Monday, June 11, 2012
11 June: Chivalrous man saves Yumi's toy and other stories
11 June We awoke at 7am with a crash and the sound of breaking glass. Nate was out of bed like a shot--good thing he left his gun at home. The light fixture in the second bedroom had bizarrely fallen from the ceiling and smashed on the tile floor just next to the sleeping Emi. Nate found her in their picking up the pieces of glass! Good grief. Our morning was not too different than our other mornings here: breakfast; workout with my bud Tony (P90X) while Aya naps and Yumi plays an ABC matching game/Emi does a craft; shower; get the contents of my bag ready (spoon and some soft food for Aya in case what we find for lunch doesn't appeal to her; camera and phone; water; hat for Aya; spare diaper and wipes). Because I bathed the girls when I shoreward, we did not even get out the door until 11:30am. Ugh! I had the name of a place recommended for children I planned to visit in my pocket. The cab driver dropped us off and left...breaker we discovered that the children's center had moved. Alas-the Egyptian staff at the restaurant next door acted thrilled to meet us. I got in some of my Arabic chatting for the day while the girls ran around the maze of tables set up outdoors. They found out the new address of the children's center and we actually got into another cab to head off for it...but within three seconds of being in the back of the cab I knew it was a bad idea. The girls were already getting crabby and I feared the 15 minute ride to the new location would be a nightmare. So we had driven but just a block when I asked the driver to let us out and we returned to the Egyptian-run restaurant and had an enjoyable time there eating lunch and (the girls) being entertained by the waitstaff. These Egyptians gave the girls some little toys and by their reaction (utter joy) I was reminded that they aren't as excited about being here and experiencing the middle east as I am. The most awesome thing about Jordan as far as they are concerned is the quantity of stray cats. Their happiest moment today was getting a dinky plastic toy. Interesting. Yumi dropped said toy when getting into the taxi that would take us back to the hotel and it rolled under the car. She began to wail. Some be-suited onlooker ran over, got own on his hands and knees, and got the toy for her from other the taxi. Now THAT is why I love Jordan. We headed to the local fruit and veggie man after naps and met Nate there. This was our second time in this little business enclave, home to the fruit guy, a bakery, launderer, restaurant, and gym for the wealthy residents of this upscale neighborhood. We ended up hanging about for dinner and arranging for laundry service. A thing about laundry service: in all my travels, I've always done my own laundry...be it in hotel sinks or with local people as they wash theirs in a tub in front of the house. I've never hired someone to do it for me. And the fact that I have no issues with wearing the same sweaty and dirty clothes day after day when I am traveling (those of you who really know me shouldn't be shocked by this), doing my own laundry and hanging it up to dry in hostels or hotels or one clotheslines of my hosts has never been a problem. Once a week, 5-6 items, no biggie. Well. The girls have completely soiled everything they have worn since we arrived. Heck-Aya soiled three outfits before we had even arrived at our hotel! Nate is a wear a shirt once and clean it sort of guy. So, considering we have very little to no space to conceivably dry all of this laundry, I am forced to hire someone to do it. And. As I discovered today, it is not cheap in Jordan. And the owner of the launderers was offended that I tried to haggle with him. Add to the fact the Emi was crying the entire time the man sorted through my bag of laundry and counted each item in each category (can you believe he considers underwear "pants"? I contested that and won), it wasn't my favorite experience. But I learned the word for underwear and that counts for something. The Emi crying thing is representative of the challenge I will have here--as I mentioned above. Adventuring here is not as fun with the girls...at least not fun like it used to be. I would have thoroughly enjoyed a visit to a laundry in my pre-children visits to the middle east and would probably have ended up dining with that man and his family. As it was, we were both annoyed because of the sound of poor Emi crying hysterically because I wouldn't let her play in the street. Do you see the dilemma I face? Stay tuned and see if/how I can find a way to milk this experience for all it is worth AND find a way for my girls to have fun. It is 9:30pm and we only just got the girls to bed. The thing about staying in a hotel is--you have to eat out every night. I had been thrilled at this prospect (no dishes!!!) but imagine taking your three small children out for three meals a day. The process this evening was surprisingly long considering neither Yumi nor Emi could be convinced to eat. We did, however, get some chatting time with the neighborhood guys who had gathered to watch the Italy v England football match. This isn't the type of neighborhood where people need to gather to watch due to lack of personal tv sets...but it is always more fun watching a match while eating hummus. Right? The going to bed process goes like this: get all three girls changed, to the toilet, teeth brushed, bottle for Aya, move Aya's bed from the second bedroom to the living room, set up the couch for Yumi including her portable nightlight, make sure the portable toilet we brought is in Emi's room, and get all business done in the bathroom (Nate shower, face washing, etc). THEN we read from the scriptures a bit, have a family prayer, and the girls get to watch a few minutes of the Magic School Bus or something. Then a story each. All the moving of bedding and nighttime supplies around would probably look very comical to a fly on the wall.