Another friend was an Assyrian Swede who spoke perfect Arabic.
I had no master plan after I graduated from UVA seven years ago.
Unlike many friends, I was not ready to commit to graduate school.
Joining corporate culture did not appeal to me either.
I had majored in Foreign Affairs in the Middle East and was active in Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine, so living in the Middle East was a logical idea.
Finding a tutor was like speed dating—not everyone was a match.
After nearly a year of false starts, I finally met Khalil, a university student looking to earn extra money.
Kind, bookish, and worldly, Khalil and I shared an immediate rapport.
So, with some modest savings, I decided to pursue studying Arabic in Damascus, Syria.
In September 2008, I arrived in Damascus as Ramadan was in full swing.