Sometimes I forget how far from home I am. I walk around and feel as though I could be in Indianapolis, if you turn a blind eye to some of the more glaring differing details. I think a lot of west Ammanis, and west Amman establishments, appreciate and strive to assimilate to many things American. Sometimes I tell my friends they are more “American” than I am – reminding me, in near-perfect English, that the Grammys are on tonight as we sit at Burger King eating Big Macs wearing Gap. Have you seen Avatar in 3D yet?
Often my life in Amman feels like I moved to a new American city, rather than abroad. I suppose a lot of this sentiment comes from having living in Yemen for a stint, which, quite the opposite, makes one feel as they had moved to another century on another planet.
I’ve lived here for over 6 months now, which means I’m probably just so accustomed to this place that it feels “normal” to me. Throw me in Chicago or San Francisco and my jaw might drop at the ‘craziness’ of it all.
Then, I get messages like these from the Embassy.
Subject: Tawjihi Celebrations – February 6, 2010
On Saturday, February 6th, the Jordanian Ministry of Education intends to release the interim results of the high-school exam (the Tawjihi). Families throughout Amman often celebrate when the results are announced, and for some the celebration is exuberant. Groups of young adults may drive around in cars blowing horns, and some individuals may shoot into the air. The direct threat is minimal, but traffic can be congested. Please do not be surprised if you hear shooting.
Wait, am I in the Middle East, or is this just another one of those family vacations in Arkansas?