Today, so far, has been a a much needed "good one." Other than a little grouchiness at the girls for bickering during my workout (I just cannot seem to ignore it!), I have felt calm and happy all morning. Aya helped by waking at the acceptable hour of 6:30am. I can deal with that. Nate has been sick but woke feeling much better. I am still concerned about Emi, and intend to have her looked at by a pediatrician, but have been reassured by emails from family and friends. Nate gave her a blessing this morning during which all girls participated reverently. In other words, a MUCH better morning than our last few.
We went to the embassy pool today--also a generally enjoyable activity. We met some friends there, swam, played on the playground, ate grapes, enjoyed the humidity free warmth graced by a nice breeze. Love the weather.
Yumi is getting bolder in the pool; today she zoomed all over the deep end with the aid of a water noodle--a first time taking off without me swimming near her. I started out with her in the pool but she noticed other kids swimming about with the aid of noodles and the peer pressure had its effect. For the first time as well I got her to blow bubbles (I know, we are a little behind schedule...). Once I got her to do it she did not stop. Bubbles bubbles bubbles. You have never seen a kid more proud of herself. Her independence AND the existence of the playground gave me a little freedom to swim around with the Chub and chat with my friends. Emi loves that playground. I ADORE the playground because it is gated and covered with grass and playground turf, not sand. Emi spent most of her time there today because she refused to put on her floaters and I would not let her in the pool without them.
Everything went smoothly, even our departure and return trip. I had to beg a driver to take us back to Shmeisani, infamous for its traffic, but luckily succeeded. It is 2:41pm and I am going to sneak out, leaving the girls here, and go down to the lobby to access the Internet/wait for my teacher and babysitter. I moved my lesson to 3pm today so as to reduce the stress I feel when leaving all three girls awake (and crying/fighting) with Erapie. This way, only Yumi will be awake (ideally). It gives me less of a "quiet time" but I consider my lesson to be a treat AND I will enjoy it more if I don't hear my kids screaming from the fifth floor.
This afternoon: Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying my Arabic lessons? :-) Not only am I improving my language skills, I am enjoying the friendships I am forming with both my teacher, Nisreen, and my babysitter, Erapie. Nisreen listened yesterday, at great length, while I explained what happened to Emi over and over with the new words she had taught me. She could see my agitation and offered to speak to her doctor brother about it. Her brother called me just now, listened to the story once again, and gave me his opinion that rabies treatment would be inappropriate. He offered to prescribe her an oral antibiotic AND gave me the names and numbers of two specialists at the Jordan Hospital where he works. I am grateful to have found such a kind and caring friend in Nisreen.
And Erapie--she brought paints for Yumi and spent the full hour with her one-on-one. Dear Erapie also asked me if she could take Yumi on a little "date" some afternoon this week after my Arabic lesson. Heck, yah! I am blessed to have some wonderful people enter our lives in these last few weeks of our stay here. We have met many fun and kind people this summer whom we see daily (hotel employees, Abu Manal, Samir, Noora of the museum, etc) BUT these people have remained on the perimeter for the most part. I have not cried in front if them, for example, thanking them for their time like I did Nisreen. And while we ADORE some of the hotel staff, they are nearly all men whom I have not/could not hug Iike I have Erapie and Nisreen. Does this make sense? These two ladies have truly become, in a matter of days, close friends. For that I will always be grateful.
A little note about my conversation with Nisreen. While discussing her future plans she told me that in her family they do not marry relatives. When she starts to "shop" for a husband, events will likely unfold as follows: she will be on outings with her mother and friends of her mother will start to ask her questions. Should these ladies find her attractive/smart/nice/religious/"fill in the blank" enough, they will ask Nisreen if she'd like to meet their sons. Nisreen will agree to a first meeting and go from there. She will eventually begin to "date" one of them (not like we might date in the West but unaccompanied outings to public places are totally acceptable) and marry him. While not the first time I have heard about traditional Arab marriage practices, it was fascinating to hear about it spoken of so practically.
A bonus to moving up my lesson time is that a late afternoon shopping outing is still possible. Oh, it still took an hour to get out the door, but we were able to get out and back within an acceptable timeframe. Today's destination was Safeway and I have to say--I think it may have been my last visit there. I have never enjoyed this dark and crowded store but enjoyed the inflatable playground in the store parking lot. Well, I enjoyed taking the girls there, I should say. It is closed now, for Ramadan, so there is no other reason to visit Safeway other than to buy peanut butter, mozzarella cheese, and cornflakes. These items, by the way, are not for ME. I can live very well off of hummus, thank you very much, but some little people I know just seem to require their favorite foods to be happy. At any rate, in future I can ask Nate to pick up these speciality items at the fancy grocery store (Carrefour) next to his Arabic school. No more Safeway for me.
I did buy something in addition to imported goods at Safeway today. I purchased something that looked similar to spinach and what I hoped to put into our smoothies. Green smoothies in Jordan-yay! Well, whatever it was, it totally overpowered the fresh mango, banana, pineapple AND orange in the drink. The girls surprisingly drank their portions but I could not finish mine. Way too bitter.
Dinner tonight was from the Safeway buffet: rice with a few veggies and chicken. Tasty enough and available even before sundown. I may in fact go back to Safeway for the fact that they have hot meals ready to go even during Ramadan.
Today was one of those today in which I felt we are doing just fine. The girls were manageable and I had a academic outlet in the shape of my Arabic lesson. I also acknowledged once again that we will mourn the end of many aspects of this adventure--and that day is coming swiftly. In three weeks, actually, which suddenly seems astonishingly soon. I am sure there will be days within the next three weeks in which 22 August cannot come soon enough, but hopefully more frequent will be days (moments?) in which I fully appreciate what we have seen/learned/felt here. What I can say absolutely is that I am sad we could not have simply moved here permanently. Some of our difficulties were rooted in the impermanent nature of our accommodations and life here. We are just starting to make real friends, make headway in the language, get into a grove; sadly, we will now need to leave all the positive aspects behind when we leave in three short weeks. Very important to make these next three weeks really count.
I returned to a happy Yumi and two other still sleeping girls. Happy day!