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First Friday

June 2, 2012

My host family has spoken many times since I have been staying with them about how wonderful Fridays are in our house — the holy day in this part of the world, when most don’t work – essentially our Sunday Funday — and each time we have missed one for an excursion or work, they have told great tales of the merriment that has occurred in our lovely little abode.

Deadline was moved up a day for Matt and my story to today (gulp, gasp, help), so we skipped the group excursion to Jerash — no biggie, just some ancient Roman ruins, views of Palestine and stuff — and spent the morning working with the prof at her ultra-swag hotel.

After work, food; I came home to a lunch of mansaf. I have previously blogged about the national Jordanian dish, so I’ll spare you all another meat meditation – but my host mother insisted that I take photos of the finished product and I wouldn’t feel right about not displaying her tasty handiwork as part of my Friday fun.

Step One: Boil.

Step Two: Rice.

Step Three: Meat plus Nuts.

Step Four: Destroyed it.

How much does Sultan love Fridays? THIS much.

Apparently, my family didn’t get the memo that it was time to party, because about 15 minutes after the mansaf had been eaten, my two host brothers disappeared and everyone else was lying down. Where was the Friday madness?

Things started to heat up when I asked if Matt could come over so we could work on our story. My host family is very laid-back, so I figured they wouldn’t have an issue with a male coming over the house, especially if it was for school.

I tell my host sister, Ragad, that I want to have my American BOY-friend come over for a visit.

“A boy? How many?” One, I said.

“One?!” Clutches heart. “Okay, I will ask mother,” she said, visibly excited.

She acted as the go-between as my host mother and I as we negotiated the terms of the visit:

Is it okay if he comes?

“What time will he come?”

Whenever would be good for you.

“For how long will he stay?”

I’m not sure, maybe two or three hours? Is that okay?

“As you like. Is it suitable for you to sit in the salon?” (Read: That boy better not step a toe into a bedroom – don’t you be bringing that Haram into my house!)

Of course!

When Matt arrived, my host sister was aflutter, running off to laugh in her bedroom. After three hours of work, he left and Ragad said, “Why did you say your friend was ugly? He is not ugly!” (Sorry Matt, I was lying to try to make a better case for you being allowed to come over.) It was reported to me by my roommate this morning that after I went to bed, she reiterated this point: “He is not ugly. He is beautiful.”

So, as has been par for the course on this trip, Matt collects another admirer.

After the Adonis made his way back home, Sam and I sat out on the swing on our front porch with our kitten, Abbla. Our host brother Sultan returned from his deejay duties and Ragad gave him the bad news: one of our two ducks had bit the dust. I laughed as she told him but unexpectedly, he looked very upset as he stalked back to the pen behind the house where he has been keeping the menagerie. A minute or two later, he passed us without speaking, jumped in his silver car, and peeled out. Who would’ve thought a lost duck could induce such anger? Such sadness? Was he going to buy cigarettes? Was he going to go smoke his troubles away with some argeela?

No more than five minutes later, Sultan returned – with a white baby rabbit in his arms. Apparently, his friend works at a pet store and gives him animals for free. The rough translation of the explanation is as follows:

“I go there. I said I want duck. He said I don’t have duck. Take this [white baby rabbit]. He thought I want to eat it. I said okay, I take, but I don’t want to eat it.”

“I take it.”

Sam and I are laughing so hard, we can hardly breathe. So yes, Friday wasn’t filled with a slew of visitors, argeela-smoking and barbecues. I actually ate popcorn for dinner. But what a lovely, random day.

Sam holding our two new babies.

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