Monday, January 18, 2016


After a late breakfast with my boys, Sabit picked me up and took me back to Habooba's house, where a hairdresser had been brought in to transform our kinky curls into long, luxurious locks. Areej calls this "party hair".  Afterwards, her mom took me to another bedroom, where several friends and relatives were gathered. She told me to have a seat, as these women were anxious to get to know me. As you can see, the bedroom walls are all lined with what we call "day beds", and that's where the women tend to congregate and visit, rather than out in the formal living areas. And, if they are amongst close friends and family, they actually lounge upon them and get comfy!

Now, as far as I could tell, only one of them spoke any English at all, and I only remember about two words of Arabic from our time living in Bahrain, 40 years ago. You might think this would be an awkward situation but, surprisingly, you'd be wrong. I am an introvert. We are usually way better at writing than at talking,  and the most painful thing in the world for us is having to make idle chit-chat with people we don't know. My biggest fear leading up to this trip was the thought of blurting out the wrong thing and offending someone horribly. However, since I didn't speak Arabic, and they didn't speak English, no one really expected me to converse. Suddenly, I was completely relaxed!

Habooba and her cousin, I think.

They chatted up a storm, I smiled and nodded a lot, and every so often, the lady on the right above would translate a few words for me.  After a while, a low table was brought in, and a big round tray of food was set upon it, which we ate in the traditional way, without utensils. Instead, we tore off pieces of flat bread, and used that to pick up morsels of food. It is a very intimate way to eat, and they seemed to be absolutely delighted that I was participating with gusto! At the end of the meal, our translator hugged me and told me I was now her good, good friend. I admit, it made me tear up!

Then it was time to head back to the hotel to dress. For, as Ed Sullivan would say, tonight we had a Really Big Show!

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