Wednesday, January 2: This morning, Mike, Alex and Adam come to the University of Nizwa to visit my class. My 26 female students introduce themselves to my family, and then the boys introduce themselves to my girls. I had given the girls, who are all the most basic Level 1, a homework assignment to write three questions each for my boys. They still have not learned how to make proper questions, despite much effort on my part to the contrary, and I wanted them to practice on some Westerners. However, they have all unilaterally decided that they are finished with this semester, even though they’re really NOT, so they don’t make any questions at all. It is a much more awkward interaction than the one my boys had last January with my Level 2 students, who were much more capable of having conversations.
In the afternoon, we make a major trip to the Lulu Hypermarket, where we load up on fruits and vegetables for my vegan boys, along with some warm roti, their favorite Indian bread. We treat ourselves to date and papaya lassis, and head home to prepare black bean soup for a small gathering I have organized, so my dearest friends can meet my boys.
The party ends up being quite a cozy and fun affair, with Kathy, Mario, Anna, Malcolm and Sandy in attendance, as well as our whole family. We talk about the humongous fruits in Mario’s childhood gardens in El Salvador, whales in St. John’s, Newfoundland, old television shows like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and The 1948 Show and Monty Python’s “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!” We eat Mario’s fabulous black bean dip, Adam’s black bean soup & guacamole, Anna’s brie & grapes, my colleague Fouzia’s gift of chocolate cake, and Kathy’s white chocolate cake. Laughs and wine and hugs abound. What a way to welcome in the new year!