Naomi the PCV Goes to Jordan, and other short stories travel blog

The top 10ish for the month are as follows:

9. I have a new Arabic teacher. previously I had been going with Suzanne to her landlord's wife. The problems with that were: Suzanne and I are on very different levels, and want different things out of classes; we were all friends, so we'd spend most of the time chatting, inevitably in English, as the topics we discussed were not within Suzanne's and my vocabulary. The mother of one of the girls at my sister offered her services, since she lived in the US for 18 years, teaching Arabic to English speakers. She's giving Suzanne and me separate Arabic classes in exchange for my teaching her 8 year old daughter English, since she was 4 when they moved back to Jordan. I've had 6 lessons with her, and I've already learned a new colloquial phrase, and have a much better handle on the past tense.

8. Southern Jordan can be green! I was a little bitter about all the people placed up north in Ajloun and Irbid, where it's very green 3 seasons out of the year. However, the rainy season has brought 2 months of green to my site, and I've been told there might be up to another month of it! It's beautiful, and at some point I will make sure to post a couple pictures onto this entry.

7. Speaking of greenness and pictures, I had a tea party in some random wadi near a friends' house. They packed up some tea, cake, mammoul, and bananas, and we walked down to the wadi, listened to music on their cell phones, and then took a ton of pictures with wild flowers and a field. Everyday has a tea party of some sorts, since the majority of what women do around here consists of sitting, and drinking tea at least twice a day, but this was special.

6. My center is continuing to be pretty active. For the next couple months, I'm doing A LOT of teaching English (12 separate classes a week, 4 a day), but the summer I have no English obligations, and start my youth development projects. Anyway, I got organized and made an activities and notice board to put in my office/classroom... Yes, that's right, while it is also the library, I have my own work space. And since my mom sent a bunch of beginner reading books, I actually have been checking them out to girls, which inspired them to start checking out books in Arabic, too! (kids don't read much here; Arabic is complicated because written/standard Arabic has different grammar and vocabulary than spoken Arabic). My mudira also surprised me when she said she had spoken to specific girls, and schools, about PC projects she had earlier not been as supportive on.

5. Lent is almost over, and I will be able to eat meat.

4. My center went "camping" in Aqaba, with the girls center from the next village, meaning we slept at a youth hostel. We went to Wadi Rum for dinner, then continued on to Aqaba, stopping at a Chinese mall before heading to the hostel. The girls had a lot of fun staying up until 6 am, with a 7:30 am wake up time. Debbie and I were in bed by 11, but 40 girls can make quite a racket. We had a session on the ecology of the Red Sea in the morning, then went to the sooq (market) downtown in the afternoon, and then headed back to village. I would have liked to have spent the next day recuperating, but I went back down to Aqaba early the next day with Suzanne and Sharon, to pick up a new camera, and to spend some time with my fellow southerners.

3. I went to Amman twice this month, #3 is for the second trip, for IST (In Service Training). It was supposed to be a counterpart conference, too, but my counterpart had a family emergency and was unable to attend. We stayed at a nice hotel, and got the opportunity to go out. I went to Mecka Mall with some friends, and got a muffin from Mrs. Fields with some cold milk!!! I bought a couple things from Max, a fair priced department store. We also had our first book club meeting, on "Who Speaks for Islam?" It's a good book, especially for people who don't get to have the experience I do of living in a Muslim country. Every religion has it's extremists, fundamentalists, extreme fundamentalists, and moderates. People don't hear a lot from or about the moderates in Islam, this book is an extensive study on them, their political views, and their social views... which is where a lot of people are misinformed of, and often concerned about. Read it, it's good, and a fast read.

2. I visited my host family! It was a somewhat last minute decision, with very little time to plan, and even less time to spend with them. I went after IST, had dinner, spent the night, and then had to head back to village before my next work day. They are all doing well, though Rayya was angry that I knew about the Friday bus system. They made me maglooba, my favorite. Inaas was due any day, I should call to see if she's had Emir yet. They were all impressed with my improvement in Arabic, and told me I speak like a southerner (as opposed to the Bedouin dialect I spoke 2 months ago).

1. My first trip to Amman included:

- Meeting up with many fellow volunteers for nachos and "pepsi"

- Going dancing

- Meeting VP Joe Biden at the embassy (picture will hopefully arrive soon)

- Going to City Mall, buying supplies to make chocolate chip cookies

- Getting my hair cut and styled at a very nice salon, services included juice

- WID/GAD (Women In Development) meeting, which gave me some momentum on possible projects

It was a fun, and very busy month. Next month doesn't look like it will be as busy, but it's a little early to tell...

- Be the change you wish to see in the world!

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