Tag Archives: Fulbright Program

Proxy Fulbright Mom and the Pros and Cons of Marriage

On her seventy second birthday Fulbright Scholar Zohreh Sullivan was unofficially designated as “Fulbright Proxy  Mom!” Who designated her as Proxy Mom? I did. Why? Zohreh’s passion for cooking, and her generous spirit, insures that all of the Fulbright chicks (male and female) don’t starve during their stints in Jordan.  She also disperses her magic herbal healing potions to those of us who need it. I came down with a nasty cold and happened to mention it to Zohreh. Before I knew it our trusty cab driver Nahid was at my door holding a bottle of Zohreh’s magic potion and a huge container filled with cabbage rice.1 Zohreh's magic potion.

Within a half hour of drinking the potion my sinus headache disappeared and my throat felt normal again. I finished off the container of cabbage rice in three days and was once again ready to brave the world on the other side of my front door. Thank you, Zohreh!

Zohreh invited Fulbright peeps to be her guests at her 72nd birthday party at Rakwet Cafe.  After we were all seated, an incredible spread of Arabic dishes was placed on the table and a Tupperware container filled with a quinoa dish was placed in front me. True to her thoughtfulness, Zohreh created a glutton free dish for glutton allergic me.2 Zohreh's b-day3 Zohreh's b-day.4 Zohreh, Mia, Eda5 Zohreh's b-day.

The most inspirational part of knowing Zohreh is her pride in her age and association of it with her love for her life. Every cab driver and person she talks to is proudly informed that she is seventy-two years old, followed by the many privileges and advantages age has over youth. She honors her age like a victory crown, and wears each year magnificently. Happy birthday, Zohreh!

About a week prior to Zohreh’s birthday party Amira, Zohreh and I went to Majedah’s embroidery shop, Grand Mother’s Dress. 7 Zohreh at Majedah's shop.While we were there Majedah’s mother made a surprise visit . It was wonderful seeing her again.8 Suzanne greeting Majedah's mom. We immediately began talking non-stop. Remember, I know six words in Arabic, and Majedah’s mother knows exactly zero words in English. We discussed the benefits of marriage, she was encouraging me to marry anyone, and I was pointing out the benefits of being single and the horrors of divorce.12 everyone giving advice about men.9 discussing men.As we carried on, rallying back and forth, the two men in the shop intently listened..13 two men watching women talk about men.After our lengthy, adamant conversation we laughed, performed the normal (for the two of us) left cheek-right cheek kisses five times, and I accepted her invitation to eat her delicious stuffed grape leaves at her house at a later date.14 two happily single women.15 two more happily single women.


Thanksgiving Is No Longer Thanksgiving Without Julie’s Sweet Potato Soufflé!

Last night was the annual Fulbright Thanksgiving dinner. It was the nicest, warmest, hospitable evening and the most delicious Thanksgiving dinner that I’ve ever had. Thanks to the efforts of Alain, Iman, the staff, and I’m sure Alain’s wife Kathy Sullivan, it couldn’t have been a nicer evening. Alain welcomed us and made us feel at home before we headed off to the next room to fill our plates. All the Fulbrighter’s were asked to prepare and bring their favorite dish. The main meal spread was outlandishly beautiful and tasty, and three long tables were covered with deserts.

Amira and I worked late yesterday. She wasn’t being picked up until seven o’clock to go home, so she accompanied me to the dinner. It was her very first Thanksgiving dinner. I sat at a table with Nehal, her mother Saleema, Amira, Claire, and a newly employed office assistant and her friend. Claire, Nehal and myself were the only one’s at our table who had experienced a Thanksgiving dinner before. I made sure that everyone at our table ate some of Julie’s absolutely fantastically delicious sweet potato soufflé. I have never tasted such scrumptious sweet potato’s before. I also made sure that the Thanksgiving “newbies” at my table ate cranberries, pumpkin pie and pecan pie. What is Thanksgiving without those foods? Without them it isn’t a true thanksgiving feast. The “newbies” said they had never tasted anything so scrumptious. The company and food were a delight for all of us.

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Thank you Alain, Iman, the staff, and Alain’s wife Kathy Sullivan for the best and happiest Thanksgiving of my life!

Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts

Interesting fact: The country of Jordan is 35,637 square miles in area, that’s approximately the same size as the state of Maine – 35,384 square miles.

Another interesting fact: A few months ago Google put Palestine back on the map. Since first going to Palestine in 1990 I researched “Palestine” continually on the internet. At some point during the later 1990’s, the word “Palestine” disappeared off the internet and world maps. Instead, the world maps denoted Palestine with words such as “West Bank” and “Occupied Territories.” Undeterred by not finding Palestine on the internet, I went to Office Depot to buy a Rand McNally World Atlas denoting Palestine as Palestine. No such luck, Palestine had “gone missing” and remained missing until shortly before I was awarded my Fulbright. In a hurry to gather some updated facts about Palestine for my Fulbright I mistakenly put Palestine in the search bar, rather than West Bank or Occupied Territories, and lo and behold, Palestine popped up! I couldn’t believe my eyes and researched the reason Palestine is ‘back.” Google put Palestine back on the map without telling anyone of their intentions. To me, and the rest of the world, this is monumental!

Now I’m only a day behind in my life. Yesterday, September 11,th I met with Dr. Khaled Khris,  the director of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, and his Assistant Director for Artistic Affairs Bana Fanous. The museum is a gorgeous stone building. Actually the museum is comprised of two buildings, one across two streets with a sculpture garden in the center (click on images to enlarge):

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Dr. Khris’s office is located in the building with the administrative offices, gift shop and exhibition areas.

View from the front door of the museum administrative offices and galleries
View from the front door of the museum administrative offices and galleries
Dr. Khalid Kreis, Director, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Dr. Khaled Khris, Director, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts

Dr. Khris oversaw and traveled an exhibition of the work of 51 Arab women artists from 21 Islamic countries, entitled: ““Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World.” It traveled to various parts of the United States.



The following painting hangs in the foyer leading into his office and was used on the catalogue cover for the exhibition:

Breaking the Veils exhibition painting by Meriem Bouderbala of Tunisia (Untitled)
Breaking the Veils exhibition painting by Meriem Bouderbala of Tunisia (Untitled). Mixed media (28 x 20cm)

Dr. Khris expressed interest in my Seven Women’s House Keys art salon. He stated that he didn’t want to interfere with my time limitations on my project and suggested I make myself at home in the library and exhibition spaces whenever I desire. I offered my services to assist wherever needed and he suggested I come to the gallery on the 23rd or 24th to possibly contribute installation suggestions for the exhibition they will be installing.

Dr. Kreis and Suzanne Klotz
Dr. Khris and Suzanne Klotz

Fulbright Peeps…

David, Suzanne and Randal

Dear People,

So sorry to have sent out eight links to the Old Citadel blog! I am still learning how to use WordPress. Hopefully nothing like that will happen again. 

These are photos of lovely Fulbright Peeps. I’d like to photograph all of the Fulbrighters here in Amman. So, please ask me to snap a couple of pics when I see you! We all need pics! Also, I am always more than happy to snap everyone’s picture, as you can see below! (click on images to enlarge):

Mosaic and rose

I’m posting the following three days late. Each day turns into the next day very fast here. One of these days I’ll catch up with myself.

Today is September 2nd. Mismar, the realtor who handled my apartment rental, is bringing over the four boxes I mailed three months ago via Diplomatic Pouch to the Fulbright House. Each box weighs forty pounds and is filled with art supplies for the women’s art salon. Once the boxes are in my apartment I will feel secure. The boxes are analogous to my future children, aka: my future works of art.

“Mom” Susanna and my adopted Facebook “son” – Son Khaldoon

Later today at 4:00 pm I will be meeting with my Facebook-adopted son, Son Khaldoon, for the first time. We met on Facebook about three months ago. He is twenty-six, lives in the north near the border and takes a bus to Amman where he works at a bank. He is on vacation from the university where he’s studying for a Ph.D. in accounting. Claire, a  Fulbrighter, will be joining us. In Khaldoon’s last email to me he wrote, “You are my American friend.” I’m surprising him, he will soon get to know more than one American. Claire is a school teacher who, luckily for my son and I,  knows Arabic.

The people here are incredibly kind, patient, welcoming and generous. They seem to be from an altered universe, the kind of people that should be everywhere.

Onward! I’ll update the events of the day with photos:

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