So I’am here. Monday I boarded a plane full of crying babies, women in headscarves, travel prayers and a convenient compass on the TV showing me which way the Ka’abah (Mecca) was in relation to the plane. I got in yesterday at 5pm, and was pick up by my Host Counselor, Yousef, a very nice Palestinian Christian. The airport is a little outside the city, “on the edge of the desert”. It was a little too stereotypical with what looked like huge sand storms surrounding everything. When we got into the city there was less sand to blow around and the weather was super nice. I was shown around Amman, which has a very distinctive white block look, everything (except a few new buildings) is built out of a white or grayish block, the white ones came from outside Jeruselem and now the grey ones which are better come from southern Jordan. The driving was as I expected, hectic. I didnt realize how much I missed the smell of gasoline, the persistent honking and the lack of lanes. Its like one big puzzle, but instead of stationary pieces on a board, its moving cars on a street. You could call it chaotic, or just another way to drive. I like it.
I went to the university today to go to the orientation for the language center, but it was postponed until tomorrow. I walked around and checked it out, its nice, low key but with a lot of young people. Once I am able to speak a little it will be a lot better, there seem to be a lot of cool people around. As for the Arabic, it’s intimidating. Its the first time in a long time that I have been somewhere and not been able to communicate, its frustrating but its good to experience it. It only makes me even more committed to learning. On top of the university classes I think I’m going to take some Colloquial night classes at another place, I really want to learn.
The people I am staying with, Yousef and his brother and his wife, along with their mother, all live in the same apartment building but different apartments. We ate with their mother this morning, a 90 year old Palestinian women, she’s really sweet but needs a lot of taking care of. She’s a little out of it because of her age but she used to speak english and remembers some. She had a newspaper with a picture of the King, she kept saying, “The best” and then would look at the other picture which was of volley ball players and say “look at this” and then laugh. She did that about three times. She also seems to like to ask me in Arabic, if I understand english, haha. The family were all born in Jaffa (near Tel Aviv) but had to leave in 1948, they had over 50 acres of land, and you can tell the brothers are still bitter about it (they were young when they left). Its not hard to forget that the majority of Jordanians are Palestinians, and obviously the are still resentful about having to leave. I asked them about Obamas speech, and they said it was good, it was a change in rhetoric that they dont normally hear from Americans. But it was same promises as always. They said it was nice but makes no real difference, they said Obama may want change but the rest of the government wont let them. Its interesting, and dont even get them started on Iraq, that’ll be for next time.
But everythings good, its hot, its confusing and I’m excited to learn.