Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Hooray Before School Starts

I am sorry to be MIA the last couple of weeks.  We had the Eid Holiday, I had a sinus infection that lasted a week and a half, and school starts on Sunday.  To say it has been a little crazy around here is an understatement.

Yesterday, we went to the park to celebrate my niece, Myrna's, birthday.  Yes, she is our Hurricane Katrina baby.  She was born in Baton Rouge during the hurricane, so we will never forget her birthday.  (As a side note, I was constantly on my computer reading updates on Hurricane Issac.  I am so thankful all my family and friends are alright.  Praise the Lord!)

Gorgeous cake!

It is not a party until you dance on the table!

Waiting to sing and eat cake!

Rami is a goof!

My son is sooooo handsome!

Homemade candle lanterns.  You fill the bag about a third of the way with sand or dirt and insert a candle in the middle.  Light the wick and watch it burn.  Be sure to tell all the children that if they get up from their seat, they will be fed to the dogs.  (or just scare the crap out of them so they will stay in their seat.  We do not want to start a forest fire at our wonderful park!)

Happy Birthday to Myrna!

Fun times!

PS. I recently had my hair cut.  I will never have long hair again.  What do you think?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Palestine Part 2

To finish our day in Jerusalem, we walked all through the Old City and did some shopping.

 I was so excited to find the perfect bed cover for Layla's room.

We were all pretty pooped from all the walking when we returned to Ray's sister's house.  I have to give a big shout out to Layla for making it through our day.  She was such a trooper!

The next morning, we were woken up early to catch a ride to Netanya, Israel, to see the beach.  I was soooo excited to see the Mediterranean Sea.  Even though I originally thought I would see it from Europe.  At this point, I will see it any way I can.  And it did not disappoint.  The family and I had a blast!

 By the time the week was through, we were ready to go home.  Thank you Khalida for a wonderful week in your home.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Our Day in Jerusalem Part 1

During our family vacation to Palestine, we spent one day in Jerusalem.  Getting into Jerusalem from Palestine territory is not easy, even when you are an American citizen.  At first, we were in line to cross the border into Jerusalem on foot.  I hate this.  I feel like cattle being herded into the gates.  I overheard Raed haggling to get a shuttle ride through the border, which he initially declined because of price gouging.  I asked him what the man wanted him to pay.  Approximately 30 dinars for the six of us, and he would take us directly to the old City.  What!  No Cattle-like herding with 4 kids and no bus ride!   I told Ray, call him back.  Thirty dinar is sooooooooo worth it!  Honestly, I would have paid up to 100 dinars, because I hate the border so much.

First, we wanted to see the Main Mosque in the Old City.  The Al-Quds, I think.

This time I was prepared with my burka and hijab in tow.  (My last trip to this mosque, I was dressed American and the guards gave us trouble letting me in.  My husband had to recite the fatiha to prove he was Muslim, and I had to borrow appropriate clothing.)  The girls and I changed in the restroom and we walked straight past the guards without stopping.  The girls looked beautiful in their new traditional Palestinian dress.

Next, the kids were hungry, so we stopped into a cafe that was established in the 1920's.  We ordered kebabs for the adults and cheese pizza for the kids.

Our last stop in the Old City was the Holy Sepulcher Church.  I overheard a tour guide say this was was considered the holiest place on Earth.  Outside of this church is where Jesus was stripped of his garment before he was nailed to the cross.

Once inside the church to the right marks the site where Jesus was nailed to the cross.  The ceiling of the room has a mosaic depicting the event.

In the center of the initial room was an altar dedicated to Mary.  This area commemorates Jesus being taken down from the cross and his mother who took the body into her arms.  Many people were touching and kissing and blessing items on this altar.

As we walked through the church, we came to the Tomb of Jesus.  The tomb is covered with a marble slab, and there are 43 lamps that burn day and night in the burial chamber.  Not all Christians accept the identification of the tomb inside this church.

We took some pictures by the beautiful ceiling in the church.

Mya and Layla

and Adam.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mission Weight Gain a Little Too Much Fun

One year ago after teaching a year of KG2 then Grade 4, I was too thin.  I had lost approximately 20 pounds over the course of the year, because of stress and other factors.  This is a photo that was taken with one of my 4th Grade students.

Wow!  Look at my face!  I look like I am in my forties!  Yikes!

Last year began my weight gain journey to return to a healthier weight.  I was no longer working, so I had plenty of time to have fun gaining weight.  I think I had a little too much fun.  I only wanted to gain at the most 15 pounds, but as you can see by the picture below,  I think I gained more.

Wow!  A wake-up call and a demand to my husband not to bring us anymore suitcases of chocolate and candy when he comes for visits!

ARG!!!  I have a wedding to go to in 3 weeks, and I must look spectacular.  Ray is going to buy me an expensive dress, and I have to rock it!  So, now begins Operation:  Lose 10 Pounds.  With Ramadan ending this week, it will be easier to eat on a regular schedule and eat healthier.  I have also decided to resume Yoga for Beauty by Rainbeau Mars, the Dawn and Dusk DVD (Dawn in the morning, and Dusk in the evening).  I need to start walking, but I hate to walk in my neighborhood (I hate the young men that google me as I walk.  Very uncomfortable) and I have no car to drive to the park (Car in shop to fix the trunk from the accident).  I know what I can do!  I can walk the the 4 flights of stairs in our building for thirty minutes.

Change the subject.  Today, Ray and I are submitting the paperwork for my Jordanian citizenship.  I am so tired of dealing with the visa crap.  Every few months, Ray and I have to run around town to different government buildings, just so I can be in the country legally and not be charged fines.  It is such a hassle to get anything done here in Jordan.  It seems they make it as hard as possible to do the simplest things.  It is 100 times worse than dealing with the DMV.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Day After Someone Returns From Vacation

On Sunday, my family and I returned to Amman after a week-long holiday in Palestine. We stayed with Ray's sister on the family farm, we spent a day in Jerusalem, and we went to the beach in Netanya. I hope to post many pictures, but I have to wait for my husband to upload from his camera.

Here are two fantastic reasons why I am not in charge of the camera photos:

I do not notice when someone is about to walk between my camera and my subject. 

 I cannot seem to catch a smile on my daughter's face.  (She still looks beautiful in traditional dress with her cousin, Mya)

Strike Three, my camera dies after taking these two photos.

And so, I must nag and wait for my husband to upload his photos to facebook.

I do not know anyone that enjoys the first day home after vacation.  I certainly do not!  We returned to our house and everything had a thick layer of dust on it.  It looked like we were gone for the entire school year not just one week!  Here in Amman, the dust accumulates in your home very fast.  This is one of the reasons that my daily life includes dusting and mopping floors many times a day. I keep a mop bucket in the kitchen and ready for use all day long.

We also had a freezer incident while we were gone.  Apparently, the freezer was too full and disorganized, that some food shifted.  This caused food to fall out of the freezer and fall onto the floor, which was not discovered until three days later.  Praise God for my wonderful nieces!  They cleaned up the mess for us.  Did I ever mention how wonderful my husband's family is?  Well I will say it again.

Welcome home to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ramadan is quickly coming to a close.  The Eid holiday is scheduled to begin on Saturday and last until Tuesday.  Next stop, school starts!  Where did the summer go?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I Am So Sad!!!!!!!

Five months after moving to Amman, I met my best friend Debbie, quite by chance.  My sister in law was tutoring Debbie's girls, and Debbie needed directions to our house to pick up my SIL.  My husband gave Debbie directions and noticed her Southern accent.  He invited her upstairs to meet me!!!!  And thus began a beautiful friendship.  But alas, I have been given dreadful news.

Here is great picture of Debbie and I outside her old house last spring.  *Note to Everyone*  I am now a blond.

First of all, Debbie has been vacationing with her husband and 5 kids in Palestine for the last 3 weeks.  I miss her sooo much.  She is the friend that I talk with everyday, several times a day.  My husband came to visit us early because he felt bad that I would not have Debbie.  Sweet man!

My family and I are planning to visit Palestine next week, and I was making plans with Debbie to meet up in Jerusalem.  She then proceeds to drop a bomb!  She is not coming back to Jordan, she is moving back to America.  Illinois to be exact.  And get this, she is "leaving on a jet plane" on Monday, the day I am traveling to Palestine.  I am wigging out.  I will not get to see her and her family before she goes.  (*****Update:  She has postponed her travel date to next Monday!  Yeah!!!!  Had to get important papers from her home in Amman.  I will get to see her before she goes!!!!!!!!!)

She does have to return to Jordan and pack their things to be shipped, so I will see her then.  But her house is paid up til next summer, so I may have to wait a long, long, long, long, long time. And her husband is a lot like mine.  He may just say F*** it!, we will just buy all new stuff and not worry about the old stuff.  Please God, let that not be the case!

I am sooooo sad!  And I have to get ready for Rami's 13th birthday party, which starts in a couple of hours. Can you believe that I now have a teenager?  One more thing to be extremely sad about.  To be continued................................................

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Car Wreck!

I have been driving in Amman, Jordan for the last two years.  Even though people here drive like 2 year olds (Seriously, there is no one that stays in their lanes.  The government does not even bother repainting the lines on the road, because everyone ignores them anyway.), I have never been in a car accident.  Until today!

I had just dropped Rami off at his friend's house and was driving home.  I am at a complete stop in front of a red light, when I glance in my rear view mirror.  What do I see?  A van speeding down the hill with no intention of stopping for the light or me.  I freeze.  I hear the squeal of tires from a hard brake, but it is too late.  He hits me in the rear.

Praise God, the man did not run away.  He hurried to my car to make sure that Layla and I were OK.  I was very shaken, and Layla cried a little because she was frightened.  Usually, Layla does not wear a seat belt.  (I know, I know)  It just so happened that I was irritated with her earlier in the car ride for not sitting nice in the seat that for punishment she had to wear the seat belt (I know, I know).  Oh how bad it could of been!!!!!

We did not involve the police, because
 1. the man had no insurance (he wrote us a check to pay for the damages,) and
2. I do not technically have a valid driver's licence.  (But I can play stupid American and say I do not speak any Arabic and my husband is coming.)

In closing, Layla and I are fine.  Only my neck hurts from whiplash.  Before the impact, I tensed.  I wish I did not see him coming.  I have checked the internet for simple remedies to whiplash.  I will be sleeping with a rolled towel under my neck instead of my very comfy pillows.  I wonder how well I will sleep tonight (very sarcastic tone!)?  If this remedy does not work, does anyone have any other suggestions?

P.S. The trunk of my car is very messed up.  Our estimate for repairs is about $1000.  Swell!  I hope to post a pic of the car tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned.