A Premature Welcome Home Party

or, History Teachers Are Supposed To Be Good With Dates!

Amman, Jordan

From Welcome Home Party That Wasn't

Well, he can’t say we didn’t try!
I’ve been trying for a month to find out when Ryan’s coming home, and he hasn’t answered my emails, IMs or Facebook messages. He told Christine and Shauna that he was coming back to Jordan a week after them, which would have been the 18th. Then he finally appeared on IM and told me that he was going to be back on the 16th at 5pm. I told Shauna and Christine, and they just figured he’d flaked (not unusual!) and given them the wrong date. So we planned a surprise party, and invited all our mutual friends (mine and Ryan’s).

So I got home from work at 7pm expecting to find Christine and Ryan in my apartment. But all I found was Christine. And we waited, and we waited, and then it was after 8pm, and we decided he must not be coming. Typical, flakey Ryan! But the guests had already arrived at Shauna and Christine’s, so we went ahead and had a fabulous Welcome Home party without him!

From Welcome Home Party That Wasn't

Towards midnight, when people had started to leave, we finally got Ryan on the phone from the States.
Christine: Where are you? We’re having your Welcome Home party without you, you idiot!
Ryan: What do you mean? Did I tell you I was coming today?
Christine: You told me and Shauna the 18th, and you told Maryah the 16th!
Ryan: No, no! I’m leaving on the 16th! You know me. You should have figured it would be the average, the 17th!
Christine (rolling her eyes): Oh, yeah. Our bad!
Ryan: I’ll be there tomorrow at 5pm!

From Welcome Home Party That Wasn't

But that’s not all! At 2am, Christine got a phone call and I got an email. Ryan’s flight had been cancelled, he would be leaving Detroit on the 17th now, and arriving on the 18th at 5pm. I sure hope that’s right, because he doesn’t have a key to get into the apartment while I’m at work, so Christine has to know when to let herself into the apartment to meet him!

We Thought You Were Palestinian!

From Welcome Home Party That Wasn't

Meanwhile, I had another funny Arabic experience. I ordered the pizza for the party, because my spoken Arabic is much better than Shauna and Christine’s. It took a long time, still, to get the directions across, and eventually I had to fetch Heba to do it for me. Meanwhile, friends of Shauna, one Lebanese, the other Palestinian, heard me on the phone in Arabic. “Who is that girl?” they asked Shauna. “Where’s she from?” And when Shauna told them, they didn’t believe her, so they came and sat next to me. “Where are you from?”
“I’m American.”
“No, but you speak perfect Arabic! Your parents must be Arab!”
“My parents are American. My family’s been in America for 400 years.”
“But you sound just like a Palestinian!”
Heba! You’ve infected me with your Palestinian accent! They’re saying I don’t sound like Bani Hassan anymore, I sound Palestinian!”
“I’m Lebanese, but he’s Palestinian. There’s nothing wrong with a Palestinian accent!”
“But you don’t understand! I’m Bani Hassan! Maryah al-7ara7sheh! Just ask anyone in Jerash about Maryah the Foreigner. They’ll tell you, She’s not a foreigner. She’s our daughter, Maryah al-7ara7sheh!”

…and what did they say on their way out the door? “Ma3a as-salaama, ya SalTiya! (Goodbye, girl from Salt!)”

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