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notes from recently.

January 27, 2011

[Note…don’t know what happened to this post? It vanished into the ether. No sign of it. I recovered it by digging into my Google Reader’s saved copy of it, but there were no traces of it on WordPress.]

Time flies. And it is stressing me out a tiny bit this week, because there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It’s technically Thursday now, but I’m pretty sure it was just Monday. Or even last week. Which is when I jotted down most of these notes. What’s going on?

Anyway. Some thoughts from…recent times…

Trendsetter. First of all, let’s talk about how my friend Elizabeth sent me the most amazing thing ever: a hand-knit item we’ve been calling a “necktube.” Probably not its official title. See, it’s basically a nifty circular scarf, but here’s the magical thing about it: when you pull it over your head, it turns into…

AN AWESOME KNIT HIJAB. (Apparently, I thought my solemn face was the best way to show off this miraculous piece of clothing.) If I’d just pulled it over my forehead a bit, I’d look like any proper veiling girl. Just…bulkier. And maybe warmer. How has this not taken off as the next big thing in Arab fashion yet?!

Speaking of Hijabs. Next, an excerpt from a conversation I had last week while visiting some girls. I was eating sunflower seeds while a ten-year-old painted my nails fuschia.

Her: Do you like this color?
Me: Yes, it’s great! (Laughing) I look like Barbie!
Her: No, you’re prettier than Barbie! You’re like Fulla!

I will take that as a huge compliment.

New Home, Again. Both my roommates are now here, which means I am no longer rattling around in an empty apartment and freaking myself out by listening to the creepy tomcat yowls outside (one sounds a LOT like a small child yelling, “Help.” I am not the only one who thinks this). But actually, I enjoyed my few weeks of solitude.

One tale about the new place: the gas bottle for the oven/stove ran out while I was in the middle of cooking something, and I waited two days before replacing it because my landlady was out. And yes, I could’ve hailed a gas truck and taken care of it myself, but 1.) I don’t have the proper tools to install the gas bottle 2.) I would probably blow up the house trying and 3.) One of the reasons I was happy to move in here was because the landlady promised she’d handle all the little things, like calling for gas bottles and taking our bills to the post office. So I waited. It was worth it. No explosions.

A Family. I’ve made multiple visits in the last two weeks to a family that is quickly becoming one of my favorites here. They’re an Iraqi family that’s been waiting for years for resettlement. In some ways they’re more fragile than others I know, but they’re also more straightforward and relaxed and open. Basically, they’re easy to be around. It also probably helps that they’re not much older than me. When Aseel was my age, she was pregnant with her second child, the little monster who perfectly pronounces my name and holds my hand when we’re walking up the street. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around how different our lives are, and yet how close I feel to her when we’re together.

Speaking of Families. I finally got around to visiting the photo studio and having some pictures printed last week, including a nice one of the whole family from my graduation. And people looove seeing it, so I keep it in my purse at all times. One girl has the whole thing memorized and snatched it out of my hands to show her mom: “This is her older brother, Jerm, and this is her little brother, Elian…” [Hahaha.] I think it kind of legitimizes me here, where otherwise people don’t understand why I am not married but also not living with my family.

Another Taxi Tale. Last night, I was heading home from another part of East Amman and went out to the main road to hail a cab. I ended up striking up a conversation with a woman and her young daughter who were standing by the side of the road for the same reason. It was dark and cold, so when a cab finally pulled up, they invited me in with them even though we were going to different places–I could just redirect the driver once they got out. On the way, we talked about my background (duh) and I explained that I was born in America, and was therefore American. The little girl was skeptical: “You are not American, because you speak Arabic. So you are an Arab. If you were American, you would speak English!” Impeccable logic, huh.

The driver, her mom, and I all burst out laughing. “Believe me, I speak English much better than I speak Arabic,” I told her. I mean, I really hope so. Sometimes the only thing that allows me to maintain a shred of dignity around here is the knowledge that I have at least ONE language that I can speak without embarrassing myself.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    January 28, 2011 6:35 pm

    I’m so glad you like your neck tube! (I suppose technically it could be called a cowl…but it’s a neck tube.) I’m in Colorado right now and my sister and I have been wearing our matching ones a lot because they’re such good wind blockers. However, her cats also think it’s some fun toy for them to try to crawl through…I guess it’s just a multi-purpose item!

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