They are here! My parents arrived at 9am this morning at the Queen Alia International Airport. It is now 4:29pm and it has been nonstop fun. Here's the story:
Nisreen and her cousin picked me and Emi/Yumi up at 8:15am this morning. Erapie had planned to watch the girls for me but was caught up with a previous engagement. Alas--I knew my parents would be thrilled to see the girls sooner than later. Considering Nisreen's generous offer to drive us, bringing the girls was not so bad. Riding in any conveyance along side them, not strapped into carseats, is not exactly fun, but at least in Nisreen's car we had a little room to move.
Forty-five minutes later we arrived. Thirty minutes and three bags of popcorn later, my parents emerged from customs. Yay! It is always so fun to meet people at the airport. This is my third time meeting my parents at airports in the middle east, actually. First time in 1999, meeting my dad in Tel Aviv. Second time in 2004, meeting my mom in Cairo. And now in 2012, meeting them both in Amman. I guess you know where to go if you want to find me. :-)
The girls were tired and wiggly by the time we reached the hotel again, but were actually behaving very well. We got my parents' room sorted out--located on our very same floor--and then set off for a walk to the Al Bayrouni Street commercial complex. I introduced my parents to our friends there and picked up a few supplies. The Chub, tired from missing her morning nap, zonked out in the stroller.
We returned to my room and got lunch underway. Mayumi returned from camp with Nate at around 1pm. I had been nervous about her arrival onto the seen; would she be nice or difficult? It could go either way. Al hamdulileh she was great! My dad focused on Emi, sitting with her at the table and playing blocks/eating with her. My mom focused in Yumi and the two of them ate around the coffee table. I think the girls both felt they were getting the attention they wanted and did not need to compete with each other. I had honesty expected mayhem and crying so was thrilled to see how everyone enjoyed their time together. Nate did not have class today so he was, unusually, here to have lunch with us. While my dad played with Yumi and Emi, and Aya entertained herself with a cookie cutter and a milk bottle, us remaining three adults were actually able to get in a good conversation. Have I mentioned how amazed I am at how well it all went?
Everyone went down for naps without complaint. Nate was on hand to babysit so while my mom took a nap across the hall in their room, my dad and I took off for downtown. I get my interest in history and antiquities from my father so it is not surprising he was game for a visit to the roman amphitheater. We tried to catch a cab but after two rejections ("Downtown? A this hour? Are you crazy?") we had no alternative but to catch the bus. Perfectly fine with us. It took nearly 30 minutes to lumber downtown in the bus but we had a great chat along the way. My parents came via Beirut, Dubai, and Muscat (Oman), so my father caught me up on their adventure of this last week.
We jumped off the bus and walked the remaining 20 minutes or so down to the Roman Amphitheatre. We stayed only briefly but I know he was perfectly happy with the experience. It was now nearly 4pm and time to get back to check on the girls and my mom. At my dad's request, I called Nate to ask him to wake my mom by knocking on their door. She did not want to end up napping too long. As the two big girls were up, Nate took then over to her room and that is where I found the when we returned. That is where they are still; I hear no screaming so apparently all is going well!
This evening: The good times continued. I eventually went to check in on the girls and all truly was well. We all spent time together in different combinations between our two rooms for the next two hours. Very enjoyable. Then, cute Nate took over command and I left for an evening out with my parents! What fun. We took the bus downtown (again) and headed straight to Hashem restaurant, the tasty and popular joint across the street from my old hostel from summer 2006. The restaurant was more full than I'd ever seen it before; where the chairs and tables usually spill out into the alley between the two buildings and down to the street, tonight the tables filled up the sidewalks intersecting the alley on both sides. Somehow the restaurant staff found us another table and we joined all the other Jordanians waiting to break their fasts. There we all sat, waiting for the sun to set. As the first strains of the call to prayer echoed off of the hills bordering downtown, everyone dove in to their bowls of hummus, fuul, and falafel.
We ate and chatted for over an hour. Fun. Next in the agenda: shopping. Problem was, most shops had closed prior to sunset for Iftar and would not reopen until 9:00pm. We hung about, chatting and drinking juice cocktails. We visited a few shops that had remained opened but nothing really struck my mom's fancy. At about 9:30pm we hoped in a cab and slogged our way through serious traffic back to our hotel. Everyone was asleep by the time I snuck into our hotel room at 10:30pm.
What a great day! I am so proud of how well the girls behaved and thrilled to have my parents here.