV. But that doesn’t make it any less cool.

4. Bathtubs. What I would have given to have had one of these in Syria!

5. The balcony. The perfect size for little Miriam to play or to hang out clothes to dry.

6. Our neighbors. They’re awesome. And the best part is that there are tons of kids for Miriam to play with. She’s already become the neighborhood heroine, to the point where anytime we leave or enter the building, it’s accompanied by chants of “Maryam! Maryam! Maryam!” from the other kids.

7. Our landlady. What can I say? She’s there when we need her and gone when we don’t. Plus, she gave us a good deal on rent. And her furniture philosophy is in agreement with ours, which is to say that neither of us approve of gilded chairs, ruffly tablecloths, or ostentatious chandeliers.

8. Window shutters (that actually work). I don’t know how we’ve survived without them all this time. They are indispensable for shutting out light and noise; for example, when the ghaz truck is circling the block during Miriam’s nap.

9. Our kitchen. The refrigerator and washer actually work, and the cabinets aren’t cluttered with hud leftover from previous residents. The oven looks like it might work, too, though we haven’t tried it yet.

10. Carpet. I didn’t think it was so important to me, but it is really nice to have carpet in the living areas. This would have helped last year when poor Miriam was learning to walk on unforgiving marble floors.

Honorable mentions go to: real mattresses, our bowab, and closet doors that shut.

We don’t know if we’re coming back here next summer, but if we do, I think I know where we want to live.

Sheep in the city

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