I took the kids to see UP this past weekend. "A" went with us. It was a very cute movie; "A" even laughed, which means something because "A" is a really moody and often cranky guy - at least when I am around him he is, which isn't that often really. The kids see much much more of him than I do.
"A" was married several years ago to a Dutch lady. She and their baby daughter died, along with her mother in a car crash when she went home on holiday. Three generations wiped out in a single blow. He never remarried and doesn't have any children of his own. I guess that is why he likes my boys so much. Especially the little one. He is a father who lost his child and they are children who lost their father - they kind of fit. I don't know if I do, but ....
After the movie "A" dropped us at home, and as we were pulling up to the gate, I saw that Sablah, my new Ethiopian maid was outside walking the dog. This bothered me. I don't like her going out like that when we are not there. She just got a mobile and some local guys have started calling her. I am certain they aren't calling her for her great conversation skills since her English is limited to the point that it often frustrates me and her Arabic is even worse. I can only guess she meets them when she slips out of the house like that. The best part of it all was that, when she took the dog out and closed the gate behind her - it latches automatically when closed - she left the key inside the house so that meant she and we were all locked out. Nice! I had to hoist Salman over the wall so he could jump down on the other side and open it for us. I have no idea what I would have done if that was not possible.
Sablah does a lot of strange and impractical things. For example: I bought a Turkey and kept it in the freezer in the spare fridge in the courtyard. Last weekend, while putting some groceries away in the lower (not freezer) part of the fridge, I noticed a plastic bag wedged in the corner. It had smelly raw decaying turkey bits in it - the neck and other parts of the carcass. I opened the freezer and to my horror saw my turkey was not there anymore. I don't think I need to tell anyone that turkeys are not the cheapest things to buy. So it turns out that Sablah, who had never seen a Turkey before in her life, decided to thaw it out - which in and of itself scares me because the only way to safely thaw out a turkey is in the fridge over several days - and had been carving away at it, using it as she would an ordinary chicken. I asked her "Sablah, you see this thing like big chicken?" "yes" she gasped - Ethiopians have this weird way of saying yes where they simultaneously gulp the word in as they say it and exhale at the same time - it sounds like a gasp of sorts. "You know what it is?" "no"
"Then why you cook it?" (I have to speak broken English and leave out any words that aren't absolutely necessary - the extra words just confuse her - I call it "maid speak" since I have had more than one maid I had to use it on - my kids are masters of maid speak, I have to remind myself to speak it and don't do it so well) There really was no reasonable answer for it. If I was in her shoes, I would not just take the frozen carcass of an animal I have never before encountered and decide to cook it without asking about it.
She did the same thing with the expensive steak I bought to be grilled. There were four big fat juicy pieces and then suddenly there were only two. She had cut them up and used them in macaroni of all things! Again, it just isn't something I would do. Common sense would prevent me from doing it. Which makes me wonder if common sense isn't so common after all. I mean maybe different cultures have different common senses?
She also has blown up two eggs by boiling them until all the water dried up and they exploded - lovely smell that makes.
Anyway, after we got in the house, I decided to take a walk - I have been trying to eat right and exercise these days to curb the rapid a** expansion that I have going on.
We live just across from the big mosque - the one used for Eid prayers. Between us and the mosque is a big field and in the middle of the field is a square courtyard used for the overflow of people during Eid prayers. It is walled in, and the locals have made the path around the outside into a makeshift track. In the evenings you will see a lot of people walking or jogging on it - mostly Emiratis. I decided to walk there. I hadn't been walking long when a car full of young Emiratis (18 - 20 years old) crept up on my left side (I was walking clockwise around the prayer yard.) It was a convertible. They turned up their rap music as they passed me and then slowed down ahead of me so that I would pass them and then they could pass me again. I ignored them. As they passed me again one of them sang out his phone number while the other two smirked at me.
They went around and passed me again, and again the driver sang out his phone number. I was annoyed at this point so I turned to them and said "NOT INTERESTED!" and then went back to walking. The other two laughed at the driver and he sped off. I thought I was free from them and continued walking, but again they came back and again the driver chanted his phone number. I just rolled my eyes and kept walking. I can't imagine why they would think that such behavior would actually get any woman to look on them favorably and call them?
They passed again. This time one of them asked, with almost a bewildered look on his face, as if he couldn't understand why I hadn't got my mobile out and started dialling yet, asked "why aren't you interested" at this point I was thoroughly annoyed so I turned to them and shouted "Listen little boys! I am old enough to have given birth to you. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!"
They drove off after that :)
After that, I went back to the house and got Max the dog and continued my walk in the neighborhood with him. As I was getting back towards home, one car pulled in front of us and the local guy behind the wheel whipped out his camera and asked if he can take a picture of Max. My brain doesn't operate very quickly when I am surprised so I kind of just gaped at him digesting what he was asking and then he just took one. I don't really care if anyone photographs Max, but I wasn't too happy about the fact that I was in the photo too in all my shocked and sweaty glory.