Diary Snippet: The Visit

Fri, 2 Jun 2000

My current landlord stopped by today to discuss the details of my moving out. He doesn’t seem sorry for any of the financial issues, but he did bring me  a bundle of hummus, which actually is Arabic for “chickpea,” not the paste made of the chickpea.  We eat them green, just like we eat everything green; it is a wonder anything ever ripens here. They can also be thrown, still on the stalk, into a bonfire, and then eaten once they’re charred.

So I was walking back across the patio with this bundle of chickpeas when I spotted Deanna, Amira’s 4-year-old girl, on their balcony watching me.  I invited her over for chickpeas but she said she couldn’t come over because her parents weren’t home. I said she was welcome any time and went inside.

Two hours later my doorbell rang and I went outside and there was Deanna with her 2 year old brother, totally unaccompanied.  They came in and sat down in the living room like this was a normal occurrence.  I fed them chickpeas and fruit and asked them if they wanted chips…  Deanna declined, Yusuf said yes.  I asked them if they wanted tea…  Deanna declined, Yusuf said yes.  Yusuf has about 3 words in his vocabulary other than “mom” and “dad,” and they are “la,” “ah,” and “bai” (no, yes, and a mispronunciation of “water”).  Deanna asked him, “Where’s mom?”  He pointed exactly the wrong way.  They played this game about 5 times, and even though Deanna showed him his house — complete with several sisters on the balcony spying on us — through the window, he still insisted the house was the other direction.  It was like, since my house is north of his when he sees it, it follows logically that his house would be north of mine.

Anyway, Yusuf demanded water after finishing off his tea and two whole apples.  After the water they collected several more bags of chips and left. It was kind of surreal!

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