Sunday, June 26, 2011

What a weekend...

Well sorry for the delay... But here goes nothin'...
This is me being taken away in the hottest bus on planet earth to go to my first Arab wedding.

Well, we had our first weekend here in Amman. It was, uh, a blast! We had church on Friday and went to our branch here in Amman. It was soooo nice to be back with the saints. It was so fun. We took a taxi to the building. It used to be the Swiss Embassy but now it is the first building in the Middle East that has the Church's name on it. Pretty cool. Sorry it is sideways but you can see what it says. Yay for the Church!
Our branch has about 100 people in it, I think. Mostly Americans, Filipinos, Jordanians, Indians, Sri Lankans. But definitely most of the members are American military or government like State Dept., Foreign Service, Marines, CIA. Our branch president is actually ex-military but he has been hired as the weapons adviser to the Jordanian Royal Family. He designs new weapons for them and advises them on what to buy.
We already have callings in our ward. Ryan is the Primary pianist and teacher and I am a Primary teacher. Should be fun! I have never been in Primary before. I am so excited! It was so funny though that we immediately got callings. All we did was go talk to the Branch President to say hi! Mormons are the same everywhere... :)These are our two boys. We teach the six year olds. The blond boy is Henry and the brunette is Danny. Danny is Iraqi and Henry's dad is in the Foreign Service. They only wanted to make silly faces. They are so cute!!
The branch has two sacrament meetings and gospel principles classes. One in English and one in Arabic. We went to the English sacrament and then to the Arabic Gospel Doctrine class. It was so fun! The teacher is actually an Egyptian convert who has served a mission! Crazy!!! Ryan was so excited to meet him.
Relief Society was so fun. The women are amazing here. I met a Palestinian woman who has been a member for 10 years and she and her husband currently live in Mississippi of all places. They are just in Jordan visiting family for a couple months. Their kids are southern hicks. It is so cute. But they are such a great family.
We have also met some people who have lived in Dubai! There is a couple in our ward that were stationed there with the foreign service for a few years and have just been reassigned to Amman. We are having dinner with them after church next Friday to talk about Dubai and see if they have any contacts there that we could use to get Ryan and internship there or a job even.
We had such an amazing time at church, it was so much fun and we just loved it.
We randomly met an Australian at church who had just gotten into Amman. He is a member named Rob who is just traveling by himself through the Middle East. He has been in Syria and Jordan and Israel and Egypt. He was trying to find a hotel but we told him to stay with us at our place since we have an extra bed. It was fun to have him around. This is him.

After church, we had a wedding to go to. An Arab wedding. These events are insane. We first went and had lunch with Ahmaro and his family. We know him from work. So Ryan and I and a few other people from our trip went to his house and had lunch there. It was delicious. We had herbal tea made of oregano (weird as it sounds, it is AMAZING), salted squash seeds (like toasted pumpkin seeds), Tang (yes it is basically the national drink) and the main meal of Magloohb. This dish was very good. It is a rice dish that is made by cooking a TON of rice in chicken stock with parsley and pepper and some yougurt. Then you bake a whole chicken with just salt and pepper and then you put the chicken on top of the rice, throw on some peanuts and more parsley and serve it with flatbread. Really good. They also serve tomato and onion salad with it and yogurt. You are supposed to put the yogurt and the tomatoes and onions in the rice and eat it. But I do not like plain yogurt and its not wise to eat uncooked veggies here. They are sometimes riddled with parasites that make you sick... So, just like a mission, you cannot stop eating for an hour or two and you have to eat everything. But you get good at making it look like you are still eating even when you aren't. :)

Another important thing to remember here is to not drink anything that is not bottled. It is so filled with bacteria... Gross. You can actually see a thin film of nasty floating on top of the tap water. It is full of minerals as well so it smells funny too.
But anyway, after we ate lunch we got thrown into some cars and headed off to the wedding. We met everyone at this house where the men played in the street and Karissa (a girl from our group) and I went into the house with the women. We don't speak Arabic so we have a hard time communicating with people so it can be awkward at times. But, oh well. It was fun. When it was finally time to leave the house, we went downstairs and made friends with a Malaysian woman who spoke enough English to help us out. We watched our husbands be tossed into the air and dance. That is one thing that is certain out here, Americans are celebrities. Especially American men. It is so funny. It isn't allowed to take pictures of Arab women and post them online so there are only pics of the men but that's fine. You get the idea.

At the wedding, we were split men and women into 2 separate rooms. The reception hall was beautiful. There were at least 300 women and children there with us. The bride and groom walked down the aisle and they danced. Then they cut the cake with a huge sword and then the groom left the room and the women just danced for a little while. Karissa and I were sitting quietly on the side when the mother of the bride saw us and made us come dance. Well, it's always awkward to dance in front of people, let alone a few hundred women who you have never met before. So when we got to the dance floor, we started dancing but then the music stopped and they announced something in Arabic that we didn't understand and then, of course, they told everyone else to get off the dance floor and then it was just myself and Karissa there under the disco ball and they started to play an American dance song by Shakira. I couldn't stop laughing. It was the weirdest thing in the whole world. We were just supposed to dance, just the two of us in front of everyone. AWKWARD. Well the song seemed to last an eternity and I was sufficiently embarrassed. Then we sat down once the clapping was done and we ate our cake. Then the swarm began. It started with the little girls. They started coming up to us and trying to talk to us. But since, we are Arabic retards and don't understand what they are saying, we don't get too far in our conversations.... In fact, I think we might have made a real impression on them when Karissa accidentally introduced me as her wife... Probably the most unconventional sentence to have ever been spoken. But that's what we get for being separated from our Arabic speaking husbands and knowing only bits of Arabic.... But it was great! So much fun!!

Well. Hope you enjoy the pictures! We are having more adventures every day here. It is so much fun! I will be posting again soon! :) Love you all in the great USA!

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