Growing up in the Northwest part of the United States made me accustomed to spiders, ants, frogs, mice, cats, dogs, some snakes and the other usual creatures! I was not, as I have previously explained accustomed to cockroaches. Another shock to me was……. the lizard!
I walked into the kitchen one day, a big, tiled, empty room, so anything was easy to spot! As I entered I noticed a toy left on the floor. It was strange and I didn’t remember seeing this before!! I bent over to scoop it up and put it some where else so I could mop! As I bent, a darting image flew past and a wiggly something left behind. I am not a screamer at heart but I let out a huge scream!!! What was that???? I had never seen something like it and then it was gone. Was it a snake, a bug, what??? I ran out of the kitchen and shut the door. I put a towel under the door and sat, heart pounding, quite frantic!
The boys were at school so I gathered up the little kids and ran downstairs to the door that separated the two villas. I knocked, no pounded on the door that lead to Um Abdullah’s house. She opened the door and looked at my face ushering me quickly inside. AISH FEKE AISH FEKE???!!! (What’s wrong ?) she shouted as she grabbed my arm leading me into the sitting room. I spoke little to no Arabic and she spoke absolutely no English. I tried to tell her in my broken Arabic that I had seen this animal, thing. After I settled down I assumed it was some type of lizard. I had no idea how to say lizard and so I acted it out as best I could. She laughed and finally brought her son’s text book full of colorful pictures. She leafed through the pages pointing first to a RAT! My mind then wandered to the question were there rats? What else might be lurking in the sewers besides cockroaches??? There were Cats (Kita) Dogs (kelb) Chickens (dijaj) and Cockroaches (Sarsoor). No, none of these was the visitor in my kitchen!! We had some tea, I used the phone to call an American lady who had visited one day, and I left back up to the villa!
You have to cook, eat and function so, the door was opened again and….no lizard, only the remnant of it’s tail left behind! But at least I got to know the hospitality and open door of Um Abdullah! After that I saw lizards frequent the outside of the brown, plastic windows, their feet looked like suction cups and I felt as if I were in a zoo with them looking in at me, much to my terror!! Of course I learned to get used to lizards and saw them in each home we lived in!