Friday, June 1, 2012

A Few Days In

From Monday evening...

It’s nearly 3 am, I’m sitting jetlagged in the living room of our apartment in Jebel Weibdeh, and a rooster is crowing somewhere outside on the street. The past 30 hours have been absolutely ridiculous. I’ve only been in Amman for that long, but enough excitement has happened to fill an entire summer. I don’t think it’s even fully registered that I am IN AMMAN, JORDAN HOLY CRAP. I don’t even know where to start. Or what to describe.The city is beautiful and (as always) not what I expected. Everything is a shade of tan or brown, the city is sprawling with hills and curves and nooks and crannies and geometric buildings everywhere. Flat roofs, quaint hada’iqs (gardens), stray cats, and A LOT of cars. Cars everywhere, driving everywhere, going every kind of speed. I’m terrified to speak Arabic, but am learning quickly. I spoke to a cab driver today, which was exciting. All I said was “a3ndek farta lilkhamsa dinar, low samaht?” (do you have change for a five dinar, if you please?), but it was still SO exciting. The team is getting along fabulously so far, our own little usra (family). The girls went to a French version of Wal-mart called Carrefour and we bought some supplies for the apartment. We ate at a nice café for lunch and then another café called Graffiti which was very Western, but had some much-needed internet and coffee. We had dinner at an amazing place in wasal balad, the city center. It's a place called Hashem's where the people are friendly and the food is delicious and dirt cheap. We then walked to sharia rainbow, where we got ice cream and then ran into (insert alias here)… A tragically romantic character from Syria who cannot return because he is part of the resistance, and is madly in love with our UNC friend who no longer returns his affections. Really long story... Argeela, shai, 8 dinar peanuts, and an incredibly tragic story later, I am back at the apartment, overwhelmed and sleep deprived but surprisingly at peace. I’m super excited to meet with Nuha on Wednesday and finally start the project. This summer is going to be absolutely incredible. 

Updates since then...

Starting to get my bearings and can kind of make my way around the neighborhood. Went to the Citadel, an attraction with old ruins on a hill where you can look down at the city fully 360. We went at sunset with falafal sandwiches from Hashems (new favorite restaurant). At first the guards at the Citadel tried to make us pay them bribes for us to get in, so we just sat down at the gates and started eating our sandwiches until they felt really guilty and let us in anyway. Celia, Nathan, and I went for a grocery shopping adventure yesterday and found a few really nice fruit stands, spice shops, and a bakery. I kept getting confused every time the shop keeper would tell us a price because I would hear $3.50 when he was actually say $.35 because everything was so unbelievably inexpensive. 

We met with the head of FDA, Nuha yesterday. She seems like a very lovely, intelligent, friendly, and strong woman. We'll be assisting in English classes and also going into different homes with FDA staff to talk about the importance of keeping children in school. The home visits will be interesting, and probably tricky at times. A fine line should be drawn between imposing ones cultural values regarding education and simply giving advice or personal experiences. I'm very excited to meet our students on Sunday (work week runs sunday-thursday) and beginning this awesome project! 

1 comment:

  1. This all sounds amazing! I'm so glad you're having a wonderful time! Can't wait to hear more!

    Lots of love!