Friday, July 13, 2012
13 July: Chaos in Suite 501
13 July Sabbath Day in Amman. Five minutes late to church--not bad. It is amazing how little traffic there is on Fridays here. I almost did not recognize our street when we returned from church as it was absolutely void of ANY cars--a real change from the constant traffic jam going on in front of our hotel on other days. Getting to church on a Friday morning takes 8 minutes flat, at least 1/2 the time it would take on an ordinary day. We left a little late, however, as we took our time getting ready and reading to the girls. Not that anyone slept in...oh, no. Aya woke with a desperate need for a change at 6:30am. Her cries woke and irritated Yumi, a situation we addressed with an impromptu storytime. When Aya wakes early she nearly always wakes Yumi, but this is not so much of a problem in the middle of the night. Aya rarely wakes but when she does, Yumi amazingly sleeps through it. Both girls sleep fairly deeply, a talent for which I was grateful last night when the reception called our room at 9:30pm. The phone is located about one foot from Yumi's ear but in a different room from us. Astoundingly, we did not realize it was ringing right away, but of course I practically broke my neck trying to pick up the receiver once I realized it was ringing. I did not try to converse with the lobby attendant and simply said my husband would come down. This put Nate on red alert, considering his training to expect the worst. He armed himself with his wicked-looking switchblade (it is easily six inches long!) and insisted I keep the key and bolt the door behind him. The grand emergency turned out to be a missing iron; the staff had lent me one some weeks ago and seemed to think we still had it. Ha! Annoyingly, they called AGAIN five minutes later to confirm that we were certain we did not have it. The girls snored right through it all. Whew! Despite the nocturnal disturbances, we were up with the birds and off to church shortly before 8:30am. Our girls are doing much better keeping still during the first meeting, and considering it is shorter than the same meeting held by an American LDS congregation (only 45 minutes long) I think they quite like it. All other lessons and services went well. Aya impressed everyone with her new ability to walk. We said goodbye to the folks moving on this week. Church ends at 10:30am and, as I've said, we are a quick ride from the hotel. I am always reluctant to go back, however, because there is little to do here and I have no wish to put the girls down super early for naps. Fridays are lonely days for me here. Nate usually leaves for the embassy right after I put the girls down for naps to go have teleconferences with his coworkers back in DC. I inevitably put the girls down early for naps which means they get up earlier. Sabbath Day (Sunday) for us is a day to have friends over and eat. I am always cooking something special. I usually work on my next joy school lesson. It is a day of rest but with purpose. It is definitely a different day--as I have mentioned, we typically don't go to parks or out shopping--but still active and full of our activities in or around our home with family and friends. It is a day I pull out creative projects while the girls nap. It is just...enjoyable. Here, I find myself confused as to how to spend the day. Difficult to make it "special" by staying close to home or not seeking out entertainment for the girls. We have little to do here and even less to eat. We will be going out to seek activity and food after naps. Even more disconcerting about Fridays, however, is just how lonely I feel. We cannot feasibly invite friends over to our hotel room. We have tried to invite Jordanian friends to meet us at the park--this is, in fact, what Jordanian families DO on Friday afternoons--but it has never panned out. So once again, I am faced with the prospect of coming up with something to do that we can all enjoy--a challenge as you've likely gathered. It is 12:53pm. The latest I feel comfortable leaving poor Yumi to her confinement in the bathroom is 2pm. I'll be lucky if Emi/Aya nap until 3pm. That gives me 3-3.5 hrs before we meet Nate somewhere for dinner. What to do? What to do.... This afternoon: ALL girls were up by 2:15pm! We eventually headed out to the Bird Garden. Do not assume our frequent visits there to mean that the Brd Garden is really that awesome; I am still astounded by how dirty that place is. Ad I am afraid we added to the mess, come to think of it. I brought two empty water bottles for the girls to play with and I am afraid now to admit I do not know what happened to them after the girls were done. Oh dear. Well, one thing I do know is that some other kids will also play with them and no one will be disgusted by their presence. It would seem most visitors to the garden feel free to leave their trash behind. There is plenty of opportunity for this considering people usually bring bags of snacks with them. Whole families come, spread out blankets, and commence snacking. From what I can tell, Jordanians do not seem too far behind Americans in the love of processed food snacks. Not too many families at the Bird Garden today, however. Too hot. My girls were ready to go after 1/2 hr but I just kept trying to stretch it out. Reminded me of the days when Nate was gone to Afghanistan and I would insist we stay at the library on Friday nights until it closed, just to spend the time. I DID get a chance to chat with some ladies and Yumi/Emi played a little with one of their daughters. Yumi had plenty to say in Arabic to the few kids at the park today; I am afraid she is a bit bossy and spoke her mind to a a few kids. I know she told one boy to say "sorry" to Emi for bumping into her and she ordered some other kids to get on the far side of the railing bordering the bird cages. She seemed so bothered by this latter offense that she told the garden keeper all about it when we left. She made a Nobel effort but I had to interpret her Arabic for him into something more comprehensible. I am so proud of her, though. FINALLY I figured we could go. It was so hot that I bought a cold liter of water (the girls had completely downed the water I had brought along) and we drank our fill. Not sure if this was the culprit of Yumi's subsequent stomach ache but she started to complain as soon as we arrived at "thaqaafa" street. This is where we intended to meet Nate. We ended up waiting well over a half an hour and we whiled it away at a restaurant staffed by Egyptians. I enjoyed chatting with then but wished they would bring the girls the fresh fruit juices I had ordered. They never came. Nate arrived and we just had to abandon the restaurant and their absent juices. Meanwhile, Yumi's complaining was getting worse and had escalated to hitting Emi/running away from me/Nate when we reprimanded her. Knowing she would throw a gigantic fit if one of us took her home right then and there, we kept trying to persuade/threaten her into good behavior. She seemed to calm a bit and was more or less fine until we stopped on our way back to the hotel at the convenience store for milk and yoghurt. I insisted she stay strapped to Nate's back (and Emi stay in the stroller). She started to scream; Nate left with her. When I returned to the hotel she was in full hysterics which lasted for nearly the next half hour. We let her scream for a while in the second bedroom. She had calmed down a bit when I started giving her sisters baths. I guess the relative silence prompted Emi to start in. Emi was screaming so loudly about getting hosed down that I asked Nate to take her and a freshly washed Aya out of the bathroom so I could focus on washing Yumi. They had all been in the bedroom only a minute when I heard Nate shout in distress. I rushed in to find Aya covered in blood. Not sure what happened but I clutched her to me. Yumi saw her and renewed her hysterics. Emi was and had been crying loudly too. Nate said she had fallen but did not know what was causing all of the blood. I shoed him and Yumi out and started to examine the Chub. I figured out that her sharp little teeth had bit deeply into both sides of her lip. I quickly scanned through the possible options--hospital? FaceTime with Nate's dad the doctor? First aid?--and finally settled on the latter. Not that there really was much to do and once I applied some pressure the bleeding almost entirely stopped. I cleaned her up and gave her one of the children's pain killer suppositories they are big on here. And she seemed fine. We could NOT get them all to bed fast enough, which was still shortly after 8am. Good grief, what a night. I hope my little Chubby doesn't have a scar.