Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trepidation

My departure is only a few days away and although I'm pretty excited for all that lies ahead, there are a few things I'm a bit apprehensive about.

The Airport: It seems some of my meds are not available in Jordan so I'm bringing nearly a years supply of several of them. Here's to hoping I don't get arrested for drug trafficking at the Queen Alia airport.

The Heat: I have heard it's very hot in Jordan but on the bright side (so I've heard) it's a dry heat so in reality it should be easier to bear than the heat in Toledo which is quite humid. It's been compared to the heat in Arizona. Unfortunately someone today notified me that the heat is absolutely unbearable in Arizona. So much so that people don't really go outside unless necessary. I have no air conditioning in my room so this scares me. I envision long nights sleeping on the couch under the AC unit covered with frozen peas....or frozen okra. Don't be surprised if I post a photo of me walking in the the city with an umbrella and one of those electric fans that people carry around at Cedar Point. I'm not exactly going to blend in as it is so why not go all out?

My Grammar: I read in my 'Teaching ESL' book that some students who study English as a second language know English grammar better than native speakers. This scares me. I haven't had proper grammar lessons in who knows how long. Luckily I'm bringing 'The Grammar Bible' with me and will read it diligently. My friend Gretchen who just earned her Masters in Journalism and will be teaching at the same school, will no doubt be answering a lot of my questions. Give it a few weeks and she'll regret ever having wanted to share an apartment.

Waiting in Lines, Bureaucracy and Getting Stuff Done: The Middle East is a lot less organized when it comes to bureaucracy, waiting in line and generally getting things done. I'm not making a personal judgment yet but this is what I've read and heard multiple times. Waiting in line here is generally a pretty orderly experience; you wait patiently in a straight line until it is your turn. In the Middle East, whoever pushes their way to the front first gets served. I have rarely if ever engaged in the sport of line pushing and I'm afraid I'll be horrible at it. Plus I don't know how to say "hey, you cut!" in Arabic. And even if I did, I'm sure I would get very strange looks in response.

Food: Don't get me wrong, I love love love Middle Eastern food but I know from previous experience that I'm really going to miss things like sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffed pork chops, Taco Bell (don't laugh foodie elitists) ice cream with peanut butter topping, kettle corn and the variety of cuisines one can so easily access in the US; Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, etc. There are a variety of restaurants in Amman to be sure, it's what they won't have that scares me.

Hospitality: Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to experiencing the Middle Eastern hospitality that I've heard so much about. But I also know that this hospitality (tea, snacks, food) can lead to an ever expanding waist line. Is using diabetes (that I don't have) as an excuse to turn down sweet tea and desserts unethical?

5 comments:

  1. I wish you safe travels and a wonerful life experience abroad! I do however wish you hadn't mentioned ice cream with peanut butter topping, which I am now in the mood for and certainly don't need (pats his tummy).
    Tyler

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  2. Thanks Tyler! I had my last sundae with peanut butter topping yesterday, it was deeeelicious!

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  3. if you like the Tango came to my house (my blog) a kiss and a hug

    Fede Hammelinn

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  4. You can always wear icepacks in your undies, while you're waiting in line patiently (no pushing) for your fast food falafel that you will purchase from a VERY friendly and hospitable falafel vendor who's wife works as a bureaucratic diplomat and is very forgiving of poor grammar with "these silly Americans." She is secretly known also to have a peanut butter stash somewhere, but it would be extremely impolite to sneak into the embassy in search of the peanut butter. Don't do this, please.

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  5. On top of everything, you really forgot to mention the best cuisine in the world, which is Serbian.

    I will pretend that I did not see anything, but please do not make the same mistake in writing anymore...

    I hope you enjoy all kinds of different and delicious food...

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