Saturday, March 29, 2008

Visitors Abound

Last Monday the Atlas in me reared its ugly head. A college friend I'd seen twice in the past 20+ years, his wife whom I didn't know well, and their four children were coming from eastern Europe to spend a week with us.
It must be noted that I live in a large villa that starts getting dirty as soon as the mop is put away. I also have a broken arm and six children. We haven't had a maid since January.
How would I look after 14 people with one good arm, a busy husband, and children of our own who are wonderful but seem to have amnesia when it comes to the virtues of tidiness?
To top it off, M's Very-Important-Boss was flying in from Washington, DC, and would visit us this week, too. The man is practically a legend in M's work sphere. I'd never met him before, so I was doubly intimidated.
That made 15 for dinner. I've taken some cooking classes in Abu Dhabi from a friend who's a retired chef, but I'm far from being talented in the kitchen.
So. I honestly don't know why I worry so much. The week went very well, even the night that M preferred take-out over my planned menu and then the Lebanese Flower had no drivers. (We opted for Chinese delivery, which was awful but noone seemed to mind. In fact, all were delighted I didn't cook - should I take that the wrong way?)
It was almost surreal to walk down a street in Abu Dhabi with one of my closest friends from college. I remember ambling along Washington DC streets with this fellow more than 20 years ago, comiserating about schoolwork and the ups and downs of our social lives, and laughing a lot.

Now my college chum and I have ten children between us. He and his family, Americans living in Moldova, were flexible and helpful. They were interested in getting to know the UAE. Their two-year-old daughter calls her mother "mamushka." (Pardon the spelling.) After a great but lengthy tour of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, their nine-year-old son hugged me at the Marina Mall and said, "Now you've brought me to another great place." Charming. My friend's wife was lovely; we had much in common and talked until after midnight more than once.

Our guests told us about Moldova, and we told them about Abu Dhabi. Yesterday, when I happened to meet a lady from Russia, I could discuss that region with more knowledge than before.

M's boss was as kind and gracious as a person could be. He had no ego, was a world-class listener, even with the children, and showed appreciation for even the smallest things I did for him. I got great satisfaction from overruling him when he attempted to help clear the dinner table.


American Muslima Writer said...

That must have been very intimidating. With one visitor I'm intimidated much less 15!!!! Congrats for pulling it off and just shrug aside the cooking comments hehehe. Not all of us are great chefs at heart.

Frances Gunnison said...

I always get nervous before people come for dinner or to stay and then I am so glad we did it! I know my friends were worried about the timing of their trip because of my arm, but they came and we had a fun and now we have nice memories.