Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Going to the Grocery Store
As I get settled into Amman, I'm realizing that some everyday occurrences are both exciting and daunting. Taking a walk is fun since I get to soak up new sights and familiarize myself with my new neighborhood, or just enjoy the sunshine and get to know the different areas of Amman. On the other hand, there is a lot of head turning in my direction, which is occasionally accompanied by a 'what's up' in English, a whistle or something in Arabic that I don't yet understand. Given my somewhat shy nature, this can be a little unnerving to me, depending on how I'm feeling that particular day.
Doing simple things like going to the grocery store alone makes me a bit nervous as I haven't yet learned how to say "Could you please help me with this, I have no clue what I'm doing". Today for example, I saw a delicious display of nuts and seeds but did not see bags to put them in and wasn't sure where to weigh them. I'm sure I was a funny sight when I went up to the cashier and said in Arabic, "I don't know how to.." while pointing at the display of nuts. I did recently learn how to say nuts, but I thought "I don't know how to nuts" would sound more awkward than it already did. Lucky for me, the man assisted me and, either taking pity on me or hoping to strike up a conversation (in very limited Arabic) gave me the nuts for free. Whew, that wasn't so bad but now it's on to the fruit and vegetable section.....
On the way home, with my short blond hair, green striped t-shirt and reusable orange grocery bag, I'm sure I was a sight. Using reusable bags haven't quite caught on here so it's one more thing to make me stick out thus far. And I really need to learn how to say "I have my own bag" instead of just awkwardly giving the bag to whoever is bagging the groceries.
I was pleasantly surprised the other day to find that we have the super satellite television at the apartment so I have a choice of a couple hundred TV stations. So I can still watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and hopefully be able to watch Ugly Betty when the new season starts. At this point, I think I would be overwhelmed if I tried to watch anything in Arabic. "ah...I did understand the words door, buy, understand, apricots, nuts and window, but I generally have no clue what's going on"
After I inquired about where to take the garbage, I was notified that we just put the garbage out in the stairwell and the tenant comes to pick it up every day. In that moment I realized that although American have a reputation for being lazy, we do take our own garbage out, and that gave me a good laugh.