Since I last wrote I've been fueling up on delicious Arab food, walking the streets of Amman with my beautiful local guide, and meeting more of Laila's family. Saturday night I went with her family to a falafel and hummus place called Kalha, which I believe was started around 1930. Since then the sons and grandsons of the original owner have built more and more restaurants under the same name in different places in Amman. The food was absolutely delicious! There was plenty of bread, hummus, and falafel to go around. I tried a few new dishes too called fattah, which is eaten with a spoon and was served warm, and fool, which was kind of like hummus but had a different taste to it.
Later that night I went to her cousins house in Fuhais, a small town/neighborhood on the edge of Amman that I'm told is almost 100% Christian. Fuhais really made an impression on me. So beautiful! I stood on a roof top down in the center of where about 4-5 very large hills all converged. Giving me a 360 degree view up the sides of each hill, where little houses and churches dotted the hillsides. The
Fattah in the middle
church that her cousin went to is literally right across the street from the house that her family occupies. It had a very cute, small town feel to it with such beautiful architecture and Middle Eastern flair. Laila said sometime this summer we'll sit up there with her cousins and siblings and smoke argeelay, just to relax and enjoy the fresh village air of the night. Laila's family are really so sweet and genuine.
In most of the Middle East (excluding Lebanon), the workweek is Sunday through Thursday, making Friday and Saturday the weekend days. That means my first class was Sunday at the Ali Baba International Center. Most of the day was spent getting acclimated and taking a placement test and after they had lunch prepared for us. I got to meet a few people from the school as well, which was nice. There's a guy from Dubai, a girl from Germany, and another guy from England. I'll be learning classical Arabic (fus7a) 3 hours a day and colloquial Arabic for 1 hour, which seems like a pretty good split. I got into the beginner 2 class (A2), which I was very happy about since I
haven't been studying it that long and I've never taken a formal class. I wanted to get as high as possible so I could really challenge myself over the coming weeks.
I also had my first chat in Arabic with a local, which was when a street merchant came up to me and tried to sell me sunglasses. He saw that I was wearing sunglasses so maybe he thought I was a collector or needed another pair? Not sure, but the conversation was not too exciting with my limited Arabic. We greeted eachother and found out where each other were from and then he pressed hard for the sale despite my repeated "ma 3indi el masari" (I don't have money). He continued repeating and pointing to the sky "mishan allah mishan allah" (for God for God).
My school is right across the street from the University of Jordan, the first university in Jordan, so there's a lot of shops and places to eat along the street. I'm starting to learn my way around a bit more and I recognize the driving as more comparable to China than the United States. Not nearly as bad
Laila and I went for a nice walk around the neighborhood too, where I got to know more of the area I'm living in. We walked to this dvd store a few blocks away to pick up some new movies and it was nice to see her neighborhood at night for the first time. I still love the architecture and buildings. Even just the houses look so nice to me, maybe because I'm new to all of it. We walked by local mosque too which is lit up with green (the color of Islam) lights at night. Her neighborhood is outside of the main city so it's very peaceful both during the day and at night - no excessive car horns or yelling!
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