Reb Eye Anyone?
This is the on-going tale of a Mom and her adjustment to the changing times of her life. About two and a half years ago, the Bean family moved to Jordan from the US. This blog is about MommaBean's new experiences as a foreigner in a wonderful new land, transition from a working Mom to a stay at home one to an entrepreneur, and various other thoughts as they may occur.
Of all the beans, JoojooBean has the most unusual taste in food. ButterBean has always had very... advanced... taste for her age. She's always loved olives, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. But, JoojooBean's tastes go all the way to the, okay I'll say it, gross. I knew she was a rare bird when, at the ripe old age of 16 months we caught her dipping her pacifier in the hummus to get at it herself. But, lately, she's been taking her food weirdnesses to all new levels. Maybe a year ago, I introduced them to the concept of dip. I would give them ranch dressing like dip on their plates to go with their vegetables. JoojooBean started dipping her fruits in as well and I thought, hmm an unusual taste combination, but not out of the realm of imagination. Then I caught her dipping her kibbe in whipped cream (yes the sweet stuff that goes on pancakes) and thought, Yuck. Well, today she far surpassed both of these previous bizarre dipping combinations. She was sitting with me at lunch having some Honey Nut Cheerios and started dipping them in ketchup. Talk about wanting to hurl. I think we've created a dipping monster. Perhaps we should should charge admission to watch my dipping wonder select odd food combinations. Or, perhaps we'll keep that joy inside the family...
If you dropped by looking for fine poetry, please move along now... there's nothing to see here. But, I did want to just acknowledge what a fabulous day it was today. I took the beans to the park today and it was like a spring day. I only hope the spring is this nice. The kids had a great time soaking up the sun for the first time in months. And, as a double bonus, ButterBean noticed the moon out during the day for the first time ever. At first she was a tad confused asking if it was almost night. I had to explain that sometimes (very special times) you can see both the sun and the moon out at the same time. I remember noticing this mostly in the summer when I was a kid. Funny it likely happens fairly often, but we rarely notice it. At any rate, between the warm sun, gentle breezes, and general warmth, it was a beautiful day in Amman. Praise to God for small wonders and the ability to appreciate simple blessings.
Okay, so last year I talked about seeing unlikely things in Amman vis-a-vis bagpipers. But, today's sight far surpasses that in the surreal category. As I got home and was taking the kids out of the car, I looked over to my gate where I heard voices. A girl (maybe 10 years old) and her maid were out taking a walk with their monkey. Screech! Warning whiplash from spinning double take imminent! On the second look, I discovered that indeed it really WAS a monkey. Now, if this isn't quite surreal enough for you, the monkey was clutching a little yellow rubber ducky. I was stunned and in my stupor watched this unlikely (okay, I admit it unbelievable) trip go on down the block and around the corner. And, in case you're wondering where my trusty camera phone was, it was safely in my pocket until they had gone too far to get them in a shot...
There's something about the Bean family that seems to draw cats. Mind you, we don't have any ourselves. After growing up allergic to a full menagerie of animals, I've vowed to avoid pets until ButterBean is old enough to truly insist. So, we don't have any pets. In fact, other than people we have nothing living in our house. I'm hopeless with plants and won't do animals. So, our attractiveness to cats in all the more unusual. For those of you who may not know, catnip is like chocolate for cats. They love the stuff and cat lovers will fill toys and the like with it to please their cats. So how, you may be asking, is our family like catnip?
Carnegie Mellon University recently published a study that found that American men have a 77% higher risk of dying in a car accident than American women. Ha! Take that! I've known for many, many years that the old American stereotype that women are bad drivers is untrue. Now, partially that's because I know I drive more cautiously than pretty much every guy I've ever been in a car with. It's also partially because when guys start shouting at those stupid women drivers it's because the women are in the way of them doing something illegal or dangerous. So, for many years I've been offended by the bad-woman-driver jokes and comments... then I moved to Amman.
As I was driving along today, I realized a very disturbing thing. I was watching the guy in front of me wandering along the middle of the lane with the line immediately under the center of his car to avoid a guy walking on the side of the road. Suddenly I realized that I was in exactly the same position. It's not an unusual one, by any stretch of the imagination, but the thing that struck me about it is that I had not checked my mirrors before moving over to the middle. I just drifted in the same way as the guy in front of me (and every other person). How scary is that! Oh, and although I never did in the US, I spend alot of time talking to (read that shouting at) other drivers. ButterBean constantly reminds me, "Mommy, it isn't nice to call him an idiot." From the mouths of babes comes the wisdom of ages. And so, perhaps I should have a prayer session before I start the car each time, Lord give me the patience to graciously accept crazy driving and the silence to hush about it already...
Now, given the person at my company who used this meant Continuous Service, but... Combined with El 3atal's post, maybe Contentious Service is more apt? When I tried to point out the error, I found that most people don't seem to know what the word means. So, for those who may not be familiar with this term:
In direct contrast to the open 25 hours people, I've discovered that there is a restaurant that is open 1 hour. I was driving between the first and second circles when I saw a banner for a Chinese Restaurant (no not Abu-Khalil's, which is my favorite). It indicated that they were pleased to announce that they were open open from 11 am - 12 pm. Granted 12 pm seems like it SHOULD be at night, but it is, in point of fact, noon. So, this fine establishment is open from 11 to noon... one whole hour. In the US, most restaurants and shops avoid this by saying they are open from 11am to midnight or noon to 11 pm. Saves the confusion on everyone's part since the am/pm with the 12 is counterintuitive. Of course, I'm certain that the restaurant means from 11 to midnight since I ate there at 7pm one day. I wasn't excited about the food, having already established my favorite dishes at Restaurant China, but the atmosphere was quite nice and the food was good. Now, I think I'll go ahead and drop in my Top 5 (okay, I haven't eaten at a whole world of restaurants, but still...)
While I was at Kinzi's house today letting Little Kinzi and Butterbean play, I was mentioned my participation in some on-line parenting Boards. One of the stories of a child four days younger than Butterbean touched me deeply and it occurred to me that it might help some people here. As many of you are likely aware, in the US, we are somewhat fanatical about the use of car seats. Car seat laws are in place in all of the states to varying ages. I know that Arab parents here who have their children in car seats often get funny looks, comments, and what not. In the spirit of public education, I though I'd share this video with everyone here who'd care to watch. This is a video made in memory of Butterbean's contemporary. He was killed when his belt-positioning booster seat (not as sturdy as a standard car seat) came free and he was ejected from their family minivan in a crash. This video has been extremely widely viewed in the US and Canada (over 1.5 million views so far). The link is here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azgBhZfcqaQ. My hope is that seeing what can happen to your children without the protection of a car seat and 5 point harness may help illustrate to readers here why we crazy Americans go nuts over this. As one of my on-line friends says, it's not about laws, it's about lives.
For those of you hoping for the excitement of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, head on to someone else's blog. This is a post about secret (and potentially embarrassing but not illegal) confessions. I have a problem. I'm not really sure I should share it with you. I suppose, though, since I gave the post this title, I'm locked in now. I... love... teenage feel-good movies. There, I've said it. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, let me illustrate it for you. When I was young my favorite movies all seemed to be Molly Ringwold movies. You know, Pretty in Pink, 16 candles. None of that teenage cool-kid angst of The Breakfast Club (I loved the movie, don't get me wrong, but it didn't mean as much to me) for me. I wanted the geeky girl gets super-cool, super-hot guy movies. I identified with Sam and her off-beat best friend Ducky in Pretty in Pink. I was always out of step with the small town world of the Southern US. I dressed in black and white zebra striped hose, I wore un-cool hats, I was just plain out there. And, I craved the romance and the love overcomes all. You would think I'd have outgrown this by now. I'm no longer super-cool but out of step. I now wear Mom Jeans. I now have a mother-of-three-including-twins figure. Basically, I'm just not that girl from a lower middle class family who wants to get the super hot football star. Or am I?
Okay, I recognize that the title line of the post may require some explanation. It's an American Sesame Street reference and with your loveable, unique, and altogether fun version here, you missed out on this character. I'm putting a link to Mr. Snuffleupagus' (aka Snuffy) Wikipedia Page here -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysius_Snuffleupagus. Basically, when I was a child, Snuffy was Big Bird's best friend. The only problem was that no one else besides Big Bird and the audience ever saw him. There were many near misses (Snuffy ran in a marathon with the other charachters, but finished so far behind everyone else that they all missed him once again). And, the adults never actually believed that Snuffy was real. They thought he was Big Bird's imaginary friend. So what, you may ask, does that have to do with El 3atal?
It is nearly impossible for anyone living in Jordan to have missed the fact that Carrefour recently opened it's first location here. The hype in advance was huge. And, much of it was viral marketing from those who had visited locations in other cities. Having recently visited one in Dubai, I was very optimistic. As a result, I forced El 3atal to go with me to do our weekly shopping last week. Their ads talked about selection and good prices, so I thought I'd put them to the test. This is especially important to me as our grocery costs doubled when we moved to Jordan (and I have to go to three stores). I have to admit our initial impression did not change for the better upon greater exposure. We pulled in to the parking garage (under the building) amongst the debris and hanging power lines of an active construction site. Not what I think of when I think of world-class openings. We noticed as we walked toward the doors that the carts were all in one location in the middle. El 3atal asked the attendant if there were carts inside as well. Seemingly not. We then discovered that you are, in effect, putting a deposit on the cart. You have to place a ten piaster coin in a slot to take the cart. If you return the cart to the corral (again one for the entire side of the garage), you get your ten piasters back. Well, I can see that this might eliminate paying someone to go out and collect carts. Oh, wait, but they're still paying that same guy to stand around and give change to those who don't have the change on them. Who knows what one would do if they didn't carry cash...
Last night, El 3atal and I had a wonderful evening ringing in the new year with hundreds of people we didn't know. The night was full of interesting occurrences and bizarre sights. We went to Le Royale to see Raghab (and Yara I suppose). The ballroom was very nice, but was a totally different layout than what we expected and had been promised. We bought the cheap seats, which we were told were in the balcony. They weren't. They were, rather, on the side floor in the back. Neither of us was inclined to make it an issue and it turned out that the seats were generally fine. They told us that they would start serving dinner at 10:30 and so we headed over at about 10. We finally were served the main course at midnight... Talk about late. The food was marginal in general, certainly not what I was expecting and hoping for. However, certainly the interesting things were the people.