Our second-to-last day in Amman! We met up briefly with my parents this morning for breakfast--in the hotel restaurant! Yay!--before they left to drop off the rental car. The girls had been difficult from our early wake-up (6:00am-thanks, Aya) so I confined them to two different places in the hotel room and demanded that they sit there quietly. And they did! Of course, I gave them books and blocks but it was a blessed break. Of course, I wish desperately that they would just behave nicely when allowed to play freely together BUT it is reassuring to know that if I need them to stop their caterwauling I can just simply insist that they "take a break" and they will. While they were taking this needed break, I packed up! Crazy, but it is true; I packed up our two large duffles, leaving Nate only most of our clothes (they are all dirty anyway and we won't need them during the three weeks he will remain here) and his own toiletries. We are headed home.
My parents returned from the rental car agency and we left for Rainbow Street--the first time in a month! Thanks to Eid, nearly everything was closed BUT the fatayir place, The Good Book Shop (yay!), and a gelato place. We enjoyed all three. The girls were predictably overwrought and cranky on the taxi ride home but I got them down for naps within minutes of returning.
During naptime I took my mother off on adventure. We hopped a bus down to 'Abdali and to the Salah id-Din bakery to check out the ka'ek sandwich making process. My mother writes a travel column, frequently about food, and wanted to highlight the process. We watched and chatted with the young men who make the 4-5,000 rolls by hand that they sell DAILY. We saw the box of wood shavings in which they place raw whole eggs and bake for 7 hours. We were the first in line to receive today's first offerings of delicious, sesame coved ka'ek straight out of the oven and to make our own ka'ek, cream cheese, baked egg, salt, and za'taar sandwiches. It was fun to interview these guys who run the join and get an inside view of the operation. Fun to act as translator for my mom's 400 questions. All in all, a great little adventure.
This evening: we met up with Nate and Erapie downtown for a last dinner at Hashem's. To be honest, we had wanted to eat at the family restaurant Al Quds for some Jordanian food BUT, of course, it was closed. Eid. Hashem's did not disappoint, even if it was nearly deserted. It was, at least, open, and we enjoyed our last meal of hummus, fuul, and falafel. It was all too much for the girls, I guess, because they were just wrecks at the end. Embarrassing and disappointing me right and left with their behavior. Time to get them home.
And so we did. They were in bed by 7:30pm. Time to hang out with Nate and to contemplate the future. Nate is facing two opportunities: 1) accept a job offer in Doha beginning 2013 or 2) accept a job offer in Bagdad for one year and then begin a series of two-three year posts in the middle east. The first option is strictly a two-three year post and we (his family) may accompany him. The Bagdad post of the latter option is unaccompanied BUT after doing this "dirty job" he will have his pick up back to back posts in the middle east. We prefer to live in the middle east indefinitely rather than for a limited two-three period, but having Nate gone for one year to Bagdad is obviously unpleasant. On top of that, I am conflicted about the whole idea of being an expat government employee family in the middle east. I used to think it was such a great idea but I am less enthused now, and not for what one might think of as "normal" reasons. Do I want to live in the middle east if I cannot live like a local? Do I want to live in a region--and a lifestyle--that is unsustainable? Our entire lives will depend solely on the existence of and access to OIL. Not that we live off the grid back at home, but somehow it feels more sustainable. Do I want to commit to a region that does not have open green space on which my children can run and play?
These are troublesomecg questions considering Nate and I married each other with the expectation of living and raising our children as expats in the middle east. And of course there are many reasons why I DO want to continue along that path. But it is just not as easy of a decision now as it once was. I just keep reminding myself that we have fasted and prayed about this and do not feel BADLY about proceeding forward down the path that will lead to a career in the middle east (i.e. the Bagdad job). I feel lots if anxiety about it but do not feel it is wrong....I think. Ugh! Time to go to bed.