My 12-year-old brother, Steven, is here in Damascus visiting for a few weeks. Watching him adjust to life here can be hilarious at times. Here are some of the things he's said that caught me off guard and made me laugh:
On the night of his arrival, when talking about our plans for the next day:
Me: I'm glad you guys came in when it's dark. Wait till you see the city in daylight!
Steven: Why? Is it more...alarming?
Before our visit to the Seidnaya convent, my mom and I were telling him stories about all the women (both Muslim and Christian) who go there to pray for babies. They will spend the night in the same room as a famous icon of the Virgin Mary and then eat the wicks of candles that have been burning there.
Mom: And in nine months, most of them come back with babies. One woman ate 20 wicks and came back with triplets!
Steven (a bit confused): So, don't they have men?
Steven: I mean, don't they need men to have babies?
Steven is still trying to convince us to take a trip to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon (deep in Hezbollah territory).
Me: Steven, I don't think we're going to go. Sorry, but we don't want to get kidnapped. Do you want to get kidnapped?
Steven: As long as we're released, it's OK with me.