Damsels and Doorknobs

مرحباً Greetings from Jordan

It’s hard to believe that I was in America not even ten days ago.  Time moves so slowly here, but it’s a good kind of slow because it allows you to take a step back and soak everything in like a sponge.

After arriving in Amman, we stayed at a lovely hotel for one night and then moved into our apartments the next day.  There are twelve of us living in apartments, which makes me happy that I have such a great support system for times when we~hypothetically~cannot open our door (not really a hypothetical situation).  The first night alone we spent, in order, unpacking, searching for food, eating hummus and falafel, getting lost, finding the apartments again, trying to open our door, having one of the other students open it for us, and then falling asleep to the sound of Amman.

The rest of the week was spent in orientation sessions where we learned “survival Arabic”, which consisted of learning some colloquial phrases to help us navigate the city.  Contrary to big cities like New York, in Amman, you tell your taxi driver landmarks, not the street you wish to go to, even if that landmark ceases to exist.  That is not to say there aren’t street signs, of which there are plenty, but that people prefer to use landmarks rather than list street names.  So, if your apartment is on King Abdullah II street, you would tell the driver what landmark it is near, such as a hospital and the circle where it is located. Its different from the city (NYC), where I am used to telling the driver Park and First, but I’m hoping that it will help me improve my colloquial arabic.

I almost wish I had more colloquial words under my belt a couple of nights ago when Sarah and I faced a huge barrier in trying to open our door.

Sarah and I became pretty friendly with our neighbor the second night in our apartment.  Before I go on, please understand that it’s pretty hard to open our door here and I was convinced that witchcraft had something to do with it.  I digress-one fine evening, upon returning from dinner, bellies full from a delicious meal, Sarah and I found ourselves quite distraught because we could not open the door.  No matter which way we turned the key, the door would not budge.  We were probably causing a ruckus between the sounds of the key turning in the lock and our groans of frustration at the lights turning off on us every couple of seconds.

Lo and behold, we met our first neighbor.  Although we did not speak a single word of the local dialect and his English was very broken, he was able to get the idea that we were very new and our door was under some kind of spell preventing us from getting in.  He then gestured for us to give him the key and lo, the door opened for him.  We thanked him tremendously and he bid us goodnight.

(Little did we all know that he would help us out again the next night and the night after that, until the guard finally showed us how to open the door on our own.)

My advice to anyone who is locked out of their apartment in Jordan, don’t be afraid to ask the neighbors,they are very nice people and will help you if you ask nicely.

That’s all my mind can come up with for today, but there will be more to write as I continue on with my adventures in Jordan.

Until next time!xoxo,

Ashleigh

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