Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Two weeks in heaven, Day 15, Sunday/Monday...the end

My vacation is about to end. Today is the last day. It will probably be the ugliest day in the vacation. I did enjoy every moment and every event that occurred to me the last two weeks. I was up too early today for some reason. Maybe because it is all about to end. I admit that I have a very mixed emotions about today. On the one side, I am about to go back to my family..and on the other side, I’m about to leave behind what is considered the dearest to my heart, this desert land of Jordan.

My brothers and sisters started to flood the house early today. My older brother showed up at about 9 am with breakfast. The regular hommus, fool and falafel. My mom was drilling me asking me for what would I like to eat. I felt as I was on death row and being asked for the last meal before I am about to be executed. It’s not that bad if you ask me. Such sad feeling is a very good feeling. It makes attached to something that you hate to leave behind.

The house is again full with family members who came to say goodbye. The weather was beautifull as if this country is teasing me on my departure day. I was sitting down as everyone was talking and laughing. I laughed too on few funny discussions and incidents, including the one where my niece insisted on bringing the hommus to the table and ended up spilling it on the carpet. My father was yelling at the little girl, and everyone was laughing at my father for looking like a grumpy old man.

As usual, my father is a control freak, sort of. He insisted on arranging the luggage to hid the jameed fearing that it get caught. I left the whole thing alone for him. He was pretty much fighting with his own shadow and yelling at the 4 cans of pastries that I took with me. He told me to carry the gold that I bought for the wife in my pocket. The jameed is going in two cases just in case one gets busted, the other one escapes safely into the states. I tried to tell him that customs will allow jameed, but he insisted on doing whatever he wanted to do, so I left him for his hobby.

After he was finished, he told me that every case has exactly 50 lb. I told him that I allowed 70 lb since I’m traveling first class (not because I paid for it but because of my elite status on delta airlines). He then went back to rearrange the two suitcases and that included a trip for him to amman to buy more jameed, mixed nuts, and even knafeh to be frozen all day and out at the time of my departure from the house. I just got myself out of the whole thing. I wanted to spend more time with my family.

My other brother went out and got me two boxes of toot from “soog el7abalah” to munch on before my departure. Lunch was almost ready and my mom acted as if she was saying goodbye for a her little son. She started cooking early in the morning for my favorite dishes. There the fried stuffed kebbeh, the raw kebbeh that she learned from her mother allah yer7amha, and the usual bo3bo3ian tradition of mansaf and fattet jameed with lamb tongues. I just don’t know how am I supposed to eat all that and be ok on the airplane.

After lunch (late lunch) family members started leaving the house and saying goodbye to me. It was a sad day to many of us, if not all. I don’t know when I will see them again. My little sister insisted in staying late with me to the end. She sent her kids with daddy and stayed behind. I was munching on the toot as if there was no tomorrow. The clock moved so fast that it was about time to load the luggage into my brothers car. My flight is at midnight, so I told my father to stay in the house. That didn’t work of course as he insisted on going with me. So we ended up taking two cars. My father, my two brothers got into my father’s car. I went into my third brother’s car along with my two sisters. We headed out at about 9 pm that night. Driving on the airport street that night was a long trip for me as I started thinking about the future and how can I come back to this country for good.

I started watching everything that was happening on that street. Every car passed by, every store we passed, every turn we took, and every word we chatted during the trip were all recorded in my memory not to be removed. We got close to the airport, and I really needed to use the bathroom. As soon as we parked the cars, I rushed inside to the nearest bathroom. It’s the damn toot that is acting up now. I don’t know what it was as I ate too much of everything that day. We unloaded the luggage to inside the airport on one of the carts. It was about 10 pm now and everyone was standing and talking. I asked them to leave, and after I insisted, they agreed as long as I let them know that everything is ok.

I went through searching. I headed straight to the delta counter, and got my boarding pass after arguing with the lady at the counter. She was cute though. She wanted to charge me for extra weight (above 50 lb) and give me a regular seat. After I tried to educate her that elite members get automatic upgrade, and after she asked her manager, I was able to get my seat and the extra weight. Did I mention that she was cute? Ok I did. I went upstairs to the duty free shop, and waived goodbye to the family. A dude approached me trying to get me enter some kind of drawing to win a beautiful Mercedes that was parked right in front of the duty shop. I declined of course.

I got a bottle of perfume for the wife, and some candy for the house. I called my wife to let her know that I was in the airport. I then went to the smoking section in the airport and sat there for few minutes. Now it was time to head to the gate. Again went through another security check and then straight to the gate. As soon as they started boarding, I walked through to my seat. I was very tired so I did manage to catch 30 minutes or so of sleep while they were boarding the plane.

The moment came, and the plane took off. I started to look through the window with no luck of seeing any recognizable area. Then, it was pitch black as I knew we were over the sea. I can’t believe that I am leaving Jordan. I tried to go back to sleep, with no luck. My stomach was not comfortable. So I took out a book that I brought with me to read. It was a book about old Arabia and the evolution of modern day Arabia. I can’t remember the author but he is an arab scholar teaching in the states. Oh well…the book was exciting for the most part, and fabricated for few parts in there.

12 hours later, and at about 6 am local NY time, the plane arrived. There was another El-Al plane that had just arrived from tell aviv. It was a funny scenery when passengers from each plane converged and mixed to the custom booth. I got there, showed the passport, and went to pick up my luggage. Less than 15 minutes later, my luggage showed up. I picked them up and walked to the custom booth. Couple of questions later, the guy said “welcome home” and ushered me to go on. So I did, with two over weight luggage. I took my luggage to the connecting counter and got them checked in. I walked to the outside and started smoking. It’s only 7 am now. My connecting flight is at 2:40 PM. I have more than 7 hours. I wanted to get an earlier flight but with no luck. Monday is a bad day for travel in the states. I wish I knew anyone in NY to maybe go and visit and kill time. I was so tired to leave the airport. They changed the gate twice so far and that meant lots of walking back and forth. The clock is going so slow. I called work to check my messages. I then called my wife to let her know I was in NY. I didn’t wanna call her before 10 am to give her a little sleep.

The last thing I wanted to do is work on during my vacation. But I had lots of time to kill, so I started calling and doing work over the phone. Heck I even scheduled a conference call and got busy. That helped move the clock faster as it was now about 1 pm. I got some lunch in the airport and headed out to my gate. Soon after, I boarded the plane and started snoozing in the hot muggy day. I woke up half way to Indianapolis. Soon after, the plane started it’s descend. I walked outside the plan to the luggage counters. I called my wife to let her that I arrived and that she can come and pick me up. I got my suitcases and waited for her outside the airport on the curb side. I could see her car approaching…aaah…finally.

Leaving Jordan has left a big wound in me. The last two weeks made me a different person. I met lots of people and walked through the streets of my beloved home. The aroma of life in Jordan is something I can never experience in the states. It’s alive. There is always activity in there. You feel bored someday, you simply go visit a brother or a sister…or even a stranger that you met online. I can’t do that here. This trip has transformed into a different person. As funny or silly that may sound but it did. I am working on going back for good. I am seriously doing that. I expect that in 2 years, I will purchase one way tickets for my family to go and rest in peace. I just hate the thought that I may die one day and not find a brother or a sister stand over my grave, somehwre in USA to recite a verse from the Qur2an. What am I doing here? This question was a stranger to me, until I came back from Jordan. So..what am I doing here wasting my knowledge and life? I think I can better utilize what I have. I can see that day happening…..and very soon.

The above posts were not for entertainment, or to kill time posting on the web, but they were my morphine shots that took away the pain of leaving behind such a beautiful life. Enough with the drugs and pain killers for it’s time to perform a transforming surgery once and for all. I hope ya’al enjoyed reading what I have written over the past 2 weeks. I hope that it may have convinced someone out there to saddle his/her horse and take the long ride back home. I know I am. Funny how the song “I wanna go home” for Michael Buble’ is playing in the back of my head at this moment.