Tuesday, September 6, 2011


--The super cool/posh/refined thing to drink with my family here is Turkish Coffee. You make it by boiling ground coffee beans in a pot, and then pouring it into a mini size teacup. The grounds settle to the bottom, and you drink until you get to them. The first time I had it, it did not look at all appealing, but it is definitely growing on me!

Turkish Coffee

--The light switches in my house are the opposite from home! In order to turn the light on, you push the switch down, and to turn it off, you push the switch up. I'm always accidentally plunging the room into darkness when I just meant to turn on a second light. Confuuuusing!

--In my host family's house, the TV is almost always on, and it seems that the only things that are ever playing are 90s American action movies. I've seen more random movies in the last two weeks than ever before in my life (Goodfellas anyone?). Even worse, sometimes people don't realize how old they are, and they ask me if "Americans really dress like that?!" And I have to explain that indeed we did... 20 years ago.

--About 40% of the population in Jordan is actually made up of Palestinians, and apparently the percentage in Amman is more around 80%. After the mass-exodus in 1948, many Palestinians came to Jordan, as it was a close and relatively welcoming country. In fact, about 2 million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, with only about 340,000 still living in refugee camps.

--Amman was originally built on seven different hills, or "Jabals," but now spans 19. Instead of having a "West Side" or a "Tower District," they have "Jabals." You give directions based on these areas, and everyone knows them. For example, I live in Jabal Amman, and the MCC office is in Jebel Weibdeh, two of the oldest areas of Amman. I can tell any taxi driver in the city (whether they speak English or not) which Jabal I want to go to, and I'll get there. 

View from Jebel Weibdeh

--Almost all of the buildings here are made out of concrete or stone, covered with thin slabs of white limestone. This makes it incredibly difficult for me to navigate, since I'm used to having obvious landmarks like: the house with the pink door, or the little log cabin, or the steel office building. I'm getting a little better at this, but it's slow going.

--Some of you may remember the 2005 suicide bombings of the the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Radisson SAS Hotel, and the Days Inn here in Amman that killed 60 and injured 115. Well, I happen to live right across from the Radisson (which has since reopened under the name "Landmark Hotel"), and we have a gorgeous view of it from our kitchen window. I knew that this building looked familiar, but it took me two weeks to place where I knew it from.

Landmark Hotel, Amman

Overall, things in Jordan are wonderful. Language classes are increasingly difficult, and at this point I'm basically just trying to get a firm groundwork of the language that I can build on over the next year, instead of trying to remember every single word, phrase, and concept that we are being taught. I'm definitely a bit overwhelmed, but I just keep telling myself that I only have seven classes left, and so I need to make the most of them.  Because the summer vacation just ended for school-aged children, our language classes have been moved to the afternoon. This is making it a lot easier for me to be awake and functioning in class! I can't believe that I only have another week and a half here in Amman. Soon, I'll be off to Palestine!

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving hearing the details of your life...keep them coming. It puts some 'meat' on the bones of our imaginations; we are getting to travel with you. Looking forward to a real visit this spring.