Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. I am not quite sure how I feel about it. I cannot believe that I am old enough to be the age I am now. I still think of myself as a twenty something. I watch my children get older, but I feel like time should stand still for me. Regardless, this birthday has been not like any other. I am soooooo far from home, and I feel more so today. My only plans for the day will be to call Mama, Raed, Elizabeth, and if my phone is still working I will call my sisters.

Mama, I am sure missing your chocolate cake and your birthday messages! I love you very much.

Happy Birthday to me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jordan Rocks!

For my birthday, my sis in law took me to the theatrical production of Jordan Rocks! last night. It was very good. The preforming arts are relatively new to Jordan, so seeing how well done this musical was done was an added bonus. I heard about the musical from Ola, my sis in law's friend. She was in charge of the stage design. She did a wonderful job!

Jordan Rocks! was set in Petra and was the typical love story. Even though my Arabic is poor, I still was able to enjoy the show.

Even though the kids were kept out late on a school night, it was soooooo worth it! I am so happy I was able to see the show!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Going Stir Crazy!

Today is day 6 of Operation Ashour Sick House and I am going a little insane. Due to being tied to the house all day for 6 days I am about to break free. Do you need proof? I spent most of today listening to the soundtrack of Mama Mia! and dancing around my kitchen til I was out of breath. I really need Calgon to take me away! Hopefully, tomorrow Adam will be able to go back to school. Cross your fingers!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Will Stick With My Own Cleaners!

For four years I have replaced my household cleaners from the toxic chemicals to more natural cleaners that I have purchased or made myself. No longer have I needed to wear a face mask or gloves to clean the bathroom or any other surface in my home. Even though it is difficult to find non-toxic cleaners here in Jordan, I am thankful that I brought some Basic H2 with me from home.

Why am I talking about this? Well, I am basically considered a freak of nature here. My in-laws LOVE their toxic cleaners. Let me give you an example of what they do that wigs me out! They add Clorox Bleach to their dishwater and wash their dishes in a mix of the dish soap and bleach. I asked why they did this and was told that it gets the meat smell out of the dishes. Huh? Okay? I always have to wear my rubber gloves when I help clean their dirty dishes. Yesterday, unfortunately, I had to stop helping in the middle of dish duty. My sis-in-law sprayed a massive amount of OVEN CLEANER on the dirty frying pan right in front of me. I breathed in a small amount and my lungs were on fire! My eyes immediately began to water, and I began to cough. I was literally running for the door.

From now on I will have to hold my breath when I help out with kitchen cleanup.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2 Sick Children

Another child has fallen ill! I am now 2 for 3. I was up all night last night with Layla vomiting. So far, she has no fever, but I believe that it is only a matter of time before her temperature rises. Please send your prayers my way!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sick child

It finally happened. One of the kids is sick enough to miss school today. Actually the doctor said that he cannot go back to school for 3 days, to make sure he is not contagious. Did I mention that this is exam week at school. Yeah, what timing!

I am just so thankful that the kids are healthy this time in Jordan. When we were here for the summer 3 years ago, they were sick every other week. Praise God. I really believe that the better quality vitamins I give them everyday is soooo worth the extra cost. When my husband comes to visit in 2 months, he will bring me at least a 6 month supply. Hint, Hint.

On another note, my daughter is running me ragged. The other day she made a mess with my eyeliner. Today, guess what mischief she was up to? You will never guess. Yes, my darling, sweet angel poured the entire bottle of pancake syrup on the bedroom rug. What a mess! She always waits patiently for my attention to be elsewhere (sick boy) before she makes her move. Her punishment was a long shower with multiple hair washings. I do not think she will put anything in her hair in the near future. Grrrr.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Olive Oil

When I needed olive oil in America, I would ask my husband to buy some from Sam's Club. I found out that the Ashours' obtain olive oil by a different means. Yes, you could buy olive oil in a store in Jordan, but where is the fun in that! I found out today that the olive trees planted in front of our house are not just for decoration. We actually collect all the olives and send them to be pressed into olive oil for us.

To collect the olives, first you beat the tree with a stick to shake the olives off the branches. Then you pick up each of the fallen olives and put them in a bucket or bag.

Today, Cido was the tree beater and Teta and I picked up the fallen olives. There is nothing quite like olives raining down on your head! But I knew that if I was given the stick, I would have beat the tree to a pulp.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Farmers Market

I love Farmers Markets. I love the whole idea behind them. When I was in America, I visited my local Farmers Market every week. I was able to purchase produce cheaper and be kind to the environment all at the same time. Win, win.

Yesterday, my sister in law took me to the equivalent of a Farmer's Market here in Amman. I was in heaven. The fruits and vegetables looked so fresh and tasty. I now have a refrigerator full of fresh fruits and vegetables for the equivalent of $12. If I bought that much produce from Walmart in America, it would cost me about $150!

I have blogged on MAHMAmissy about the issue of the expense of vegetables in America. If the American government subsidized the production of vegetables like Jordan does, maybe there would be less unhealthy people in America. Just a thought.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lazy Morning

Oh the horrors! Instead of taking advantage of the late sleeping of my darling daughter, I have been reading the Southern Muslimah blog. I have enjoyed it very much. Okay, I need to get off my rear and clean my house. Why does it always look like a tornado ripped though my house after sending the boys to the bus stop? How can there be such a mess after we have only been awake for 45 minutes? But then again, I bought some new movies last night..........

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I need more courage!

I love to get a copy of the Jordan Times when I shop at the Sultan, which is the Jordan equivalent to a Sam's Club in America. Reading the news online is just not the same as having the actual paper in your hands. There is nothing better than sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee, while leisurely reading about the days events. I just wish the kids would give me 5 minutes of quiet time so that I can really enjoy it!

Anyway, the book launch at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts caught my attention. I really would have liked to have gone today. The book being launched was a childrens book about Jordan. I thought the kids would have liked the event. So, how do you say the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts? I have no idea, and I did not have enough courage to try to communicate with a taxi driver. Even though I looked up the website for a physical address, I still did not have the courage to load up the kids and try to find a place I have never even seen on the street!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Neighborhood Shopping

The other day I decided to venture out into my new neighborhood to explore the shops. Layla and I left the house at 9am and walked down the street to the business section of our suburb. I could not believe what I saw! 95% of the stores were not open yet! We are definitely not in America anymore! Layla and I walked about a half mile before we turned around to go home. As we were walking home, stores were beginning to open.

I stopped in at a phone store to see if I could purchase international phone cards. I did it! I managed to ask for what I needed and the clerk understood my jumbled Arabic enough to sell me what I needed. Even though I was sucessful, I ended up purchasing 5 cards so that I would not have to go back for a while.

Raed said that he was sending a Vonage phone for me with a friend of his that is traveling to Jordan. Hopefully, I will have it in 2 weeks! No more phone cards!

Mastering the Taxi

I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where your rarely see a taxi on the street. If you do happen to see one, you immediately assume the person just arrived from the airport, or the person was too drunk to drive his own car home. This is not the case in Amman. Here in Amman, there are taxies everywhere, much like New York City. Since I do not have my own car or a Jordanian license yet, I need to learn how to manage travel by taxi. You see, if I was in New York instead of Amman, there would be no language barrier. I would be able to know without a doubt that my directions were understood.

But so far so good. I have managed to go to the mall and to the hospital (sister in law had her appendix removed) and back home again with no problems. I guess the drivers know just enough English and I know just enough Arabic to get where I need to go with ease. Everytime I hail a taxi, I get more and more confident. Yeah, me!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Friends

Yesterday was a great beginning for the kids and I making new friends here in Amman. Rami's classmate, Yassin, has a beautiful family. His mother was very nice, and her English is very good! Hurray for me! They lived in the States for eight years, so her accent was easy to understand. We are about the same age and our children are close in age as well. It seems like a perfect fit.

We met at the fun center at the mall, then we had lunch in the food court. The kids had a great time.

Yesterday was also my first time going somewhere alone by taxi. It went so well. I am sure that the drivers were laughing about my accent, but who cares! I made it to the mall and back home with no difficulties. I felt on top of the world!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Link to Jordanblogs

Link to Jordanblogs: "Jordan Blogs"

Link to Jordanblogs

Link to Jordanblogs: "Jordan Blogs"

Things start moving

Rami is very excited about this weekend! We made plans to have a fun filled afternoon with one of his new classmates. I will meet his mother, and if all goes well, this will be the beginning of a friendship outside of family ties. We will be adding another step to building a life here in Amman.

It was a very chilly night last night. As a result, Adam woke up vomiting, because he was too cold. He is okay now, but I definitely need to pull down the heavy blankets to use everynight. The weather is changing. Summer has left, and the fall air has moved in its place. It is almost time to sort throught the winter clothes.

Layla fell on the stairs today. I will now live 3 years less than originally planned. Yes, she was hurt. Not bad enough to go to the hospital for stitches, but bad enough to scare the daylights out of her mother. Her clothes were covered in blood. It is true that a head wound bleeds more than other wounds. I now know firsthand. It has now been decided that Layla is no longer allowed to navigate the stairs by herself.

So, between a vomiting child and a bleeding child, this morning was crazy. I am glad that I got a chance to clean the refrigerator in the meantime. (This written in a very sarcastic tone)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How do I feel?

We just dropped Raed off at the airport. He is returning to America. I feel ______________. You can pick just about any word out of the dictionary and fill in the blank. Ana bHibbak iktiir.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My own place

I am now settled into my own little space. The kids and I have moved from one bedroom to a one bedroom house/apartment. Having our own space, no matter how small, has made a huge difference. I can clean when I want, cook when I want, sleep when I want, without feeling like someone expects me to do something else.

Right now, as I write this, I am listening online to the LSU football game against Mississippi State. Makes me feel a little closer to home, to hear how my home team is playing. I am so glad I subscribed to the online service. I think Rami is glad too. He has missed watching the games. Thank goodness it is an early game, because it is 7 pm here. Rami can listen to a little before he has to go to bed, school is tomorrow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Coffee Shop in Amman

Last night I had a fun night. Sana invited me to a birthday gathering for her friend at a coffee shop in Jabal Amman, the oldest part of the city and now a hip part of town. It reminds me of a college town in America, where the young people like to hang out. Anyway, the coffee shop was inside a revamped old, old, old building. Actually it was on the rooftop of the building. The view of the lights of the city was amazing. You could see about four hilltops from the roof of the coffee shop.

I met five of Sana's young friends. They all had just graduated college about a year ago. They were very nice, and all spoke adequate English. Enough English that I could acturally have an adult conversation. I have not had that experience in about 4 weeks! My only complaint was that I felt my age. I was a good 10 years older than all of them. Yikes!

I had a great time, and I hope I can do it again soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Joys of Walking

Just when I thought I was about to go house crazy, I realized that maybe regular walking would brighten my mood. So, for the last couple of days, I have been walking for about 30 minutes everyday. I was right. My mood is so much better! Amman is beautiful. With its hilly terrain, it is also quite a workout to walk down the street.

Ramadan will be over in about 9 days! Yeah!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Little Girls make Big Messes

Who would have thought that one little girl could make such a mess with nail polish? Layla's cousins came to the house last night and brought with them a small makeup bag that included nail polish inside. Layla was mesmerized by the girls applying polish to their nails. They were even nice enough to include her by painting some of her nails. But apparantly she was not satisfied. She waited til dinner cleanup to make her move. She swiped the polish and quietly went to our room.

After a few minutes, I realized that Layla was quiet. Too quiet. I asked Raed if he knew where she was. I had a feeling of dread. The feeling you have when you KNOW that your child is quiet because she is up to no good.

I found her on our bedroom floor covered in nail polish. She tried to paint her toenails, but instead painted her entire foot. She tried to paint her fingernails and painted her entire hand instead. She was a mess! Needless to say, we used almost an entire bottle of remover trying to clean this naughty, little girl.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Ramadan is the month in the Muslim calendar that all Muslims fast from sunset to sundown. They are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, or have sexual relations from morning to dusk. This year, Ramadan began around August 22, and will end approximately September 21. So, that means that we are at the half way point today. THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I tried fasting the first day. I made it the whole day without eating or drinking. Barely. I was soooooooo thirsty. I would have killed someone for a glass of water, if I could have. All day long, I was in a foul mood. I barked at everyone who dared to look my way. It came as no surprise when Raed strongly suggested that I not continue to fast for the rest of the month.

I have been watching the family for the last 2 weeks, paying close attention to how they cope with fasting. They make it seem like it is no big deal. I felt like dying, but they float right on through it. Grrrrr. Raed says that it is part of their way of life, and they are just used to it. Maybe that is true. Blessings on them all.

During the month of Ramadan, schools and business have shorter working hours during the day to accomidate the fasting multitude. No restuarant or supermarket is open during the day. It was quite eirie to walk through the mall and the food court be completely shut down at lunch time. It took some time to get used to packing the kids a lunch when we go places, because if not, they were out of luck. You cannot just drop by a convenience store and buy some chips and water. Everything that sells food is CLOSED until 7pm.

Raed and I are used going out and about during the day. These new working hours for businesses are keeping us home all day every day. We are sooooo bored. Thank goodness, only 2 more weeks to go!

Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School cont.

Raed told me that maybe ladies were not allowed in the boys assembly area. Well, duh! You think! Anyway, I met Adam's teacher and she was a young, petite woman that was soft spoken and seemed very nice. I know that Adam will adjust to her very well. For the first time, he looked excited about school. He even said we could go. I worried about him for nothing it seems.

Once we left Adam's classroom, Raed and I wanted to see Rami settled in his classroom. Rami was still at the assembly area when we met up with him. He was standing in his grade line with a terrified look in his eyes. Raed went up to him to reassure him. Rami seemed so relieved to see us. Raed and I followed Rami to his classroom and met his teacher, Ms. Aminie. Raed and I left the school feeling confident that the boys would settle in nicely.

Later on, I anxiously waited for the bus to return the boys home. Around 3:15, the bus finally arrived. Adam was excited to tell all about his day, but Rami looked like he was about to cry. Rami, it seems, did not want to call attention to himself and make it clear to his teachers that he did not know any Arabic, and so the teachers assumed that the entire class spoke Arabic. Needless to say, he was very upset because they spoke no English the entire day. I assured him that if he does not understand, he needs to raise his hand and ask for the teacher to translate. Raed actually went to the school today to talk to the principal to make sure all was okay.

First Day of School

Yesterday was Rami and Adam's first day of school. We were all a little nervous about beginning school in a new country. But things turned out fine.

Raed and I chose to enroll the boys in the International Independent Schools. This school was the first one we toured from our list of possible schools. We did not even research their website prior to the visit ( Once we toured the school and studied the fees, we were excited to enroll the boys in a school with many amenities at a fair tuition price.

Yesterday morning, Muhammed (Raed's brother) drove Raed, Rami, Adam and I to school. Raed walked Adam to his classroom, and I walked Rami to the boys assembly area. I asked a teacher where Rami should stand and the teacher curtly said, "here. Goodbye." I was shocked at his tone. I quickly said goodbye to Rami and and left to join Raed at Adam's classroom.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Baby Birthday Celebration

Now, where was I. The ladies put the baby in a beautiful bassinet-like basket and held him up overhead as they danced. Candles were passed around for all to hold. All outside lights were turned off and all the candles were lit. My first thought was, "Oh my goodness! Children and lit candles. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen." I made sure Rami and Adam were by my side the entire time their candles were lit. One of the older ladies began to ring a bell and started to sing the traditional song for the occasion. Of course it was in Arabic, so I have no idea what the song was about. I would like to think that it was blessings for the baby.

After the traditional song, the dance music was turned back on and the dancing continued, with the lit candles. It did not take long......Mya, my niece, was burned on the forhead. Not bad, but enough that my sister-in-law, Sana, immediately ordered that all the candles be blown out.

We danced a little before it was time to pass out the refreshements, Pepsi and the best variety of cakes I have ever tasted. There was cheesecake with blueberry topping, carrot cake, chocolate cake, fruit cake, etc. And around midnight, the music was turned off so that we could relax and talk under the canopy of grape leaves outside in the courtyard. Raed told me that the last of the people left at 4 am. Sorry, I still cannot hack it. I had to go to bed at 1:30 am.
Last night we celebrated the birth of my new nephew. He was born the day we arrived here, August 17. Raina, his mother, is Raed's sister. His name is Ki'an. That is the best that I can spell it based on how it sounds. He is adorable and sweet.

The party was a ladies and children party only. Without the men, the ladies are free to dress and style their hair as they please. My 3 sister-in-laws spent the afternoon before the party at the salon getting their hair styled and their makeup applied. I opted not to go. I do not quite trust my arabic to make my wishes about my hair and makeup known. I did not want to end up with too much makeup or too much fro hair!

People began arriving for the party about 10:30pm. I am sooo not used to how late people visit each other here. Of course by then, Layla was quite cranky. I had to dance with her on my hip for about thirty minutes until she fell asleep. Once she was tucked away in her room, I was able to enjoy the music and the party more.

I will continue the story later. Layla will not leave me alone long enough to finish right now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26 - To New Beginnings

My family and I are on a great adventure. Can we leave the comforts of Denham Springs, Louisiana, what we have known our whole lives, and live half a world away? Thrive in a place where the language and culture are so foreign to the American way of life? Who knows, but we are sure going to try our best.

On the morning of August 17, 2009, my husband, Raed, and I with our 3 children, Rami (*spelling changes in Jordan), Adam, and Layla, boarded a plane in New Orleans, Louisiana enroute to Chicago. After a long 7 hour layover in Chicago, we began the extremely long 12 hour flight to Jordan on a Royal Jordanian flight. Try to imagine a 12 hour flight with 3 small children. It WAS that bad. I was so happy when we finally landed.

It was late afternoon in Jordan when we arrived, but to us it was morning. Jordan time is 8 hours ahead of Louisiana time. Unfortunately, one of the bags did not make the trip to Jordan with us, and of course it was MY clothes that were in the lost suitcase. (It was returned to me 3 days later).