Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sand and beige and tan

Hi Friends and Family!

Tuesday Benjamin and I went into the embassy with Thomas for an orientation meeting.  After breezing through twice before, turning over my passport and getting a guest badge, I didn't anticipate the major delay we had.  Somehow my name was no longer on the list (???) and we had to have someone call and that person talk to the guard (who was Jordanian and not 100% fluent in English), and then finally we could go inside.  It took about 15 minutes of standing around in what was not a large space, definitely meant for people to show ID and then walk though, which people did in a constant stream so we were very much in the way.  Ugh, hopefully tomorrow is better.  'Cause yay, another orientation meeting.  Woo.

We heard a few presentations on different stuff you need to know about the embassy and the services they provide, etc.  Mostly we passed Benjamin back and forth to keep him occupied and attempt to ward off the inevitable fussiness.  But we got to have lunch together at the embassy (more Diet Coke!) and afterward Thomas hailed a cab and we all three made it home, then Thomas cabbed it back to work.  Someday I'll be confident enough to get a cab, but I'm not quite there. 

Tomorrow Thomas will look at a sedan for sale by someone at the embassy.  There's a lot of flyers advertising cars, most people ship one and some families buy another.  It would be helpful to have wheels, cause I could drop Thomas at work and then have some mobility to go to one of the big supermarkets that are farther away.  We don't really know when the Cruiser will arrive.  But there's a pharmacy nearby, just a block away, that we walked to tonight to get some medications that I needed more of.  And it's funny, this stuff was prescription and compounded back in the states, here you just tell the guy at the counter what you want and they get it for you from a back room.  Thomas got some German-made faux-aspirin this morning.  Pretty crazy, but also convenient.

One important aspect of life in Amman that I haven't yet mentioned is water.  Every apartment has its own cistern, water is delivered, and when you run out you call for another delivery.  (This is part of what the embassy does, work orders for this sort of thing.)  Evidently Jordan is the 4th water-poorest country in the world.  And we have a special faucet to the right of the regular faucet on the kitchen sink.  It gives you filtered water, for drinking and brushing teeth, anything you would consume.  We wash dishes in the other stuff, which is fine and I think the locals drink it.  But it's like Mexico, you could be fine drinking it or you could get sick.  As much as I joke about going on the "amoeba diet" I'm really hoping to avoid it.  It's strange to have our toothbrushes and toothpaste and Listerine all lined up in the kitchen, but as they say, it's the "new normal".

This next week I'll start interviewing maids and see if there's a good fit for someone who can cook, clean and occasionally babysit.  We're interested in part-time help and it's pretty cheap out here.  Lots of women come from the Philippines and work and send money home to their families.  I feel a little weird about having a maid, but I know that I could use the help; I was terrible at cleaning our tiny place in Virginia and I'm going to be hopeless here.  Plus there are some Arabic classes at the embassy that I'd love to take advantage of, or meet Thomas for lunch, and it would be super great to be able to jet off for a couple hours baby-free.  Pray that we can find a great person who loves to cook and is good at it, and that Benjamin will love her.  And that we can be good employers.

Thomas met our landlord and negotiated a salary for our Boab, which is sort of a groundskeeper/general helper-guy around the building.  Oh and his name is Abed, so that's good to finally have figured out.  Since we're on the ground floor and have lots of plants, he'll water everything and bring us the fruit when it's ready.  When we get our car(s) he'll wash them (Jordan's super dusty) and he also takes out our trash.  Nice guy, younger than I thought he'd be.  It's weird to have people do stuff for you, but I'm going to enjoy it for these two years before we go back.  And he evidently lives in a room off of the basement, and you can intercom him to pick up stuff from the store.  Crazy!

The prevailing colors are tan and beige and brown.  There are some palm trees and flowering vines, but it's mostly relentless tan.  When we went on our odyssey to find an open restaurant the other night we passed through a very fancy neighborhood and there were some houses/apartments with lawns.  It was so strange to see grass!

I think that's about it for now.  Do y'all have questions about anything?  I feel like I'm running out of stuff to blog about, soon it'll be what we ate at every meal.  Hopefully we'll get more adventurous as we get more comfortable.  Signing off!



  1. Any plans to travel around to other parts of that hemisphere? I enjoy reading about your new different lifestyle!

    1. Thanks, Annie! We definitely want to visit all the cool stuff within Jordan, like Petra and Wadi Rum, Jerash and the Dead Sea. Oh and the Red Sea, Aqqaba. Probably also Israel at some point, I'd really love to see Bethlehem and all the holy sites. And we're excited to visit Priscilla and Trevor in Paris at some point, vacation days permitting. I don't know what else is on the list, but hopefully we'll get to see some good stuff. Suggestions are welcome!