Tuesday, August 21, 2012

21 Aug: The End

The end! Can you believe it?  We leave tomorrow morning.  A driver (NOT Ahmad...another man I met while going to the Turkish Bath) will hopefully pick us up at 3:45am tomorrow morning (ugh).  Our flight leaves at 6:20am.  I dislike arriving early to the airport and much prefer walking onto the plane just as they are about to close the doors...but that plan does not work so well when you have three small children.  And my parents.  They like to be at the airport 2 hrs before any flight.  Who knows, as well, how fast or slow the system will be at the Amman airport.  Better to arrive early.

I am very happy with my last "morning outing" in Amman.  We went to the King Abdullah Mosque--the bright blue one featured in here on my blog.  I had never been inside before, and although the outside is far more stunning than the inside, it was still a pleasant experience.  Finding the main entrance involved some wandering about in search of SOMEONE; no one mans the back or sides, let me tell you that right off.  We did, eventually, find the right gate and the woman who hands out the black robes with hoods necessary for my mother and me to enter. 

Modestly attired, we went into and explored the main room of the mosque.  It is a wide open carpeted space--the girls' first exposure to carpet in three months.  They loved it.  I insisted that they whisper but did let them sashay around the room, which they did with great glee.

Eventually, we made it back outside and down to the gift shop.  The girls began to batter each other almost immediately with the miniature flags of Jordan the shop owner handed them.  After confiscating the flags, I confined each girl to a chair on opposite ends of the gift shop.  This is the second day in a row I've done that--just confining them to a spot in public if they misbehave.  I use time out at home all the time but hardly ever in public.  It backfired on me when I tried it at Mecca Mall (as you may recall); it worked today, however.  Oh, they weren't happy about it, but they did just sit there.  Even when I wandered out of view, they remained sitting in their spots.  I wish they would just behave while in public but if not, it is good to know that I might succeed in putting them in time out even in a public place.

We returned for an enjoyable lunch at our hotel and the girls have been in quiet time for the last 1.5 hrs.  Time to get Yumi up.  Nate came home early so he could spend time with us on this, our last day.  I am all packed--I just finished packing up our in-flight activity bag.  I am nervous about the flight tomorrow but have confidence based on our flight here; it wasn't fun, by any means, but other than the fact that Mayumi threw a huge tantrum in the Amman customs hall, everything else went all right.  The girls did not sleep until the last hour of the 14 hour journey, but they did alright.  This time will be much better--I am sure of it.

Finally--a few thoughts:

Things I will miss (about this summer):
-The chance to study and speak Arabic daily, even if I had less of a chance to learn/speak than I thought I would.
-The girls’ exposure and daily progress in Arabic.  Both Yumi AND Emi can make their needs known in Arabic.  I am blown away, particularly by Emi, as Yumi was already speaking Arabic before we arrived.
-Easy access to shawarma.
-A few people we have met here: Nisreen, Erapie, Mohaned, a few others.
-Being abroad in general, even if we missed certain services only available to us in the U.S. (counseling for Yumi’s behavior, Emi’s pediatrician, etc.).
-Jasmine bushes EVERYWHERE.
-Constant variety.
-Evenings with Nate (once we put the girls to bed, we are “stuck” in our bedroom together.  During the school year, I am studying/preparing joy school lesssons/etc. for half the evening and only spend the second half with him.  Here, we’ve spent long evenings together and I will miss that).

Things I will NOT miss:
-Living in a hotel—everything about it.
-Not having a high chair (why didn’t we buy one??)
-Eating out nearly every day.
-Eating in the hotel every meal for one month when I only have teeny refrigerator and microwave at my disposal.
-Taking taxis everywhere.
-Sandy parks and the lack of parks in general.
-Using laundry services out of the home.
-No place to put a screaming child.
-Whatever it is about this summer—if anything—that has contributed the to excessively bad behavior of my girls.

-The hotel: I will miss the staff and there IS something nice about someone doing the cleaning for you almost daily.
-No kitchen: I am sick of eating out (or eating PB&J each meal during Ramadan), BUT there is something nice about not needing to cook all of the time.
-Afternoon outings: at home, I always find afternoons before dinner to be a conflicting time.  I want to go on outings but a lot of factors discourage it: 1) none of our friends like afternoon outings much 2) traffic is heavier 3) dinner DOES have to be made sometime...  HERE, our afternoon outings have been both painful (it takes at least an hour to get the girls out the door AND everyone is starving or tired when we get home) AND necessary (I just cannot stay inside the hotel room with these girls for more than an hour without going crazy).  Painful as they have been, I have secretly liked the excuse to have multiple outings a day.
-The burning need to be out of the hotel: I have hauled myself and the girls out of the hotel at least two times each day this entire summer because 1) we cannot stay cooped up together for long 2) we often actually NEED something (water, laundry, whatever) and 3) we are here to learn Arabic and MUST get out to be exposed to it.  Thus, in spite of the difficulty, we get out and about.  I will miss that but will be relieved to no longer feel compelled to be out every second of the day. 

There was a point toward the beginning (okay, and in the middle) of this summer when I wondered if I would honestly be able to say I was glad we came.  I pictured myself, back home, unable to face friends as they eagerly asked about our adventures.  I would be constantly fighting back tears due to the fact that I had had, in fact, a terrible summer.

I am happy to say that I AM glad we came.  Some aspects have been bitterly hard.  I do not need to rehash them now.  I am ready for the worse of them to be over with.  It IS time for us to move on from living in a hotel.  If someone were to offer us two choices: 1) continue to stay in Amman but in a hotel or 2) go back to Herndon for the rest of our lives—I’d choose the latter.  At this point.  I am SO done with living in a hotel. But if someone were to offer us the chance to stay here but in a house, I’d happily stay (that is, if I didn’t have a Master’s degree to finish).  I LOVE Amman.  I do NOT love living in a hotel.

So there you have it!  Our summer in Amman.  This has been my personal journal that I chose to share online with whoever cared to read it.  At times, it may have been too personal.  It has often been whining and negative.  Often repetitive.  Thank you to those who have followed along and offered insight.  And even if you have not been in touch but still were reading along, thank you for keeping us all in mind.

Ma’salaama (With peace),



Laura B. said...

Another adventure in the books!! I've LOVED reading along!! Hope the flight home was uneventful. Loves to GloJo and Astroland!! Xoxo

Anna said...

Hi Hilary, I have enjoyed reading your blog this summer! I started late-June after you had been there a couple of weeks, but soon found myself reading back to catch up, and then once I was caught up it quickly became my routine to read your blog while I ate breakfast each morning. I think I enjoyed it for two reasons: first, it brought back fond memories of my time in the middle east; and second, my kids are such similar ages to yours that I could definitely relate to all the parenting challenges and successes. I will miss my daily update of your adventures! Thanks for sharing. Anna Bartoo

Lindsay said...

I love you Hil. Good luck on the flight home, and thanks for keeping us all in the loop. Sure has been quite a ride hasn't it?

Meg said...

Hey cute Hil. I've enjoyed reading snippets of your blog when I could. Well done my friend. Love you!