Friday, December 25, 2009

Adventures Back Home

I can't seem to travel anywhere without something going wrong. Even if it's just a little wrong, and a lot funny. It had been 4 years since my last international flight back into the US so...I was bound to forget something important. Such as.....checking in my luggage with US Customs when I landed at JFK. Yep, I Totally forgot. And I swear, nobody reminded me! You'd think someone would have said 'hey, don't forgot your luggage isn't going straight to Detroit. You have to get it at JFK so Customs makes sure you aren't bringing in any contraband items, such as lemons.' I swear I read the fine print.
So there I stood at the luggage carousel, feeling like an elephant because my legs were swollen to the size of a small child, waitinf for my luggage that never came. I patiently waited in line to enquire about my luggage and was told that it was at JFK because I didn't clear it with customs. I swear this lady was trying to stifle a laugh. And really, who can blame her? Luckily, it was delivered to my front door the next day. As for my swollen legs, let's just say I will never again forget to walk around and move my feet while on an 11 hour flight.
When I got home, I was happy to see a Christmas tree waiting to be decorated. We decorated it in the usual way, putting the majority of the ornaments on one side. Unfortunately, the next morning we woke up to 'The Leaning Christmas Tree of Toledo'. Hmm....maybe because all of the ornaments were weighing it down. So my mom and I agreed to fix it when she got back from Detroit. No problem, it wasn't leaning so bad that I was worried about it or anything. But, just as I was sitting down to do some work on the computer, I heard a big crash from the living room. Crap! I rush out to find water crushed ornaments, pine needles everywhere and water running onto the carpet. Awesome.
I call my mom hoping that she's still far far away. "uh....can you come a little later?" Mom: 'Um, why?" Me: 'Well, the Christmas tree fell and I was going to try and clean it up before you got home." Mom: 'You can't do it by yourself, I'll home in ten minutes." Well, I tried. Next year, we won't buy a pain in the butt real Christmas tree and we will be sure to put the ornaments on All sides! And the bright side is that we got to decorate the tree....twice!
Everything was going great back here in Toledo. I had my luggage, normal legs and a Christmas tree that was stable. That is, everything was awesome until I walked to my car yesterday morning and realized my car door wouldn't open. That's funny, it was fine when I came home last night and I haven't touched it since. Then it dawned on me. My Mom hit my car!!! And now I couldn't open the freaking drivers side door. So I go back to the house, knock on the door and wait for my mom. "Mom, I think you hit my car." My Mom: "Well, that's on par with the things have been going." I showed mom the damage and the paint on my car, which matched the guilty vehicle in the garage. "Oh, I'll get it fixed soon!" "Really, don't worry about it mom, I don't really mind climbing in and out of the car from the passenger side."
Let's look on the bright side. This will keep me flexible and prevent me from using the car more than I need to. Or maybe I'll just use drive throughs more often and honk the horn for my friends to come out. Note to self: short dresses are out until my car gets fixed.
But really, I'm glad to be home for these two weeks. And hey, what would a trip back home be if there weren't mishaps to laugh at?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Anyone who knows me won't be surprised that I'm writing a blog entry about food. My family didn't call me moochie for nothing. "Are you going to eat all of that?" or "When are we going to eat?" is probably what comes to mind when certain people think of me. in Jordan is pretty awesome. For instance, check out the photo of figs. I really don't even think I saw a fresh fig in the US but here you can find them everywhere in the summer and fall. Did I mention how extremely tasty they are? I miss them. They are out of season. The tomatoes are also pretty darn good. The tomatoes here generally don't taste like cardboard which is a bonus. Sure, you can get great tomatoes when they are in season at farmers markets in the US but that's about the only time they are good. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an American food hater. I miss my Taco Bell (yeah, I know it's not the model of healthy eating, nor is it fresh) and kettle corn, macaroni and cheese, sheet cake and other things. But there are realllly good things here too. Another bonus is that fruits and vegetables here are inexpensive. I bought a couple green peppers, some onions, sweet potatoes, garlic, apples and bananas for $4.50! Oddly enough, a latte here costs almost the same as a bag full of fresh, tasty produce. I don't get it either.
The schwarma here is pretty awesome as well, for $1.50 I can get a huge, tasty grilled schwarma on some nice flat bread. Way better than the ones back home. (sorry to all the Middle Eastern markets back home) There aren't as many preservatives here and I'm pretty sure that the animals aren't pumped full of hormones and antiobiotics. The last thing we all need is more hormones and more antiobiotics.
I discovered a tasty winter drink a couple weeks ago that I'll try to recreate at home. It's called sahleb and it's a cup full of goodness. It's milk with cornstarch, to thicken it up, rosewater, cinnamon, raisins and nuts. It might sound odd to some but trust me, this stuff is not to be missed.

I Just Want Water....Really!!

Nothing has ever made me appreciate water more than simply.....being in Jordan. When I was in a shop the other day, the owner was telling me that America is nice because there is water and a lot of green....there is not a lot of water in Jordan. Exactly, or bizzabt, as they say in Jordan. Yesterday was the fourth time that the water in our apartment ran out. You kind of get used to it and just hope that if the water runs out, it's close to the day when your tank will be refilled. Fortunately, we ran out yesterday afternoon and our water gets refilled on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, I was taking a shower when the water ran out. Luckily there was enough water trickling out of the faucet that I didn't have to come out of the shower a sudsy, bubbly mess.

Lets just say, I've gotten used to taking 'bucket baths'. It's actually not so bad. I just take water from the big blue jug in the kitchen. I then heat it in the hot water kettle, put it in a big pot and add some cold water so I don't scald myslef. I then merrily go to the bathtub (hey, at least I'm able to get clean) with my pot o' water and cup. IIt's like being in India all over again. Except here there actually IS a shower here.

After we ran out of water yesterday, we raced to buy some bottled water and we ordered a blue jug of water from the water business across the street. Since we just moved, it was our first time ordering water from this place. I figured that it would be a good idea to give the guy my phone number in case he couldn't find the apartment. I tried to explain it in Arabic but....wasn't sure how successful I was. As it turns out, my phone number came in handy; they called when they were arrived outside of the apartment and said 'marhaba, water delivery'. Awesome, I'll be right there! WATER, Yaaaaayyyyy!!!!!

The down side is the mysterious phone call I got from a woman who wanted to know what my name was, where I worked and where I lived. Ummm......who are you?! She kept on mentioning water so I asked if she worked at the water company. She didn't. She kept going on about water so I said that 'I want water today at 2:30'. That's when I was expecting the water to come and my Arabic is not at all that sophisticated. Well, we weren't getting anywhere so she put her daughter on the phone. She asked me what my name was and how I was doing....which is fine. She told me I have a beautiful name and then proceeded to ask me, mulitple times, 'where do you live?' Ok, I'm annoyed. "Who are you?!", I ask. "Where do you live?", she responds. I'm passed back to the mom at which point I tell her that I don't understand and will hang up the phone. So why is some woman calling me asking me all of these questions and mentioning water every five seconds? Well, the only thing I can think of is that she's married to someone who works at the water company...and found my phone number, immediately jumping to the wrong conclusion. Do people usually give their phone numbers to the water company? I don't know actually but I take a guess at how things work here in Jordan and usually it works out alright. I'm not trying to get with anyone's husband. I really just want water.