Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Two of Orientation

So tday we had a full day of orientation, just chilling in the American Councuils office in the morning, and then doing various stuff in the afternoon. Which was more interesting in the afternoon, so I'll probably talk most about the mosque here in DC.

First of all, yes, we wore headscarves. (We also started our long sleeve long pants clothes all day, which was hot at first, but I got used to it. I'm going to be so pale when I get home. So pale!). I have lots of pictures, but I don't have a cord to upload them now, put they'll pretty cool. Apparently I looked like an Eastern European, which is cool I guess. The imam, or leader of the mosque, was really cool. He was this big awesome guy who seemed like he was from the Caribbean, and was wearing a rock and roll t-shirt. But he talked to us about Islam, and was really into it, an very spiritual, in his own way. The mosuqe was gorgeous, more pictures to come, but not yet. There were tiles all over the walls, which were from Turkey, and then the ceiling was super ornate. They said that the windows were from one country, and the lights another. It was very international.

We had to take our shoes off at the door, but it was carpeted inside and really nice. So we went in with our headscarves and socks on, and sat on the floor. There were  people praying in there, and it was rather peaceful. There was an elderly gentleman praying when we first got in, and I'm not sure what he was saying, but it was some sort of a chant and it was rather soothing. Various people came in and out of the mosque, coming and going. There were other women, who all seemed rather pleased that we were wearing the headscarves.

Oh, this is stream of conciousness, because I don't have much time to write. But we were talking about our school in Amman at orientation, which is the Qasid Institute. They have some rules for students there that would be strange to think about in America. As a student there, I am officially not allowed to go to various other Middle Eastern countries, including Palestine and Israel. It's in the student contract, which just wasn't something I expected. But other than that, it seems like a really cool school, and I can't wait to get started.

As for my schedule for the next couple days, it goes something like this. Tomorrow we have orientation all day, and then our flight leaves that night. It's overnight to Frankfurt, and then we get to spend all day in the Frankfurt airport. Apparently it's an awesome airport, and there's a movie theater in the airport, so we should be fine. The flight to Jordan leaves Thursday night, and gets in Friday morning. We spend the next night in a hotel, just to get situated, and then on Saturday we meet our host families.

From what the resident director has been able to tell me about my host family, the mother doesn't speak English, and the father speaks a tiny bit, and the eldest daughter can read and write well, but barely speaks. Also, the entire extended family of four households lives all in a row, so apparently we'll be having people running around everywhere, and cousins and such around. I'm thinking that'll be fun, and it kinds of makes me think it'll be like Owen's Road. Which is cool.

So everything is going really well, and everyone in our group is amazing. Aside from the fact that the hotel pool has more chlorine than I thought possible, it's awesome. And the pool is pretty much irrelevant. I'm really excited to get to Amman and start classes and such, and we're already studying and such. We have our first test tomorrow, but I think it's just for placement at the Qasid Institute. Well, off to go study!

Ma' Salaama, or "go in peace," which I think is how you say goodbye. GOODBYE!

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