Tuesday, June 26, 2012
26 June: I got a library card!
26 June Nate left earlier this morning in order to get more study time. In theory, he should be studying for many hours each day. His class starts at 1pm and ends at 5pm. He should be studying at least four additional hours if not more daily, but that just has not been happening. By the time he finishes his run and breakfast with the family, it is usually 9:30am. If he leaves right away (and he usually doesn't), he will arrive either at the arabic institute or the embassy (where he studies) within a half an hour. That gives him three hours in theory, but if he takes some time to go find/eat lunch and travel from the embassy (better Internet access to online dictionaries) to the institute (bad Internet access), it is more like two hours of study. And the evenings? Ha. We get the girls in bed by 8:30pm. By the time we catch up with emails and such it is 9:00pm. We spend time together and next thing we know it is past 10:00pm and we are exhausted. No study. So today he started a new plan--to skip his run but walk to the institute (30 minutes) and use his tangible BOOK dictionary in addition to the patchy Internet. His goal is to get in at least four hours of study. A lot is riding on his success in this program so I appreciate his willingness to buckle down. This left me to manage the girls completely on my own this morning, and it did not start off well with Yumi grabbing a clump of Emi's hair and yanking it out. I should add here that Emi is usually the hair-puller and Yumi has suffered much at the hands of Emi in the past. I obviously cannot condone it from either girl, however, so we had to reprimand Yumi and insist she apologize. This all happened as Nate was about to leave and while I knew I was in for another Yumi fit I urged Nate to just leave. He did. Miraculously, Yumi pulled herself together within a few minutes. And she has more or less been okay today. We started a sticker chart with the reward being an afternoon visit to the embassy pool or some other activity of her choice. It worked pretty well. For now. I do not have my hopes up but it worked today. After breakfast, workout, and showers, we ventured off to a private lending library called Books and More recommended to us by new friends from church. We found it relatively easily and enjoyed the children's reading room. It is furnished with floor cushions and multicolored little kid chairs and, most importantly, lots of princess books. No matter how hard I try to interest them in a wide range of topics, it always comes back to fairy tales. I suppose they are no different from kids around the world and across the centuries, but still. Really? Are Jasmine or Belle or Sleeping Beauty/Aurora the be-all and end-all? To my girls, yes. So we read some fairy tales and Aya munched on a few books. I snuck away to chat with the Jordanian man at the front desk but cannot say I found this lending library to be a good source of Arabic culture and speaking opportunities. The chatty woman in charge is American and the books are largely in English. The girls were happy to read and checkout a princess book a piece and I was definitely pleased to take a few items from their DVD selection. All in all, a positive experience. We lingered in the reading room just a little too long, however, and I was dismayed when signing up for a membership and book checkout took over 20 minutes. Add to that a 25 minute ride home and the girls were CRANKY when we reached the hotel at 1:30pm. And who could blame them--they were starving! We went to the pool again this late afternoon/early evening. Some friends from church--embassy employees and wives--typically go in the afternoon and invited us along. I dangled it as a carrot all day to elicit good behavior from Yumi and I suppose it worked. She was better. She still reacted negatively and defiantly to many of my requests and reprimands, but in every case stopped short of a fit. While such behavior is discouraging, it is better than hysterical fits at every turn. Thing is, I don't really WANT to go to the embassy pool in the afternoon. It takes nearly 1/2 in the back of a taxi to get there (not so bad, we are all excited to go) and 1/2 hr back (not fun, even if I have snacks on me which I cannot always be certain to have or have enough of...). The embassy pool has its advantages; it has been nice to get to know these ladies who all literally spend all afternoon with their kids at the pool. It is also relatively cheap as Jordanian activities for kids go--only 2JD/child. The attached playground rocks--it even has a baby swing! But going in the afternoon is just too difficult. It was nearly 7pm by the time we made it back. I had tasked Nate with procuring dinner and we had...cereal. :-). Nice of him to get it for us but I do not want to do this everyday. Either I have to find a new type of carrot to dangle or we need to find another pool. And of course there is the word class pool in the nearby Sports City. So we shall see. The embassy pool is closed tomorrow anyway so we will not be headed there. How will I motivate my hard-as-nails four year old to choose the right? We shall see. Finally--I wanted to take a moment and mention the nice employees here at Beiti Rose Suites. They may not ever have toilet paper or enough towels on hand, but they sure are nice to us. Yumi and Emi have stopped shouting "don't touch me!" and have really endeared themselves to the staff here. And likewise. When Aya sees the Syrian hotel cook Mohaned, for example, she strains and reaches for him. Yumi jumps right into the arms of Yasir, the Egyptian hotel handyman. Both of these men have wives (just one each I think!) and children at home in their respective countries, but work in Jordan for the employment opportunities and higher pay. I can tell they miss their kids by how sweet they are to our girls. We are considering moving to a different location with more space (kitchen); we will miss the nice people at Beiti Rose, however, if we do.