Mshairfeh, Jerash, Jordan
The first thing on everyone’s mind wherever I went was Wijdan’s nephew Sihil’s wedding, which starts Wednesday. Village weddings are a 3-day affair, with the henna night on Wednesday, party at the bride and groom’s houses on Thursday, and the faarida and a combined party at the groom’s house on Friday. I was unofficial photographer and videographer at their engagement, and everyone kept asking if I’d be at the wedding with my camera. Well, everyone but Ghadeer, who has named herself the official photographer. However, only is this my last week of work, but on Friday night, the most important night of the wedding, I’m hosting my going away party. I think only the mother of the groom didn’t believe me when I said I wished I could go….
I also got a tour of the newlyweds’ house. Every room is a different color, and beautifully decorated. The bedspread was just exquisite. As Wijdan said, “It’s as if Sihil’s maiden aunts are getting married, and not the boy himself!” They went all-out!
I missed it by just a week! The headmistress’s eldest daughter, 2 years out of university, has just gotten engaged to a very handsome young man. They attended the same university, and he’s the brother of one of the teachers at the headmistress’s school. She showed me their engagement photos. He picked out the engagement gown, which was a gorgeous maroon with a drop waist. She also showed me all the gold he’d provided for her engagement. JD5,000 worth, at the present price of gold. No wonder Jordanian men can’t afford to marry!
She’ll be married in late July, or after Ramadan in September, depending when their house is ready.
Taqwa, who will be 2 on my birthday this July, is starting to talk. There’s the usual: mama, baba, la! [no!]. She can say “mai” [water], and calls her baba “Habibi” [darling]. “Du?” means “Shu?” [What?] and is one of her favorite words. In retrospect, I suppose I should have been paying more attention, seeing as I’ve resolved to study Arabic language acquisition as a PhD…. And in the 24 hours I was there, she learned a new word: “Mimi.” It’s how she referred to me. It reminded me of Claire and Calen’s godmother Mimi.
“Take her with you?”
Wijdan confessed to me months back that it was her goal to put as many babies as possible in my arms, so that I would finally decided to settle down, get married and have some of my own. Accordingly, almost as soon as I had arrived at the house, she had Rana deposit baby Milak in my arms. I was glad for the distraction from Wijdan’s mother-in-law, who’s about as subtle as a razor blade, and doesn’t like me much … probably because I’m friends with Wijdan, and she doesn’t like Wijdan at all. So there I was, giggling and “chatting” with Milak, who is playing around with her own vocal repertoire. (“At this rate, she’ll be talking before Taqwa!” said Wijdan.) The old woman looked up, incredulous and disdainful as usual. “Do you like girls? Why don’t you take her with you. We don’t need more girls.” It’s a common sentiment in Jordan, but it makes me cringe every time!
Quote of the Day
“I’m not going to say goodbye, Maryah. I know you’ll be back.”
I was expecting a very tearful farewell … dreading it, actually. Wijdan called me the other night in tears about how she hated her life, and now I was leaving…. But she was surprisingly sanguine about the whole thing, assured that I would return sooner or later.