Published: June 4th 2012May 27th 2012
Well this was quite the interesting day I will assure you. Lots of meeting and re-meeting going on that particular Sunday. When I look back on how many things I did, I realize that won’t be able to write half of what happened now, but I will at some point in the future. I intend to take my stories and put them in a book and publish them for my family and children and grandchildren to read, which is why I am being so detailed. I realize that I do not have the time to write most of everything, and when I do, I don’t feel like writing. I have to be in a mood, so this day will be short, even though it was super long and filled with adventure. I will do a special extended edition later.
I talked via email with a man named Stephen Bush, one of the CIEE coordinators who was also American prior to leaving America. We arranged to meet on the 27th
just so I could know someone in the city and touch base with him. First step: find what bus goes to the university. I figured out where one of the
bus stops is located (which I quickly learned was quite irrelevant since all you have to do is stand on the side of the street and flag down whatever bus you want and it will stop). At the stop I met two Africans, one was shorter and pudgier while the other was tall and lean. Of course, they stared. What else is new? But at that time I was still on the “Meet Africans” juice so to speak, and talked with them. The tall one offered to take me all the way out to the university. I figured, I could use someone to help translate for me. He spoke French, Arabic, and English, so I didn’t say no. We went all the way out to the university, wandered around looking for the CIEE office, which ended up being closed on campus. We were directed to the office across the street. Exiting the building, I met up coincidentally with Firas, a Jordanian American. I met him for the first time at the airport in Washington, D.C. and we talked for a bit. He was registering for his classes and had just finished up.
I told him about my day
quickly and he asked if I didn’t mind tagging along. I gladly invited a familiar face and we went through an underpass to get to office buildings near the McDonald’s and Burger King on the other side. We went all the way to the 5th
floor to find the office closed for the day because of Memorial Day. A wasted trip? I think not!
Firas offered to hang out with us at City Mall while we waited for his brother, who I’d also met at the airport, to show up. We walked around the mall and he showed us the ropes and dopes, introduced me to this awesome cheap fruit drink called Rani, helped me get some food, and talk me the ways of the average Jordanian young adult as we sat in the food court. His brother arrived with a 10 or 11-yr old boy, who was apparently quite the little hustler taking and making important calls on his iPhone. They had to depart and go to meet some people for their parents but Firas offered to meet up with me/us later than evening. Meanwhile, my African Frenchman and I walked through one of the shopping districts.
He had been dying to promenade with me apparently. I could tell from his little gestures that he was trying to get cozy. He would swing his hand dangerously close to mine as if to “accidentally” grab it gently. But I’m much too clever. I switched the items in my left hand to my right whenever he was on the right side and vice versa. He tried walking closer and I’d start to swerve out of the way. Blame me all you want since he was trying, but I was not about that life.
Anywho, we finally decided to head back to the hostel. In the taxi he kept talking about disco (clubbing) and how he wanted to take me to this one place. It was Sunday (like a Monday) so I doubt that any place was open. I figured he was trying to take me to a club, and when I declined, he said it wasn’t a club. But he kept insisting that we go to this one place that I never found out what it was. When I asked him repeatedly, “What is the place?” He all of a sudden didn’t understand English or Arabic for that matter.
His apartment was apparently literally right above my hostel. I told him I wanted to hang out with Firas, as I connected with him on Facebook, but he said ok, when home, changed and came right back. I was a bit perplexed at this point. He wasn’t going to stop until he got me to his apartment, which he had asked me to come to when we got back to my hostel. Firas told us to meet him at the Starbucks near the shopping district we promenaded in earlier. When we got there, we met with an old friend of Firas’, Ali, who was a Palestinian American. They chatted for a bit about everything, catching up on their years together. I just sat and observed. Their feelings on being Muslim in America versus the Middle East, how much nothing and everything has changed, love interests (Firas is engaged), and just reminiscing on different times together. It was very interesting to hear such conversation. I was very anxious and eager to learn. My African Frenchman had commandeered my Pocket Arabic Dictionary and read it pretty much the entire time, quite uninterested in what we were talking about since he didn’t understand most of it anyways. It’s the price paid for being thirsty.
Firas kindly drove us back to my hostel and his apartment. I chatted with Firas the whole way back and he showed me the difference between West Amman and Old Amman. Everything separated by the Bridge. (I will write more on that later as I research more. It is quite interesting and sad I must say.) When we got back to the hill we lived on, Jabal Lweibdah, I hopped out and thanked Firas for the time. All of a sudden is when the African decided to pipe up, “Will I see you tomorrow?” I half-heartedly replied, “Maybe,” knowing full well that I was not trying to get mixed up with him. He still tried the next day (another story), but sadly I will be that one girl that got away…At least for now. Did I mention our schools are across the street from each other? There are not many Black people in Jordan, so I have a feeling that the first time we met, will not be the last. But when that time comes, I’ll be ready, another story explaining that but to make it short for this one: I have Jad.