Okay, so the following is a list of updates on how we’re doing here. Overall, things are good. We’ve adjusted fully to the time-change and we’re more or less on a regular sleep schedule. I’m still not used to the heat though. Every time I go outside I freak out a little, as though I didn’t see it coming. “Jesus, it’s hot! What the…god, it’s so hot!”
Actually, the weather has cooled a bit over the past few days. It’s now 120 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than 160. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but I could still probably fry an egg on the pavement outside. It just might take a little longer than it did a few days ago.
By the way, I hope you all enjoyed Bret’s guest post from last week. I found it quite thought-provoking and I’ve asked him to elaborate on his topic, so look for more from Professor Scott. That’s what his students call him. Professor Scott. Adorable.
Okay, onto the updates:
1) Another jar of Nutella bites the dust. Okay, two jars. All right, three. Nutella (a.k.a. Satan) is banned from our household for a long time. At least until October.
2) Abby is full-on walking now. She toddles around our apartment and outside on the lawn. She can get on and off the couch by herself and if you ask her what her name is, she’ll tell you, “Abby.” It’s awesome and we try not to pimp her into saying it more than a couple times a day.
3) It’s nearing the end of Ramadan here in Arab country, and that can only mean one thing. That’s right, party people: Eid al ftr! For all of you non-muslims, no I did not misspell that. Eid (rhymes with “seed”) is basically a big, weeklong party celebrating the end of Ramadan. It’s a well-earned celebration, if you ask me. Fasting for a month is no easy feat. I mean, sure you can eat and drink after sundown, but if the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 7:45 p.m., that’s almost 14 hours with no food or beverage.
I wonder if people lose a lot of weight during Ramadan. Probably not. They probably stuff themselves come sundown. I know I would. Screw that. I wouldn’t even make it to sundown. I have to eat every two hours or I shrivel up and die.
Anyway, so Eid (remember: rhymes with “tweed”) is a huge deal here as far as holidays go. It’s the equivalent of Christmas in the States. Families get together and sit around and eat and talk and eat and drink coffee. And eat. Children receive presents from relatives but they don’t get giant stockings filled with useless junk and candy canes. Nor does the family decorate a dead tree with glass balls and popcorn strings. And instead of eating a glazed pig or a turkey with bread crumbs stuffed up its butt, they prepare a dish called Mansaaf, which is lamb simmered in a yogurt sauce. I know, weird, right?
Apparently, every single hotel room in Aqaba (that’s 2,500 rooms total, mind you) books up with revelers during Eid (rhymes with “creed”). People even camp on the beach in little pup tents. All the restaurants here get really busy and people crowd the streets smoking and drinking non-alcoholic drinks. It’s like New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but with no booze and nobody flashes their tits for plastic beads. I know. Bummer. Why no booze, you ask? Well, alcohol is forbidden in the Islamic religion. There is alcohol in Jordan. It’s not illegal to drink here and plenty of people do. It’s just frowned upon by uber religious types. Same with eating pork. It’s available here (although not as widely as alcohol) but it’s not commonly eaten. They’ll smoke cigarettes around children and babies though. Apparently, it’s not frowned upon to give your kids a jump start on lung cancer.
As a result of this impending Eid (rhymes with “bead”) holiday, daily life in Aqaba has been a smidge nuttier than usual. For example, Bret and I went to Safeway yesterday and it was like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the U.S. Grandmas were throwing punches over the last head of cabbage, there were shopping cart traffic jams and all-out brawls over parking spaces. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but only a little. Point is, things are revving up here and I’m not happy about it. Apparently, Tala Bay turns into a giant Euro-trash party during Eid (rhymes with “peed”). Tourists (mostly Germans and Russians) basically take over our quiet resort to stoke their tans and blast their horrible taste in music.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
4) I’m still working on my post about Eilat. It’s turning out to be a little bit epic, so it’s taken me longer than I thought to write it. Also, I’ve divided it into two posts so I’ll post the first part in the next day or so. I know you’re super anxious to read it. I’m super anxious to finish it.
5) I’ve made a friend here! She’s an expat from England (we’ll call her Dee, although that’s not her real name) and she has a 2-year-old son. Abby and I have hung out with them twice now. In fact, her son kissed Abby on the cheek the other day and Abby burst out laughing (in a joyous, not scornful way). It was incredibly cute. My daughter just had her first kiss. And she’s only 1.
It’s been nice to connect with another mom here, especially a native English-speaker. I like it in Aqaba. Our apartment is starting to feel like home. I’ve been able to find most of the foods I like, even if I do have to go to 16 different stores to get them. But it’s the people back home I miss the most. My friends and fellow moms. It’s important for women to spend time with other women, laughing, bonding, sharing tips on child-rearing, and of course, having pillow fights in our underwear. I’m glad to have met Dee and her lovely little boy. We’ll be spending more time with them soon.
So, there you have it. I hope you feel enlightened. I’m going to go work on that Eilat post now.