Friday, September 30, 2011

A Cultural Scented Adventure

Since moving to the Middle East, I've learned a bit about oud, a fragrant incense that is quite popular over here. You can smell it wafting through the mall, in souks and exhibitions, and apparently, it is popular in female schools.
While in my principal's office today, talking about visiting some other schools to observe fellow Cycle 3 Licensed Teachers, the school secretary came in with a pot of smoking oud. It was really smoking- to the point where at other school's (like a certain teacher's room when someone has accidentally burned their toast) the fire alarm would go off. I started wondering how long before I would have an asthma attack. She waved the oud around our principal, and then another lady came in with a ball of tinfoil containing more oud, and put it in the pot, increasing the smoke. The room filled with the gray, scented smoke.
The principal and secretary started talking to me in Arabic and gesturing to me and the oud. I had no idea what they were talking about... so the Arabic English teacher explained that oud is used as a perfume and that it was tradition/customary for us to all use the oud. They made me stand over the smoking pot with my dress sealing in the scent, and then the secretary grasped the top of my dress to help let the smoke flow through. For the rest of the day, all I could smell was the incense that infused my clothing, hair, and the rest of me.

1 comment:

Erica Wilson said...

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto!