Saturday, July 21, 2012

21 July: Arabic lessons at last!

20 July Aya woke us bright and early at 6am this morning.  I will take that over nighttime screaming for three hours any day, but it was a bit of a rude awakening.  I don't know if that was to blame for Yumi's meltdown later this morning...a fit, sadly, she never quite recovered from.  Alas!  It was time for a dip after several days of stellar behavior. By 7am we were all ready for breakfast but of course there was none to be had.  Mohaned the cook said he'd leave a plate for us in the refrigerator but I could not find one.  While down in the kitchen I observed the scurrying of cockroaches...the main reason why I do not want to ask for permission to  cook any of our personal meals down there.  I know most industrial kitchens have cockroaches but ugh.... Dear Mohaned brought us up a meal 1/2 hr later.  Not sure what he puts in his scrambled eggs (1/2 cup oil?) but the girls sure do love them.  This is the second morning he has furnished us with our own personal meal delivered straight to our room.  I am grateful but am worried he will continue to bring us heart attack scrambled eggs.  I may need to ask him to bring us boiled eggs instead.  The girls like boiled eggs just fine and I won't feel so disgusting after eating them.  Ramadan Kareem! After a workout and shower I took the girls to Hawawati bookstore.  It was on the cab ride over that Yumi began to meltdown.  Both Yumi and Emi wanted to lay on my lap.  Not only did I just need a little space (ha! Pretty funny considering I have Aya strapped to my chest...), I neither wanted Aya to grab either girls' hair (which she would do if they were lying on my lap) nor did I want Yumi/Emi to fight over how much lap they would get (which they definitely would do).  So I refused lap space to both.  Emi cried, threw herself repeatedly on me, but got over it after I gave her a little spank.  I had to do it, people--she just will NOT stop until she gets the spank.  Yumi, however, just cried, sobbed, then screamed.  She met each suggestion of turning back with more screams and, like other times, I figured I would be better off moving forward than going back to the hotel.  Just what would I do with her at the hotel?  Chances are good that after arriving at the destination she will calm down.  Which she did, if a little mopey.  She read books, moped around, painted.  I bought some great new books.  All three girls played well for about ten minutes on the attached playground until Yumi hit Emi.  Yumi handled my immediate reaction--let's go home!--poorly but not terribly.  Ride home, lunch, naps.  Lunch bordered on brutal--all three girls crying at one time--and I tend to get extra irritated in this situation when Nate is around.  I feel extra stressed because 1) I feel like I have someone else I have to take care of AND 2) I always expect--unfairly, I suppose--for him to make it all better and find myself disappointed.  Sometimes we work well together to solve these problems but usually we all just get irritated with each other.  Today was no exception but we regrouped after we put the girls down for naps.   Being a Saturday, Nate did not have class.  He studied all morning and would continue to study through naps, leaving me free to adventure.  I hopped a bus downtown and went straight to Hashem's restaurant.  I wanted to see if they would sell me hummus and fuul to have on hand, considering dining out now is going to be difficult if not impossible.  The usually packed restaurant was empty, chairs stacked, no dining room service.  Not during Ramadan.  They would, however, sell me take-away fuul and hummus.  While the young man scooped up piles of delicious hummus into a plastic container, I asked him for Hashem's recipe.  He joked about it being a secret but then confirmed the ingredients--the same I put into mine.  When I told him I aspired to making great hummus like hashem hummus he said: "only one person in a hundred can make great hummus." Some of you out there may have had my hummus.  What do you think: am I one of the lucky few? My other goal this afternoon was to buy a blender.  I should have done this first thing but I thought we'd get to juice shops every day and we'd be drinking green--or at least carrot--infused smoothies daily.  Not so--the closest place is a twenty minute walk so we just don't do it every day.  A couple of times a week and now, during Ramadan, they will not even be serving during hours we are out and about.  I went in search of a blender.  I found one, too expensive, and did not buy.  But the search was enjoyable and invoked asking lots of people lots of questions and directions.  I love that. I got back to the hotel at 4:15pm and rushed Yumi out the door for a trip to Safeway.  She was perfectly good but maybe me rushing her about set the stage for her later meltdown.  We bought a blender, bread, fruit, potatoes (I am going to try to microwave them....).  I had to rush her about because I has an appointment back at the hotel at 5pm! I dropped Yumi and the groceries off with Nate and then met my new TEACHER in the lobby.  Yes!  The niece of the hotel owner has agreed to work with me three days a week on my Arabic.  It was an extremely enjoyable hour.  I got very nostalgic thinking of my dear friend Ghada in Egypt who was my first teacher and worked with me so patiently each day from 6am to 12pm. Nisreen is the name of my new teacher and she is every bit as darling.  I am going to thoroughly enjoy working with her. Nate took the girls out for a walk during my lesson, which we held in the hotel courtyard.  I could hear them return due to Yumi's hysterics.  She  apparently did not want to go back to the hotel and was straining against the straps of the stroller, howling.  We got her upstairs ASAP and, since she refused to be released from the stroller, wheeled it into the second bedroom and closed the door.  Sad.  She kept it up for nearly an hour.  We would come in, offer to release her, and she would refuse.  At least she did not scream hateful things.  She did, however, wet herself because the refused to cooperate and was in "time out.". Meanwhile, I made us all smoothies.  That, plus cereal for the girls and hummus/fuul for us adults, was our dinner.  Have I mentioned that I feel like we are camping?  This is a long camping trip.  But to be honest, you can't make smoothies when camping so this is definitely a step up. :-) As badly as we wanted to be done, we desperately needed to bathe the girls.  They were filthy.  That all fortunately went well and we actually had them all in bed, quiet, by 8pm.  Here's hoping for a good night's sleep so I can kick this cold!

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