Just Give Me My 2000 Apple Pies, Please!
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.
Wow! For those of you who haven't seen today's Jordan Times, this gal said it all. Let me just say that this woman is brave. Regardless of her religious affiliation (and I have no idea what it is), she publicly stated a very unpopular view. Personally, I find her letter well stated and directly on point. As one of the far minority Christians, the issue she raises is one my biggest problems with Ramadan. Not that most places close, but that they are forced to either close or stop selling food. It makes Ramadan an unpleasant time to try and work. We don't have a full kitchen, so our choice is basically to go home for lunch (using lots of gas and lots of time). And, I don't mind at all that my favorite hummus place closes every Ramadan. Or that the closest restaurant to the office takes every Ramadan off. Even if they could serve food during the day, they wouldn't. But, I do mind that the coffee shop (owned and staffed by Christians from what I can tell) nearby can't serve shakes and sandwiches. That's what causes me to have no options. Very challenging. So, I'm going to second this brave person's thoughts. Maybe next year those who make such decisions will "consider the needs of all Jordanian citizens (as well as foreigners and visitors). Remember that a lot of people are not fasting and while being sensitive to those that are, they choose to eat and drink as normal." Maybe next year places can serve food or not as they choose rather than by regulation. Oh and, maybe those who fast will "behave in a holy and dignified manner during Ramadan" as she suggests rather than exhibiting "bad-tempered and erratic behavior." Thanks, Ms. Tash for putting my feelings into words so very eloquently.
So, I saw an article as a delicious pick on Nas' blog and the title made me think of Tim's post inaccurately portraying rednecks as people who would leave our busted cars on the streets near our homes. I called him to task for it (we have more class than that, we put them on blocks on our own yard next to our indoor furniture that's left outdoors in all weather).
So, this Ramadan has not been a good time for the Bean family's cars. As you all know, I got hit earlier. Well, as I suspected a little "bolish" was not enough to remedy this situation. The guy bent the bumper cracking the paint (and who knows what else underneath). After El 3atal called him, he plead how poor he is (just a poor employee of our fine gas company) and his wife in the hospital and he's fasting and you don't know what that's like (because Christians never fast of course). There's no way he can afford the 100JDs that it will cost to paint the car, can't we do it somewhere cheaper? So, El 3atal says, well simply pay our 25JD deductible and we'll file it on our insurance. A nice gesture, no? And, what happens, the man begins to shout. He rails at El 3atal, indicates that the fact that I stopped in heavy, predictably stop-and-go, traffic MADE him hit me. Then, he threatens to bring his whole family and kill El 3atal. My friends who are Muslim, you should bring this man to task. People like this give Islam a VERY bad name. But, all his Ramadan fasting will come to naught with this type of behavior, so I guess he will get his own reward, no? But honestly, that's the outcome, the end point of this journey. Let me tell you about it's beginning... I'll start with a picture.
Yes, that ugly crack is in the windshield of the BeanMobile. And how, you may ask, did it get there. Well, I was heading to the airport to pick up El 3atal when suddenly a rock flies over a garden wall intentionally slamming into my car windshield. And before you even think it, yes that was some rock alright. It was between the size of a baseball and a softball.
I immediately slammed on the brakes and called Teta Bean (since it occurred near their house and I was certain that my limited Arabic was not up to this situation). As I was looking around to figure out who did it, a stick comes out of the same garden and bounces off a taxi. A little kid pops his head out and ducks back in. A very nice girl (and this is why I do like Jordan) stops to see if she can help and then a man also stops by on his way in the building. The little boy swears he didn't throw the rock, his friend did. Where's his friend? He ran inside to hide.
Well, El 3atal's brother shows up and tries every buzzer on the house to get the owners to come out. They studiously ignore all of them. Then he goes in and pounds on the glass enclosure in front of the door. Finally, they realize he's not going away and the entire family comes out, except the boy who apparently tossed the rock. The dad is indignant that it has nothing to do with him. Berates the child who was playing with his son for talking to us and sends him off with threats of a beating. Then he turns his rage on 3ammoBean. What do you want he shouts? 3ammoBean explains that the man needs to handle this. He demands that we simply file it on our insurance because it has nothing to do with him. His son is inside asleep. You know, here's what really makes me sure this guy's kid did it. He wasn't sorry that someone in his yard threw a stone, he wasn't apologetic that this very frightening experience occurred, he was simply pissed off that we stopped and expected him to step up and take responsibility.
I'll be frank and tell you that I don't let strange children play in my yard. If someone was playing in my yard and did something like this, I would, in fact, take responsibility for it. And I would go to the kids' parents and force them to take responsibility. And do you know why? It's not really about the money. It's about the fact that the child needs to learn this behavior is unacceptable. The child needs discipline. And, this, ladies and gents, is a failing point in behavior in Jordanian society. The undisciplined children are in the majority. They believe there are no rules and any that exist do not apply to them. You wonder why there is no rule of law? Look to the children, my friends. look to the children. If Jordan wants to make a change, become more than it is, advance in whatever way is appropriate for it (which is not to say towards the West), you need to make a stand. Fathers, bring your sons and their friends out to answer for their behavior. Don't pretend it's not an issue, teach them it's wrong. if you can't fgure out which one did it, they can split the cost down the middle between them. Make them do chores to work it off. If they have to work until they're 18, so be it. Make them own their actions...
And for those who in your blinders and ignorance believe that discrimination based on religion is not alive and well here, I ask you to answer one simple question. What possible reason did the police have to ask whether we're Christian or Muslim when we filed our incident report? Anyone? Anyone? Thought not...
Happy social break-down!
Well, today we'll say goodbye to dear 3ammoBean and I wanted to say goodbye here on my blog as well. 3ammoBean was a light in my life from the moment that the most amazing Bean family welcomed me in. He always had nice things to say and every time I greeted him until he could no longer speak, he welcomed me by saying "Hi beautiful." And, you know what? Even when I didn't feel so beautiful, if he said it, it reminded me that I am. In honor of 3ammoBean, please enjoy this amazing song by an amazing singer.
No, this isn't like world peace and lofty ideals.. it's more pragmatic than that. I'm sharing my prayers and encouraging you to do the same. If you add yours as comments, I'll add them to my daily prayer list, I hope you'll do the same.
El 3atal and I were driving down the street the other day and I couldn't help but grab a picture of this... Notice the rear window of the car in front of us. As you can see, the small child is lying on the rear dashboard. Nothing like instant projectiles in case of accident. But, if you have a large family and no money for a car, you could even fit one child in the rear and one in the front (think of all that glorious unused space...)
So, we went to meeting today at the KG introducing parents to the new school year. They did the usual talking about the school's values, what they strive to teach, and their philosophy. They also went through the upgrades and renovations they have made and are making. Finally, after some time going through all of this she opened up the floor for questions. About the third question was one I found pretty telling. But first, let me set the stage for the question. Your choices as a parent at this school are to a) use the bus, b) pick your kids up immediately after class, or c) have them stay in a room with all the other kids whose parents are picking them up late (the Waiting Room).
You know, I'm pretty quick to complain, but I hope I also take the time to offer praise. So, this blog post is about the up-side of Ramadan. I've been thinking about what is nice about Ramadan, since there are a number of things that make the minority out there inconvenienced. So, here's my list:
The Action Committee has started its food drive for Ramadan and your help is needed! The Ramadan food package is going to cost 20JDs and will contain:
The drive is underway and will last for the next week or so, depending on the donations. The Action Committee is targeting the last 10 days of Ramadan for distribution.
So tell a friend, tell a family member, tell the neighbor, tell the people at work, even the weird guy who sits in the corner of the office and who no one talks to; this could be your chance.
For bloggers: Forward this message. Post about it. Spread it. Mobilize! (check!)
You can contact Sara at 079-5154498
Those are the things I like best about Ramadan, what about you? Anything to add to the list?
So my eye was caught by an intersting headline on msn and I found myself checking out an article about people dreaming of Sarah Palin. No, not wistful thinking or longing, actua, night time dreams. Here's the article ->http://www.slate.com/id/2199661/?GT1=38001.
It's always interesting watching the trends in children's names in the US. Each year the lists come out and new names pop up. Some of those names are nice, simple, solid names and some are way-out there. Well, in Jordan, it seems that names must also go through cycles and new names get introduced commonly. (At least boy's names should be cyclical due to the first born named after Jiddo situation.) I was thinking about this today because of the kids and their peers in school. One thing I find interesting in the US is that the top 10 names remain fairly constant for boys and vary widely for girls. Boys' names haven't changed that much since 1900, girls names have changed greatly. Here in Jordan, I don't necessarily have insight into what are "normal" names and what are odd names. But, I do have some insight into common names these days, which I find interesting. So, here are some common names from the rosters of the under 7 set.
Another interesting trend (not limited to the little ones) is naming Western sounding names, but misspelling them in English. For instance:
Generally, I find it interesting seeing what people all over are doing for names. And, while we're on the subject am I the only one who is horrified at the idea that a woman who named her kids Track, Bristol, Piper, Willow, and Trig (this one really gives me the heebie-jeebies causing flashbacks to high school math) might be Vice President? As if the flood of Britneys and Tiffanys wasn't bad enough...
Happy Naming Conventions!
So after complaining yesterday about traffic during Ramadan, today someone bumped into me on the way bringing the beans home from school. Fortunately, it was merely a fender bender. But the guy seemed perplexed that I insisted on getting his name and number and details. The traffic was stop and go and he decided to change lanes because the other one was moving faster. The cars in the lane in front of me stopped. I stopped as well. Unfortunately, the guy behind was paying more attention to the lane next to us than me. As a result he scraped along my back side panel.
Alright, honestly I watched 32 minutes of the 44 minute speech. By that point, I was just SO tired of it. Now, admittedly, my mind was made up LONG before this. There was no way I was going to vote for McCain, so his running mate is immaterial to me. But, I was interested to see how she measures up to the two previous women with a chance to end up/around in the White House (you remember Ferraro and Hilary). And, I am, after all, a woman who is committed to advancing women. So, I watched and saw what I have come to expect from the Republican party.
My home state is in the news today and what a thing to be known for! Yes, that's right, only in Alabama will they chare you for being fat! The State (the largest employer as I recall) has decided to charge people for their free health insurance if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is too high. BMI measures your height to your weight and determines if you are overweight. It doesn't directly measure body fat but it "correlates". Anyone else think this is a little off? After all, we all know that 2 people can weigh the same amount and yet one be husky and the other really thin. Bone size has alot to do with how much you weigh and there's no BMI for small, medium, and large bones... Color me concerned about the precendent this one sets.
I couldn't help but capture a shot of this one. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... Local Beach.
So, given our ties to the Southeaster Louisiana area, I've been watching the Hurricane Gustav news with bated breath. Some of you may remember, we moved here roughly 6 months after Katrina. We had been living in Baton Rouge, a town roughly an hour away from New Orleans. In Baton Rouge, we fared well having only to deal with extended power outages (ours was out only 4 days), astonishing amounts of traffic, overcrowded schools, and constant low-flying helicopters and airplanes accessing the Red Cross staging area next to our house. Baton Rouge is away from the coast and, although it suffers from water challenges (too much, rather the opposite of where we live now), remains fairly consistently unflooded.