Wednesday, July 11, 2012
11 July: Emi trapped and me caught with my clothes off
11 July When Nate discovered this morning that our bedroom door had mysteriously broken overnight, I made a mental note to talk about it with the reception when I would leave later. Nate, luckily, was the one inside the room when I shut the door to keep the girls away from his P90X-ing. MacGyver that he is, he had the door open in two shakes with the use of a clothes hanger. The problem was not that the door inadvertently was locked, it was just that the nob no longer removed the latch from the jam. The door jam is configured such that no simple swipe of a credit card would open the door. Luckily, Nate is handier than most. After breakfast I did my usual workout. I set out our new wooden block set for the girls to play with while I took a quick shower. Unsurprisingly, they began to argue, and Emi stomped off into our bedroom in a rage. And slammed the door. Her cries of anger became cries of panic as she realized she was stuck. I was concerned mostly because I was dressed only in a towel and could not see any other solution than to call the hotel handyman up to our room. Just as I had resolved to call the front desk in spite of my dishabille (that one’s for you, dad), I remembered my sweaty workout clothes still lying on the floor of the bathroom. I put them back on, called for help, and with some considerable effort Mohammad that repair man managed to remove the nob and open the door on an hysterical Emiko Leila. She was more mad than anything, really, but a little chocolate milk cheered her up pretty quickly. Despite this interference, we still made it out. We originally had plans to go with friends to the embassy pool but they were canceled on us last evening. Alas! Plan B: Rainbow Street. Today’s visit featured something new: a visit to Cafe des Artistes, where you can watercolor while you wait for your food. Good thing, since 15 minutes had passed and our two glasses of lemonade still had not arrived. And there was only one other occupied table in the cafe. And there were two employees. I am not joking! Funny thing is that this place was recommended by a Jordanian blogger who posted about child-friendly activities in Amman. To get the address, I looked up the Cafe on FaceBook and noticed many reviews. ALL of them mentioned the same thing: slow, terrible service. I was not concerned about this...all I would order, after all, would be a beverage. Ha! I had no idea had to grow the lemons first....After 15 minutes we left—they still had not made the juice. This really bothered Mayumi—the not drinking lemonade as promised—and she began to threaten mutiny. I should add here that she woke this morning very upset as well and spent a very rocky first ½ hour. I even whispered to Nate that I was certain we were in for a doozey—a backslide after several REALLY good days with her. Happily, I was wrong...or at least am wrong so far. She recovered from her initial bad mood AND managed to pull herself together outside Cafe des Artistes. Whew! It was 12:30pm, however, so I knew I was really running a risk by not hopping into a taxi (as if there were one...taxis are hard to come by on Rainbow Street) and going straight back to the hotel. I had several other visits I had hoped to make, however, and I knew the girls would enjoy them IF they were not melting down from thirst and hunger. Our departure from the hotel HAD been delayed by the faulty door nob, after all, and add to that the ½ ride in traffic...the girls were already wiped out. As I said, however, Yumi managed to recover a shred of cooperation and we made it to the bookstore. And out again without too much fuss! A miracle. I picked up three new books: one on toilet training (never to early to start with Aya, right?), one on going to the airport, and a third on forest animals. These are, of course, written in Arabic. The girls were clearly wilting but trudged onward to the household goods store. My primary goal here was to pick up a green fly swatter that Yumi had been coveting. I figured it could be her reward for reaching her “goal” of a full row of stickers on her behavior chart today. I learned the word for “fly swatter” but did NOT find said swatter. Nor could any of the employees. These employees, as I have mentioned, are a swarm of Egyptian boys and men, and they love us. At least, I think they do. It is also possible that they dread our visits because Emi always fills up a basket of things that she leaves—at my insistence—at the door of the store when we leave. Finally—the Egyptian saaj and juice place. We always eat there despite the lack of tables. We order, wait, and take our food outside to eat. I usually have to eat standing up and feed Aya still strapped to my chest. It is always a juggling act to get all of us our food, distribute the food, clean up messes, dispose of our take-away trash, etc. Two Filapina ladies from our church congregation bumped into us while we were eating today. Fun. We finished our pizza saaj (for Yumi/Emi) and tomato/cheese/thyme saaj (for me/Aya). The girls slurped up their strawberry and carrot juices (yes, I ALWAYS add carrot). Aya ended up with half of hers in her hair. Everyone was, fortunately, revived by this break. Good thing, because we had to walk several more blocks just to catch a taxi. Emi insisted on carrying our purchases—enclosed in two large plastic bags—and looked like a tired little bag lady as she essentially dragged the gigantic bags along behind her down the sidewalk. This afternoon: Nate had indicated that he could use some additional study time directly after class. His school closes, however, immediately after his class ends so his plan was to return to our hotel. Thus, we needed to be out so he could study. The bird garden was the natural destination but it is a bit far on foot and time consuming. All those teeter totters, slides, monkey bars, and birds to see....!! To walk there, stay an hour, walk back would take two hours. I did not have that much time but decided to chance it. I figure there is no point in walking up this ridiculously steep hill in 100 degrees in long pants slowly...otherwise I should just take a cab! So I charged up the hill, reached the park in record time, and let the girls play. Unlike other visits to the bird garden, I did not find myself in a natural position to start up a conversation with someone. Jordanians are not so enthralled by foreigners that they flock to me, anxious to be my friend. Plus all the adults at this park have children to mind and play with. Additionally, I have a hard time chatting with people there because it is hard to focus on chatting in a foreign language with a stranger AND keep track of two fearless girls who are running madly about. Not to mention keeping Aya from eating the sand! This time, alas, I did not make any new friends. I did a lot of people watching, however, and that was enjoyable. Watching a woman, bedecked in a colorful headscarf, getting excited over her small son's first time down a slide. Or a child complain bitterly to her mother over some injustice at the hand of a sibling. Or a small girl coming up to Yumi and simply taking the plastic water bottle in which Yumi had been pouring sand. Yumi called after her in halting Arabic, protesting. I intervened and got the bottle back, but Yumi proudly found the girl as we were leaving and gave it to her. "I made a new friend!" she said happily. We walked home at a more leisurely pace. Emi was taking her turn in the ergo on my back and was requesting songs. I often sing to the girls and we have a collection of their favorite songs. No one was out walking so I commenced singing. Emi requested The Ants Go Marching (does anyone know what happens when the ants go marching five by five? I have forgotten.) and the BYU fight song. I was probably on my fourth round of the fight song when I thought "I must hold onto this moment. There will be a time when I wish I had all three girls connected to me--on my back, in a stroller--begging me to sing to them. I must relish this moment." And I did. Of course two of the three were crying by the time I rolled into our room but that's okay. Nate was there. We had a meal of pb&j on pita, fruit, and veggies. Girls in bed by 7:45pm! The Internet is back. Alhamdulileh. But even more worthy of praise to Almighty is the presence of my family. I am feeling grateful tonight.