So I wasn’t planning on making or maintaining a blog whilst over here, but I figured a random post from time to time would be the best way to keep people updated. This is a really old blog of mine, mainly used during my time in England, but the URL name is more than appropriate for my journey here.
It has officially been a week and a day! I haven’t had internet for the past 3 days, and the wifi on my phone barely works anywhere. Regardless… everything is incredible. I love this place.
Here are random bits and bobs and reflective thoughts of my time here so far:
- I took a placement test yesterday to see which level Arabic I’d get into. It was super hard, as it was all in Fus’ha (Modern Standard Arabic, which I don’t know at all – completely different than conversational Arabic). I also barely know how to read or write… I never formally studied Arabic, but I taught myself reading & writing this summer at a basic level. Anyways, I was definitely expecting to get placed into Level 1, or 2 at the most. Nope… Level 3! This is going to be the most challenging semester of my life.
- Arabic Standard Time holds true even in places such as the University. I didn’t think such a formal, professional institution could run late to things. They do. Also, ten minutes does not mean ten minutes. It means closer to an hour.
- So proud of myself. My building doesn’t have a washing machine or a dryer, so I’ve started hand washing my clothing. Next thing you know I’ll be cooking…
- There is nothing that makes you appreciate your luxuries back home like a nice, cold, freezing shower. I’m going to sound like a wimp, but yes… I cried. It was painful.
- My brothers are going to make fun of me for this, as they think I naively say it about everyone, but… EVERYONE IS SO NICE! Okay, honestly. Yesterday I asked a lady if she could point me to the dining hall and she said, “Harram, are you hungry? Here, take my lunch!” and proceeded to give me her grapes. Also, although Middle Eastern men get a really bad rep for being major creepers (which a lot of them are), the real men here are super nice, too. As soon as they find out I’m new they are willing to genuinely help me to any extent.
- Yeah, so, the bathrooms. Every bathroom on campus is either a hole in the floor, or void of toilet paper (apparently you’re supposed to carry some on you at all times… lesson noted), and they’re both equally dirty & disgusting. Thank God my room is only a 10 minute walk away.
- It’s so hot. Combine hot weather, no air conditioning, strictly modest dress codes, & a lot of walking, and you have one sweaty summer. I haven’t seen a single girl wear anything but pants or long skirts, so I haven’t felt comfortable enough to wear anything but jeans. Also no tank tops, etc. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of cooler weather! (However, there’s no humidity, which makes it all that much more bearable.) But seriously – I will never understand how Muslim girls cope with the heat in their get-ups!
- Driving here is insane. Absolutely ridiculous. I fear for my life every time I get into a car.
- Finally figured out how to avoid gaining weight at relatives’ houses: eat a VERY small portion your first plate around. Food will be heaped onto your plate at LEAST two more times, and you will be expected to eat it. You will also be served an endless amount of tea, coffee, sweets, biz’r, etc.
- Also, your food inhibitions have got to go. I am the absolute pickiest eater ever, but since being here, I’ve eaten meat openly and unhesitatingly, and I’ve even tried chicken liver and RAW MEAT (there was definitely a higher power at work in that).
- Everyone smokes! I mean everyone. A lot.
That’s all for now. Sometimes it’s still so weird to think that I’m here. I’ll hear people speaking Arabic outside my window, or cars blasting Arabic music down the street, and I’ll be like, hey, that’s Arabic! Then I remember I’m in Jordan. What an incredible country full of incredible people. I am blessed to be here!
(P.S. If you’re a believer, please pray that I’d find a church, as well as a job [preferably being able to teach English somewhere/somehow]. I am definitely in need of Christian fellowship as well as an income! Thank you.) :)