Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday's the New Friday, and So the Adventure Begins

The first full day of my ten-month adventure in Jordan is done, and one of the things I'm getting used to is "weekend shift".  Here, the day of worship is Friday, and the weekend is Friday and Saturday.  That makes Thursday night equivalent to our Friday night and Sunday is the first day of the work week. Right now it's Friday morning (we're seven hours ahead of Vermont), and not much is open because it's the equivalent of Sunday morning in a Christian country.

So, I thought I'd do a quick post about the two conclusions I've come to after my first 24 hours here. They are:

1.  It's good to be a Fulbrighter, especially in Amman.  Being a Fulbrighter means that someone meets you at the airport and carts you and your luggage back to a hotel.  It means that there will be some sort of orientation after your arrival and someone to turn to for advice.  In Amman it means more than that, because there is a full-fledged Fulbright Commission, headed by a charming executive director, Alain, with a host of helpful staff, all housed in an actual office/home that you can visit. Being a Fulbrighter also means that you'll be in good company, with a pack of other new arrivals, some of whom will already know the country intimately and speak Arabic fluently, others who will be brand new to the whole scene.  But all of them will be interesting, because they are the sort of people undaunted by the prospect of taking a chunk of time out of their lives to go somewhere completely different to live and learn and be challenged in ways they can't really anticipate in advance.  Which brings me to conclusion 2:
Obviously, I had to go back to my favorite Amman hangout, Books @ Cafe, during my first 24 hours here.  Here are my new friends, Tess, who will also be teaching (nursing) at the University of Jordan this year, and Christina and Elizabeth, who are here as Fulbright student fellows doing research and Arabic language work.

2.  No matter how much you try to prepare for a trip like this, you can't.  Of course I am already wishing I would have packed some different clothes (less short sleeved tops and more with 3/4 or long sleeves, plus more formal clothes), taken 12 passport pictures (which I did and then threw out both times I went to Tanzania for extended stays), and brought different books.  But even more than the packing is the mental prep, which I guess is just impossible.  There's no way of knowing how things will unfold until they do. You can't force it, and that's one of those life lessons I keep having to re-learn.  Experiences like this are good for that.
It gets a little chilly at night (hence the scarf) and we stayed at Books long enough to get the spectacular view of Amman in the evening.  A great way start my first Thursday (Friday-ish) night in Jordan.

Next week we have orientation and the University of Jordan opens and (fingers crossed) I'll find a home for the next ten months.  I'm sure there will be plenty to post about, but for now,

1 comment:

  1. You look beautiful :)
    It's going to be a wonderful time. Can't wait to see you, so soon, and I can bring whatever you have forgotten or wished you had!