Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jordan Breaks Down and Collapses [or maybe it is just us]

I successfully took off the difficult (getting to my internship) part of Tuesday for a not-going-crazy day. Then Wednesday happened. We met with Asma before my Political Economy Course to talk about homestays and the general Jordan situation. There is significant tension in one of the houses. That’s because the arrival of a baby on the same day as the student made that whole “getting in with the family” thing a lil bit difficult, if not impossible.

OhMyGod, TurkishCoffee!
I mean while writing this one of the kosher dudes who works here gave me some. Anyway.

Additionally a disconnect between social norms and cues at people’s homes and the norms and things here led to more stress and pressure, and talking about all this led to more stress and pressure and crying and then pseudo-breakdowns. So. Bruce—being awesome-tastic about it once he identifies a problem—declared the day a not-going-crazy day. He cancelled classes, procured goodies, and we all settled in to watch the movie The King’s Speech.

It was an excellent movie, Bruce bought his pirated copy of the DVD for one JD in the Souq, possibly before the film was even out of theaters in the U.S.
Jordan is an amusing place. But the movie was great, and I was a little spellbound.

After that we broke for lunch, and regrouped to plan for Spring break. My plans now: two nights in Petra, two nights on camels, one of which will be in Wadee Rum, two nights in Aqaba because apparently the only thing to do for cheap there is the ocean, and the rest of the break relaxing at home (assuming Ghada is kosher with that).

After confusion and coffeeshops a group of people organized the watching of another movie. Unfortunately the ringleaders of the plot never thought to ask Bruce if it was arright to do it in his apartment. Fortunately when we showed up, Bruce just said “fine, make sure someone stays at my house though ‘cause im’a leave it unlocked” and went to the Gym. We watched Nororious, the Hitchcock movie, and it was entertaining.

So Bruce’s prediction of February being the month of breakdowns and things seems to be coming very true. Jordan seems to be stressful for all of us, though I reckon there might be exceptions.

Arabic mores and customs are hard for us to deal with. On one level they do what they’re supposed to do if you think what they’re supposed to do is build a vibrant, flourishing society. On the other hand if what it’s supposed to do is take in individuals and make things easy for them then it is not good at that. Nowhere will break large bills, for instance, and they will refuse to take money if the denomination is too big.
It makes getting cab money and things very hard. It’s the sort of thing I’ve never had to deal with before. When I get back home I am going to go to Bojangles’ and buying a Sweet Tea with a Fifty. And then I will drink it while skype-ing with everyone I possibly can because I will have a consistent internet connection. Gorram.

It really is a culture of connections, because it’s nigh impossible to do anything without them. This country seems capable of taking in networks of people who are arready close because everyone will have the network’s worth of connections and then the few connections that each individual makes adds up to a sizeable whole. But that’s less than Ideal when you’re a student whose connections in the country could be counted on one hand, and whose group doesn’t really work as a network or with the “connections” system.

But what I need is a connection to tell me how to break large bills.

Oh lawd.

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