Wednesday, June 06, 2012
It sure is great to be back. You can take Jamila from the Middle East but you can't take the Middle East out of Jamila, I always like to say. :-) So here I am, back in my adoptive native land, but experiencing it in a whole new way: with three small children. As many of you know, I've been nervous about how the girls will necessarily change the way I experience the Middle East and that the change will be--to me--regrettable. I will be sharing my experiences with you on this blog and we shall hopefully see that the girls only slightly change the way I operate in the Middle East and--most importantly--do not make it impossible for everyone to have a great time this summer. I intend to print and include these pages in my journal so expect a strict attention to detail. So! To begin, a bit about our trip here. Our flight plan was from Dulles to Vienna to Amman. The statistics: Hours from Dulles to Vienna: 8. Number of hours anyone of our party of five slept on that journey: 0. Number of embarrassingly loud tantrums thrown on that journey: 1 (Yumi). Number of hours the woman behind us AND her small son slept: all 8 hrs. Length of our layover in Vienna: 2 hrs total. Amount of time the girls slept during the layover: Aya and Emi both slept about 1/2 in the baby carrier and stroller. Hours from Vienna to Amman: 3.5 hrs. Hours Nate and I slept on this leg: 0. Hours the girls slept on this leg: 3.5 (Yumi), .5 (Aya and Emi). Number of hysterical fits on this leg: 1 (Emi). Number of times Nate and I (who were not seated together) switched places because he couldn't get Aya/Emi to sleep: 2. The length of time it took to exchange money, get visas, and cross into Jordan: 1 hr. The number of hysterical fits at immigration in front of hoards of incoming travelers: 1 (Yumi). The number of children I carried through customs and immigration: 2 (Yumi and Aya). The number of children completely passed out for the entire process: 1 (Emi). The number of Aya blowouts requiring a complete change of clothes: 3. The number of the blowouts/cleanup that occurred while in flight or in a taxi cab: 3. The number of outfits I brought for Aya in our carry on luggage: 1 (we had to put her in both Yumi's and Emi's spare outfits!). The length of time in the taxi from the airport to the hotel: 1 hr. The number of child carseats safely protecting our children: 0. Our hotel is working out just fine. It is in a swanky part of Amman which, for me, is a drawback, but it is close to Nate's school and I suppose I can't really expect to house us all in a hostel-not when I can't seem to get my children to share a bedroom. I'd been trying to prepare them for this for months; I'd moved Yumi and Emi into the same room and more or less succesffully got them to sleep in the same room BUT ONLY because I confined Emi to a tent that I LOCKED. :-). Once we got rid of the tent the system began to fall apart and we were forced to move them back to separate quarters not long before our departure. I know that other children seem to do this just fine but my girls just don't. We put them to bed last night about 9pm; Yumi and Emi in one room, Aya in her travel crib in the sitting room, and Nate and I in the master bedroom. Aya fell asleep in about three seconds; Nate and I were not far behind. I am not sure about Emi and Yumi but at about 11pm I awoke to them shouting at each other. Of course they woke Aya. We ended up taking Yumi back to bed with us. So-sharing a bedroom in the hostel in which I stayed the summer of 2006 (when Nate and I were engaged) really just wouldn't work. It is currently nap time. I figured that I could trust Yumi to nap (or rest) in the same room as Aya. Ha! I kept hearing Aya giggling from inside the room and expected to find Yumi standing over the crib, playing with her. What I found was that Yumi had actually removed Aya from the crib and both were having a ball playing together. Even funnier is the fact that mi tried to blame Aya for the disobedience. So now Yumi is spending her quiet time in...the bathroom! This afternoon I took the girls on an adventure...well, a 15 minute walk to the main drag of the neighborhood and shawarmas for lunch. Super fun. Not really fun like how it was in the old days...the girls hold me back and alpre too young to find chatting with people and eating street food to be "fun"...but still very satisfying. Yumi is getting bolder and speaking to people in Arabic. People here-especially the men lingering about "working" at the hotel seem to LOVE her. Arabs have no social barriers about getting up close and cuddly with strangers' children. It doesn't make me nervous because I've seen this all before and I know it is "normal" but I'll definitely not let her out of my sight. All in all, things are well. The flights were NOT fun but it could have been worse...and my REAL concern (that Nte and I would be so stressed that we'd be annoyed at each other) didn't happen. He was great. We were a good team. Signing out for now! Nate is back from his trip to the embassy this morning/afternoon. I'll spring Yumi from the bathroom and get the other girls up. It is 5pm and we have to try to get on this time zone. We will go downtown Amman this evening-our old haunt-and I am sure we will have a blast.