Winter? Kinda. The temperature has fallen into the fifties and sixties this past week. I make my morning coffee clumsily, wrapped in an unwieldy blanket cocoon, and long sleeves finally seem like a reasonable thing to wear outdoors. You might think that the onset of fall would kick up our girls' enthusiasm for sports a notch or two now that playing soccer no longer feels like sprinting around in the Sahara at high noon, but you'd be wrong. We're still averaging two pretend sprained ankles and three or four totally irrelevant excuses per day. "I cannot play basketball," they'll say. "My tooths, they hurt." The toothache excuse is a chart-topper, for some unexplainable reason; I don't know why they all feel that this will be the key to getting them out of sports. We're doing ballgames, not a hot-dog eating contest.
We have to carry the balls through the market most days on our way to school. Oh man. Western women get stared at a lot here no matter what, but try being a Western woman with a soccer ball. Butchers shout out "Barcelona!", young boys on the street try to snatch the prize from your hands, and fruit vendors pause their pitches to call "football, football!"
Sometimes celebrity can get wearing, though, and we often leave our sport equipment at the boy's school when we can, just as Madonna will put on dark shades when she goes to the supermarket. Think this does the trick? Think again. One old man, pushing past us yesterday with a brimming bag of apples and taking stock of our possessions, yelled out "what happened to the footbaaaaalll?" I was taken aback for a minute- who is this dude and how does he know what we usually carry? Ten minutes later, a boy I've never seen before in my life shouted "Sierrraaa!" from a third-floor balcony. I still can't read Arabic, but I don't think it would surprise me to find out that the Nablus newspapers were running headlines like "ELLEN DEVELOPS FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS" or "AJANEB FLAT LOOKS LIKE TORNADO HIT, SOURCES SAY". (By "sources" I mean Abu Saadi, who popped up for a looksee the other day and has since been encouraging us in the strongest terms to invest in a maid).
Some pictures, all taken by Mr. Nick:The view from the roof of our apartment.
The briefly-danced-upon van I mentioned ages ago.