Tip #442: Abayas, Rainbow Street, and a Marriage Ritual

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.  Stephen R. Covey

This morning at breakfast I watched a woman come in with her husband. He was wearing a tee shirt and she was entirely covered up in a black abaya (a covering that goes over her clothing and conceals her shape) and a black veil, so that the only thing you could see was her eyes.

They ended up sitting very close to me and I was curious to see how she managed to eat. When her husband got up to go back to the buffet, she removed her veil so that I was able to see her entire face. However, once her husband sat down, she put her veil down and ate by bringing her food under her veil. That can’t be an easy way to eat!

It was a beautiful day (most of them have been) so I decided to walk to Rainbow Street, which is one of the oldest sections of Amman. On the way, I passed the Embassy of Turkey, the Embassy of Iraq, and a huge area that was apparently the King Hussein Club. All three places had armed guards.

I also passed a grocery store and promised myself I would look for my chunky peanut butter on the way back.

Cassie had told me it would take 30 minutes to get there, but I got there in 20 and decided to walk to the end, which was down a very steep hill. There are lots of cafes and shops all along it. There are also excellent panoramic views of the city, so of course I took some photos.

When I got to the end of Rainbow Street, I decided to explore a side street that went up a steep hill. I was able to see some of the Roman ruins on another hill. There is also a huge Roman amphitheater in Amman, but I haven’t been near that yet (at least I don’t think I have). Luckily, this long steep side street emptied out onto Rainbow Street, so I didn’t get lost. If it hadn’t, I would have had to retrace my steps.

It was very very warm, so off came my hoodie, and even then my thin cotton shirt was almost too much. I did stop into the grocery and spent some time in a fruitless (or should I say peanut-butter-less) search. It wasn’t until I went to check out (with two sodas and some fig cookies) that I saw lots of peanut butter. I purchased two- one is chunky (which is very peanutty and great) and the other is crunchy- I’ll have to see what that tastes like later.

Mohammad came to pick me up at 2:45 to go to the office and meet L- and pick up the rest of the training materials. L- didn’t get there until after 4 p.m., because she was getting one of the video cameras fixed. In the meantime, Mohammad told me about how he met his wife.

He had been in love with her for 3 years (she went to school with one of his sisters). When it was time to marry, his mother went to check her out. Then Mohammad went to meet her father, very nervous about what her father would say. His father ultimately gave Mohammad the green light to meet and have coffee and talk with his possible wife-to-be. It wasn’t exactly clear to me whether or not she had a real say in this- I think she did.

Then the families came together to meet, with the men in one place and the women in the other. The chief man (I’m assuming that meant the oldest?) for each family conferred and agreed to the marriage. Mohammad said he cried when he was given approval to marry his beloved. Then Mohammad was able to go and put a ring on his wife’s finger.

Mohammad is apparently from Palestine and he said that Palestinians prefer to have these celebrations in their home rather than at a hotel.

We also discussed my trip to the Dead Sea and Mohammad said he would have been happy to taxi me in his own car. With a third child on the way, I’m sure he needs the money. So I’ll arrange any future trips with him.

May your learning be sweet.

Deborah

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