Monday, March 14, 2011


I am now glad for every frustration I have had in this country. Yesterday our American counterparts in Jordan came through; all 30 of them. This is their big spring break trip, which originally was to Egypt. We heard grand stories of constant binge drinking in Jordan, as well as in Oman. (They have been here for two days.) They walked in all sporting traditional parts of dress. Women were wearing Kumas; the male only hats. Gender roles stateside are much less played up or dictated. However here they are important: the looks they got from our liberal-by-Oman-standards teachers signified this was going to be interesting. There isn't really anything close to comparison stateside, except maybe a man walking into a university with short shorts, a tank top, and flowers in his hair.
We lead completely and totally different lives than many of them. The amount of drinking was astronomical. It is even weirder as I know Jordan, and I know it pretty well. In the two summers I was there, I didn't drink once. There are plenty of things to do, and although alcohol can be a part of Jordanian society, it doesn’t have to be, and isn’t for the vast majority of Jordanians. One can have all the social interactions and feel good attitude at a cafe with shisha or tea. If one wanted to drink; stay at home for it is much cheaper.
They asked us what we do on weekends, and as much as I complain about our lack of tangible experiences, I have something here I never would have gotten elsewhere: a family. In Egypt I had very close friends that I know I could have relied on, and did so in times of need, but here I have a legitimate family. I am included in their daily lives and see their struggles. The Jordanian students may have that too, but for every minute I am out at a bar, there are things happening, or people "being" that I am not a part of. There is a fair amount of sitting and tea drinking here, and at first that got to me. As I close in on the downward slope I realize I miss out on simply sitting and being when I am at school. Thankfully I get to do it here, with people I may never see again. Everyone has a story, right now mine is learning theirs.

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