Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Week One

So this is going to be a flurry of short posts. I'm going to see what I can do before the bus comes. can do before the bus comes.
My family is fantastic, so wonderful. Our house is the lowest level of a three floor building, where my host dad's sisters families live on the upper two floors. The second floor's family is hilarious, and has a bunch of little girls, and the third floor's family actually lives in Saudi, but they're here for the summer.
The house set-up here is different though. Most of the other exchange students houses aren't like this, and are a bit bigger, but I still like this house the most. "Small house, big heart," my host mom says. The house has six rooms. There's the room you walk into from the front door, which has a few couches, a dining room, another smll living room, my bedroom, which is just a tad smaller than a dormroom, the bedroom for the other six people in my family, and the kitchen. The thing is, the sink is in the dining room because it doesn't fit in the bathroom, the washing machine is in the kitchen because it doesn't fit anywhere else, and the bathroom is quite different from the states.
This isn't the norm here, just my house. There is a toilet and a bidet, right next to each other. Between that and the door, there is just enough room to stand, and so a showerhead has been mounted on the wall right there. There is simply a drain in the middle of the bathroom, and when you're done with a shower there's a squegee broom that you push all the water on the bathroom floor towards the drain with. It was an experience to take my first shower here, and not know how to use the water tank, and keep hitting the toilet during my ice cold shower. (Here, you have to manually turn on a water heater for hot water. It's a menacing tank on the wall.
My host family is great though, but I don't really want to write about them, just for privacy and such.
There are a few other things that in general differ from the culture in America. The sleep schedule for pretty much everyone, including the little kids, is bed around 1 or 2 am, and sleeping later. Unfortunately, I have to catch the 7:30 bus or so, so I just sleep less.
Another thing, there is what we call "Jordinian time," meaning that time doesn't exist. Buses leave when full, not on a schedule. When someone asks when you'll be back, the answer is "Yanni, thamanniyeh, inshallah," meaning "maybe, eight, if god wills it." Which really means you have no idea.
The reason for this is traffic. Amman's traffic is insane. There are lanes painted on the roads, but lanes aren't lanes. Cars weave back and forth through each other. Screeching halts are more common than turn signals. And so accidents happen, and traffic jams happen, much more than the states. My host mom is scared to drive, and for good reason.

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