With my husband gone, soccer duty fell to me for the first time. I (wisely) decided to hire a babysitter for the girls so I'd only have to manage two kids at once.
Of course, the baby sitter was late. And I had to go pick up the boys from a sleepover, on the other side of the Embassy, so I could take them to their games.
I made my way to the sleepover house, confident I could find it because I'd just dropped them off there the night before.
What I didn't count on was the return trip. There was a road race this morning, apparently, and so the other side of the road was shut down. I drove, and drove, and drove some more, looking for a way to turn around. I crossed the bridge that leads into East Amman, which I've crossed exactly once before, and I had two thoughts simultaneously. The first: Holy hell, I am completely and totally lost and we will never make it to soccer and I will probably end up stranded and lost in some east ammani alley and I won't be able to call my husband because he's not even in the country and I wonder if I will get robbed and maybe I should call someone now for directions? (Yes. I am aware that that is one very long thought. I think big, people.) My second thought, because I am a strange individual, was simply: well, this will make a good blog entry!
Eventually we hit a numbered traffic circle and I was able to make it back toward the airport road, to the field o' dirt that is our soccer field. I didn't get robbed, or lost, or stuck in a ditch. It was actually quite anti-climactic. But I had you worried there for a minute, didn't I, mom?
So. Soccer. I had to run back and forth between two fields simultaneously, so I didn't get a really good sense of either game. Shay, though. Poor Shay is the only American on his team, and he isn't really happy because he doesn't understand what's going on. It doesn't help that he hasn't been to a single practice, because practices are on Saturday night at the same time as church. So he hasn't exactly bonded with his teammates. I thought he was exaggerating the whole "everyone speaks Arabic" thing until I watched the half time pep talk. Yep. All in Arabic. Here's Shay (number 17), kind of standing off to the side, trying to disappear into a wall or something, while the coach shouted and gesticulated and seemed to be saying something very important.
So he mostly just ran around on the fringes of the game, not really getting into it.
At one point, I did catch him fighting for the ball. He got it, only to have his teammates immediately start screaming, in English this time, "Pass! Pass!" He passed, and that's the first, last and only time I saw him touch the ball.
I don't think he'll be signing up next season.
Then there's Aidan. Aidan has 2 or 3 other Americans on his team, and he goes to practices because they're during the week, at a close-by field. So he's pretty happy. He has a terrific coach, who seems to instruct primarily in Arabic, but also manages to mix enough English in so that the American kids know what's expected of them.
Ain't he cute?
Remember when I mentioned that the field is dirt? Here you can see clouds of the stuff flying up under their feet. It was hard to take pictures because the whole field was obscured by dust. Aidan's #14 out there in the middle.
Here's the coach. I believe he's a college student and former basketball player who coaches part-time because he loves sports.
And here's the high-five line after the game. Some things never change.
After the game, we stopped at the snack bar. You have to elbow your way to the front, where you can order these flatbread thingies that are cooked on a giant skillet, reminiscent of a Mongolian barbeque cooker. One man stood in the back, rolling the dough and putting it on the hot griddle.
Once it's cooked, the guy in front puts whatever you want on it. I saw cheese, turkey, hot dogs, olives, pickles, tomatoes... Or you can do what my boys did, and just order one stuffed with Nutella. (Just as I snapped the photo, the guy in back grabbed something from under the counter - that's why there's a head floating there in the picture.)
I got cheese and olive. There he is making it. It cost 1.25 JD - right around $2.
They wrapped it up in paper and handed it over, smoking hot.
It was delicious.