Saturday, May 30, 2009

two weeks in Heaven, Day 14

Day 13, Friday
I woke up with a headache this morning. Maybe because it’s getting very close to fly back to the states. I don’t what is going on, but anyway, I just feel a little tired this morning. As much as I heard about the swine flu, I feel that I am infected. Oh well. I walked outside my room, trying to open my eyes, and saw my mom in the kitchen. “Morning mom”, I said. She greeted me with a freshly brewed coffee from the coffee maker that I sent to them a year ago from the states. As if she was preparing me for the inevitable return to my “normal”, but not so normal, life. I sat across from her in the kitchen as she was preparing homemade mo3ajjanat. What is it with the obsession with food in this family? But my sister assured me days before that the past few days, and since I arrived to amman, life in the house has transformed. What I’m seeing is only happening because of me, and that people, family, brothers, uncles, etc only gather in the house because of me. So I take it that the moment I leave, mom and dad will back to the isolation life that they live? She said “and more”.

That’s sad. I really enjoyed the family gathering. The most important reason that I am truly thinking to go back is because of this family life that I lack. What these people know that they have a treasure. Come and live in my life. You are bored one day, you won’t be able to go visit your sister or brother. You are feeling lonely, you can’t call your mom to come and spend few days with you. You are feeling sick, no sisters around to come and help sooth your life. How can they not see such treasure? Well, I once heard my father say that a kid eating chocolates every day, and you offer him chocolates or a piece of bread, chances are he will chose the bread. I feel that they have a treasure, but you can not value a treasure unless you are deprived of it.

Ma3aleena, today is going to be a family day and I intend to enjoy every moment of it, whatever happens. I just hope that I don’t eat food a lot today. For a change…maybe…I just hope.
I have four brothers. My eldest brother lives in the UAE. I am second. My younger two brothers live upstairs in their apartments that Dad built. One of those two brothers doesn’t pray. I tried, but he is just stubborn. I don’t know why. His wife prays and she is very conservative. Allah yehdeeh. So, he didn’t go to Friday prayer. Instead, he went to pick up the food from “qasr almandi”. You see, the day before we sent a lamb to qasr almandi to make 3 big mandi dishes. I wanted to make sure that the meat was baladi, so we did the slaughter a day before. Anyways, he wanted to go and pick up the food. He was also supposed to go and pick up my older brother from his house. The one who lives in the UAE but has a house in amman. My father, my other brother, and I went to the mosque, We drove there.

Here is another treasure that we don’t have, yet, the locals may not value as it should be valued. It’s the mosque. You get to sit down in a mosque, on a Friday, where no shop is open (almost) and every man, child is in the mosque. You get to hear a Friday lecture in Arabic. You don’t get to worry about looking at your watch to get back to work. You get to feel the comfort of the mosque. What I would do for such life every Friday. Nevertheless, you get to see weird things again in the mosque. Well, not all weird. There were lots of soldiers in this mosque. Why not as there were a couple of camps left in tabarboor. Big change over the past 20 years or so. There was also this old man wearing a mouth cover, like the one we say the Chinese wearing during bird flu epidemic few years ago. Are you kidding me 7ajji? Please tell me that you are not worried from swine flu in tabarboor. Maybe he was being cautions that’s all. I don’t know but I didn’t like seeing such thing in Jordan. Oh well.

We finished the prayer and headed back to the car, and ultimately to the house. My other brother was still in the house. I yelled at him for not going to prayer. So he left to pick up my other brother, and then we were supposed to bring the food at about 3 pm. And that’s what happened. At about 3 pm, I left with him, and my older brother to get the food and the needed stuff. We stopped at habiba and got two big knafeh dishes, one kheshneh and one na3meh. Came back home to find the rest of the family around. We let the women do their thing as men sat outside in the back yard chatting. My father was guarding his trees from the attack of the children. Every time they come here, they destroy. The poor man needed help, so I called on the children, which was many, and took them aside. I challenged them to sit quiet for 30 minutes and I’ll go and get them candy from the store next door. That worked wonders.

There we are. The four brothers, Mom and dad, all alone in the back yard, as my two brothers in law, the one who just came from Canada a day earlier, and the one who owns his little factory stepped aside to chat. I leaned at my two younger brothers and told them to continue this habit. Maybe we need to establish an every Friday family gathering. I told them I am welling to sponsor that financially, if it is the problem. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that they couldn’t see through my eyes the value of such gathering. I could see big smiles at my parent’s faces. Tell me that this is not worth it? Both were complaining about life and work. Nevertheless, they promised to at least do a monthly thing. You know what? I’ll take it one step at a time.

Food is ready. Men in guest room, women in the living room, and children in the kitchen being supervised by a woman on a 10 minute shift. This was the attack plan to minimize the destruction and damage to the house. It worked. The food was delicious. My brother in law bragged that he was the one who picked the meat. We sat down and ate, and had lots of fun. Everyone was joking and enjoying the moment. I felt that my mom was full of joy as she was joking with the two brother in laws who were trying to pick on her by saying things about her daughters. By 5 pm, the knafeh was being served. I wish I took so many pictures that day because it was a day to remember. A family gathering where everyone was happy. One of the children came and reminded me about the store next door. So I took about 16 little children, went to the store next door, made them form a line outside, and one by one, they walked in picked one thing and walked outside. The owner was laughing, and so did I. I told him about the reason and he said “you should do this more often” laughing. So the troops went back home, in one line, to the house, and I had to guard them making sure that they threw the wrappers in the garbage and not in the front yard.

It was singing time. The brother in law who just arrived from Canada started singing. Everyone was singing along some traditional songs. Mixed ones. I was leaning back on one of the chairs, with a fake smile to try and hide my sadness and sorrow for not having such a wonderful moments in my life. I should enjoy this moment while it lasts, for such family moments are very rare in my life. To be honest, I was tearing up a part inside and felt rivers of tears flowing, but only inside. I needed to step outside for some fresh air..or maybe some poisonous tobacco. As I light my cigarette, I remembered how I used to argue with my wife that a man shedding a tear to other than God is a sign of weakness, for it’s ok to be weak in front of God only. I wished that could shed one tear..a real outside flowing tear, to express my emotions that night, and tried to force myself to do that, yet, myself was trained to resist and fight such emotions. I just couldn’t…but I wanted to. I started another cigarette as my Canadian brother ion law came to check on me. This was the same one that received me in the airport when I decided to go back and see my family back in the nineties after being away for many years. He is slick and I hate it when he tries to analyze me. I bet he knows how I am feeling right now. I just wish he shuts up and not talk. He said “by the way, the jameed will be here tomorrow morning, straight from madaba”. I laughed, and so did he. He was leaving to Lebanon tomorrow and he is the one that usually arrange for the best jameed on earth to get to my hand.

The night was getting closer to end..or so I thought. Everyone left home. I received a call from a friend of mine whom I didn’t see in 6 years since he left the states back to Jordan. He had just arrived from the airport and his mom told him that I asked about him upon my arrival. He came and picked me up. “Where to” he asked? I said “maaaan, lets go to coffee shop and sit down..I wanna talk to u about good old times”. He refused and we drove to reem albawadi. I told him that I had just finished a mandi and knafeh fest. He refused and insisted on me eating. This obsession in food is very contagious in Jordan. We had little mashawi as we talked about home, country, and the land. He told me to come back home and that he will do everything he can to assure a better life for me. I know he is capable of such thing. I really want to come home.

After 3 hours, he drove me back home and wanted to say hello to my father. He loves my father, as my father was teaching his back in the Jordanian military school. We sat down and chatted. When I asked about how his wife is doing, he said that she has flue and is sick at home. I yelled at the man for leaving his wife and hanging out with me. I kicked him outside and was angry at him. I said goodbye to this man not knowing when I will see him again. He promised to come and visit me in the states when he comes here again.

At about 12 midnight, the house is now suddenly quiet. No one but me, my sister, and my parents. I headed to my room and got ready for sleep. I started to visualize the activities of the day again and again to make sure that my brain memorizes it perfectly. I don’t want to forget any moment from today. The one thing that was missing from today was that my wife called today and I wasn’t around. She calls every day to give me the daily report, and gets mine as well. I’ll call first thing tomorrow. Tomorrow I am invited at my older brother’s home, and so my brothers and sisters and their spouses, exactly like today. Not bad bo3bo3…two memorable days back to back. Good night ya’al/

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