Wednesday, May 25, 2011

عيد الاستقلال

So…65 years ago today, Britain asked the UN to end the British Mandate rule in Transjordan and King Abdullah became king. We celebrated Jordan’s independence today! First, we went to a restaurant by Gabal Hussein and had some shuarme, then walked to an easy green for some kunafe. Traffic was crazy because roads were blocked for the parade. As we ate, military planes flew by in formation. Jordan flags were everywhere, so I bought one. I panicked when I realized I’d be outside all day and I had forgotten to put on sunscreen. My poor little nose always gets sunburned. I found the nearest pharmacy who was selling it for 17 JD. Sorry nose, you weren’t worth it. Then we headed near the bridge where we saw a platform where music was being played and people were everywhere. Fancy guys in fancy matching outfits were dancing. To my surprise I found aussie and skye standing on the platform. I headed over there and chilled with the group of people waiting for the parade. The music was loud and everyone was cheering for the king and dancing with each other. Skye joined in on the dancing and it was hilarious. I was proud. Military groups walked by, along with dudes on horses and camels. Little kids danced in the street. We hung out there about two hours awaiting the appearance of the king and queen. When they did come, they were in black shaded cars going about 40 miles an hour. So, I didn’t see them. Lamesauce. Later that night, we went to a restaurant in the balid for fruit drinks. It was an exciting celebration. I think I like it better than screeching fireworks and bbq. Long live the king! Eysh, eysh, eysh!

check out the pic! pretty sweet! ill post pics from today on fb soon.

belly fat ladies

The other day I met two women who I like to call the belly fat ladies. Janae and I were going to a salon that we like to get her hair cut. Sadly, the lady she wanted to cut her hair was gone. So we decided to go to another salon nearby. As I walked in and took one look at the establishment and the women inside, I knew that it was going to get weird. These two women were probably around 50. The first one was wearing a tight red tank top that ended above her belly button; Tight, low rise skinny jeans that did not fit. Black fish net something or other between her pants and shirt, (it was like a net to hold her belly fat in?..didn’t quite understand that one) and oddly I found it interesting that she was wearing socks with heel wedges that were about an inch smaller than her feet. The second woman was wearing a blue tank top that went to her belly button with tight, low sweats. She too was wearing shoes too small for her as she stood on the back heel of them. This one would put a bunch of make up on and then take it all of off, to apply another different coat on that was equally unflattering. A friend of theirs sat in the corner with her baby smoking a hookah. As smoke clouded my view of Janae getting her haircut I awaited the arrival of these women’s pimps. We left just in time, because they never came. 

venting machine

So, as wonderful as Jordan is, there are some things that aren’t so much. I can deal with not taking a shower every day and wearing clothes that I wouldn’t wear unless I was an extra in a golden girl’s episode. That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t like that everywhere I go EVERYONE looks at me. It’s super annoying. Smiling and talking in English increases my chances of guys whistling of making rude comments, so I walk quickly and stare at the ground whenever I’m in my neighborhood. I feel kindof invisible sometimes and that I have to lose part of myself just so I can walk down the street safely. Transportation is sometimes stressful. Even opening my mouth to speak Arabic can be stressful. Work can be emotionally exhausting. And at the end of the day while walking up three flights of stairs I think, why do I have live on the third floor!

I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean the other day in a new theatre on Rainbow Street. It was nice to hear and understand English. I think I seriously forgot that I was in Jordan, because I was surprised at the shukran that came out of my mouth as I was leaving. I was like ‘oh ya, I’m in Jordan….that’s cool.’

However, the simple cure is Diet Pepsi, a good laugh, fleet foxes, and/or a nap. J

ya salamti!

So I’ve been pressured and inspired by the women here in Jordan, along with my roomies. I willingly accompanied them on a ‘let’s go try out this waxing place’ adventure. I got my arms waxed. Didn’t hurt too bad. Nbd. I also got my lower legs waxed to try it out. I should have known better. I know that I have sensitive legs and most of the time they can’t handle shaving. Tmi I know, but it’s true and everybody knows it. Basically it hurt like a mother. It hurt the worst on the ankles and the mean wax lady was not gentle; the pain just kept coming and coming, and didn’t stop for a long time. I’m never doing it again. I’ll take razor burn that last an hour than two days, any day. 

west side story

So this past weekend I explored the West side of Amman. On Friday, we went to Souq Gara on Rainbow Street. Every week people set up booths selling beautiful art and jewelry, amongst handmade accessories and food. Afterwards, there is a concert.  The vibe there is totally different than in the balid. Basically, all the hip people hang out on Rainbow Street and the west side. On Saturday, we went to the first, second, third and seventh circles, along with c-town and the city mall. I bought some supplies I needed to teach my classes in the first circle. At the second circle, I was introduced to my first shuarme at Reem’s. It was delicious. I love that shuarme is different every place I go to.  I haven’t decided which is better yet. However, I did find my new favorite thing; Fruit Salad. The first thing you see when you walk in is 15 beautiful pictures on the wall displaying various ways to combine every fruit imaginable and flavored ice-cream in huge glass vases. It was wonderful. A new goal of mine for this summer is to try every single one. One  down, 13 to go! C-town in the seventh circle is a good place to buy familiar pharmacy supplies. I’ve also noted that it’s the only place I can buy Diet Pepsi cans in bulk. The city mall is super expensive and has a lovely grocery store inside for basically anyone who wants to buy American brands of ingredients and food. Overall, I like that I live in the old city so I can appreciate both worlds. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Parkour anybody?

I have arrived. Amman is amazing. My apartment is in the old city on al-Ashrafiya hill. Our apartment is on the third floor and it has a beautiful view from our balcony. I can't help but imagining Michael and Dwight parkouring it up around the city. Amman is the best setting to do so. These last couple days I've been exploring the balid. I have always known that I don’t have any sense of direction, but it’s definitely becoming more apparent here. I've gotten lost more days than I’ve been here. However, it’s given me a chance to see and explore more and I love it! I’m also looking forward to my legs of steel when I return after walking up so many hills and stairs. I would consider myself an aggressive driver, so I appreciate the traffic here. Everybody just drives where ever they want and you better get out of the way. If the car doesn't fit, it finds a way through.
A week before I left I met an Iraqi women at Wal-Mart and I told her I was going to Jordan. She said that Jordan had the best kunafe and shararme and I can attest now that she is correct! I have been eating very well here; Falafel, shararme, kabab sandwiches, the best orange juice I’ve had, humus, pita bread, tea, kunafe, zatar mena’sh, baklava…etc. I’m looking forward to learning how to make all of these and more. I started my official work at the center I’ve been assigned to. It has great resources for me to work from and I hope that I can be helpful. The communication is a challenge, but I look forward to increasing my language skills! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

here's the story morning glory

Alrighty, my bags are packed and my electronics have been labeled. I’m off to Amman, Jordan! I’m in for the long hall, eight months. I will be working as an intern for the Ministry of Social Development for the spring and summer and studying Arabic at a university in the fall. Friends and family have requested that I start a blog to update them on my amazezazing adventures. I will try to update frequently and lay off the handsome Arab boys!