Monday, September 22, 2014

Stuffie love

Here's another entry in the "it takes a village...of young Arab men" category of baby-raising experiences here.

The grocery store checkout line this afternoon was long, so I let Sterling out of the cart to walk around a little as we waited. He was instantly drawn to a large display of colorful beanie baby-type stuffed animals with huge, shiny eyes. Sterling can't say anything other than "uh-oh," but with lots of coos and goos and smiles, he let everyone in line know how enchanted he was with these stuffed animals. Then, using his new-found skill of "sharing," he chose a stuffed animal from the display and tried to give it to the two teenaged guys behind us in line.

Speaking of - it is common practice here to let someone behind you in line go ahead of you if you have a lot of things in your cart and they only have one or two. I think this is the norm in the US, too, except here, people will often just go in front of you without really asking. Since my cart is almost always full, I almost always end up letting someone go in front of me. The other day, I let FIVE people go in front of me.

The teenagers behind me were only buying a bottle of water, so I asked if they wanted to go ahead. They declined, which, since going in front of me would have been the norm, was really a nice thing to do.

Anyway, when it was our turn to check out, I had Sterling put back his precious stuffed animal.

But then! I was walking out to the parking lot and who came up to me but the two teenagers who had been behind me in line. One of them handed Sterling the stuffed animal he'd been playing with and said, "excuse me, but we just really wanted to give this to him since he liked it so much."

THEY BOUGHT THE STUFFED ANIMAL FOR HIM. Just like that. I'm pretty sure Sterling thinks this is the best thing to ever happen to him. And I can't get over how nice that was! Hooray for Arab teenaged boys!


Señora H-B said...

This makes my day in a way that I should probably be embarrassed by, or something. I don't care. Sterling's face is ADORABLE and the story just ups the cute factor!

Liz Johnson said...

That is ADORABLE! Also, I'm pretty sure that would never happen here. I hate to overgeneralize, but... yeah.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I too adore this story, and am also pretty sure it wouldn't happen here. Not because people are not kind and caring. I think here we have social boundaries that prohibit indulgent kindness. In the US if you bestowed a gift on a random child a parent might think you are trying to wedge your way into their life for illicit purposes. Or that you contaminated the gift in some way. Sad, isn't it. We used to be trusting, and I'm super glad there are still places that are.

Susanne said...

Aw, sweet! And clearly Sterling is so happy with his new toy!

Suzanne, your comment reminded me of this from an Arab friend who lived in Missouri for many years. He just recently returned to Jordan. You may enjoy this:

Hannah said...

That's such a nice story! I love the picture of Sterling smiling with the stuffed animal.

Bridget said...

Susanne, that post is so interesting! Everyone should go read it!

Yes, Jeremy and I were commenting that this would be so unlikely to happen in the US, at least not with two teenaged boys. The attitudes are so different here. And don't worry, Senora H-B, I can't get over how nice it was, either!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Susanne, I'm happy for the writer who learned American ways before he got into trouble. I wish it didn't have to be that way. But even in my childhood Mom warned us about not getting into a car with a stranger (and to run home immediately to report an incident to Mom). However, we were allowed latitude in roaming around, even playing in the park without a parent (as long as we had other children with us--group safety I guess).

Jen said...

I love this so much. SO SO MUCH.

jaraad said...

Hi Bridget,

I wrote a long comment using my tablet but it seems it didn't go through. So, here is my second attempt :)

I am Malik, the one who wrote the post Susanne posted above. Culture is beautiful once we embrace our differences.

I lived 12 years in the States and now moved back to Jordan. I am now in a reverse culture shock state :) I experienced something very awful couple of days ago that I wanted to write about. I am shocked that this bad practice also common in the UAE, one of the wealthiest and most culturally diverse nation. A 20 something woman stood in front of me while I was waiting my turn at the cashier, without saying anything. When she noticed that I was in awe and wanting to say something she showed me her five purchased items and told me just those. I thought this behavior is unacceptable and can only happen in my poor country, Jordan.
I started reading and loving your blog recently, especially the ones about your last trip to Germany. But, this is I think my first comment. I haven't read your blog since I came to Jordan, almost a month now.
I am glad you liked my post. Thanks for embracing a different culture and accepting these teenagers' gift.

Bridget said...

Hi Jaraad, you are most welcome here! I really enjoyed your blog post. Enjoy Jordan.


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