Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home in Jordan

It's Tuesday night in Amman, and tomorrow it will be a week since I arrived in Jordan.  We're in the midst of our Fulbright Orientation, but for the first two days we'd break after lunch and pile into vans to tour the city of Amman and pursue the all-important task of finding our homes away from home for the next 6 to 15 months (mine is ten). As Fulbrighters go, we're particularly lucky because here in Jordan we have a full-fledged commission, with an awesome staff looking after our welfare.  Last night we had a lovely dinner in our honor at the giant Mezza Restaurant, and I thought I'd put in a picture of our hosts, the Fulbright Commission staff.
Our awesome Fulbright staff -- Fearless Leader Alain, Eman, Aya, Jawad and Miracle Worker Iman
Thanks mainly to the amazing efforts of Iman, who somehow manages to get our whole group (and I think there are about three dozen -- scholars, students and English teaching assistants (ETAs)) housed with astonishing speed, I was able to find and move into my new place after only two nights in a hotel.

My apartment is in a residential neighborhood in an area called Shmeisani, which is about halfway between the heart of the downtown and the University of Jordan.  It's also made my life personally easier this week, because it's only about two blocks from the "Fulbright House" where the Fulbright Commission works and where we go for everything from our mail to crisis management.
Here I am in front of my new building, pleased as punch that I'm done lugging suitcases up the stairs.

I'm the smaller rear apartment on the top floor

Bonus! The chance for sweets, tea breaks and sitting outside just down the street
The inside of my apartment is a bit worn on the edges, but very spacious and airy. Like all the others we looked at, it's already furnished and has mainly tile floors and lots of dark wood furniture.  I picked it because it was midway between some places where I thought I'd spend a good amount of my time; it was on the top (third) floor (cool, except for the day I climbed up the three flights of stairs with my big fat suitcase and duffel to move in); has two bedroom (with two single beds in the guest bedroom for visitors!); and most importantly, it has a large balcony that runs the length of the guest bedroom and living room. Here are a few inside views:
My new friend Tess stayed with me a couple days while she was apartment-hunting, and here she is in the living room. She just found herself a palatial gem and I'm already calling dibs on her oven for Christmas cookie -baking.

The whole American disintegration-of-the-family-meal-thing hasn't hit Jordan.  All the apartments I've seen, including mine, have full dining rooms with plenty of room for the whole family to eat together. 

Plenty of space for sitting outside and enjoying the sunshine.
So, that's my new place. Here's hoping that at least a few of my nearest and dearest will be inspired to come see it for themselves!