Tuesday, May 5, 2009
If you build it they will come
Well, the past month has flown by. It's May already and we're preparing for a trip to America this summer. The weather has gotten warmer which means we get to do one of my favorite things - take the boys to the park so they can run off some steam! This is often difficult in our city, as nice public parks are few and far between. Fortunately a brand new park just opened up not far from our home. We went on Friday morning, just a day after their grand opening (the park is sponsored by HSBC). I counted somewhere between 50 and 60 children at the park. This is a small park, with a merry-go-round, 2 monkey bars, 3 swings, 2 slides, and a see-saw. It was CROWDED.
However, much to my surprise and elation, the kids were wonderful. We sometimes go to the big park on Medical City Road and often have problems with the children hitting or throwing sand, and parents are sometimes unfriendly. Abu Tulip and I came up with a theory. That big park is, well, huge, and people come from all over. They do not know each other and therefore do not care if their children are kind, if they throw trash everywhere, and do not mingle with others. This park is local, on duwar hawuuz. That means, traffic circle with the water tower. I mention this because there is no longer a water tower, and it's not really a traffic circle, but for those that know the city it is also an area of some great QIZ shops, similar to the one Kinzi mentioned out by duwar Waha.
But this park, at duwar hawuuz, is local. The kids know each other, as they all live in the neighborhood. A young girl took to my boys and made sure they each got a turn on the merry-go-round and swing, telling the older boys that the ajnabi (foreigner) kids deserved a turn, too. A lovely lady invited me over for tea, and was happy to chat with me. At this local park, people understand that how you treat others will affect your day. Arabs care about community, and certainly don't want their cousin, uncle, neighbor, etc, to hear anything bad about their family. These kids seemed to know that any bad behaviour would have consequences.
The funniest question I was asked that day was from some middle-school aged boys. They asked, 'fi 3indik dog?' or, 'do you have a dog?'. They didn't know much about America, but they did know that Americans often have pet dogs, and were curious if we had one as well. I told them no, but that my sister in America does. What is interesting about their question is while they asked me in Arabic, they used dog, not kelb, for dog. My theory about this one is that 'kelb' refers to the mangy, street dogs that no one wants as a pet, and 'dog' refers to the cute ones Americans keep in their homes.
These are some of the boys. Tuckered out from playing, I guess. Sort of captures how I feel at the end of the day as well! Life with my 3 little boys is rewarding, but busy and exhausting, too.
~ Um Tulip