...And what am I doing HERE?
04.04.2008 - 10.06.2008
I've left the secure insanity of the desert and am presently hiding in a budget hotel in Amman, trying to get used to the din.
I've left people behind who miss me as sorely as I miss them. I have an arabic placement exam at Jordan University on the 17th. If I haven't settled in, I may just go back to Rum and continue to learn Bedouin colloquial arabic at a snail's pace. Ali & Faris did tell me they would teach me five hours a day if I stayed. Ali has picked up English so quickly. We speak all the time now. I had accused him of being a spy because for the first month he didn't speak at all, stating 'no speak English'. It turns out, however, that he's picked it up in the past two months and truely didn't speak it before. Faris has spoken it all along, which one may or may not know depending on whether you are someone he wants to speak to. Everyone back at the camp can now be seen, on their free time, studying the English books.
Hmoud and I communicating
In a way, it's so easy to get in trouble in the desert. But nothing is consequential (as long as one doesn't have brothers who are required to defend the family's honor). I got in an yelling match with the Aqaba bus driver one day and he warmly greeted me at the shop a few days later. If I hadn't argued with him, he may not have remembered me for greeting. No one bothers to filter nor do they bother to hold a grudge.
But it's hard to hang on to anything there, from holding grudges to trying to plan anything for the future. Each of us who volunteered wound up staying long past our intended departure date. Jessie had intended to pass through in three weeks on her way to Egypt. She'd ask if I would go with her when she left and all I could say was 'I don't know, that's, like, two weeks from now'. Then it was one week out and she asked if I would go and it was still impossible for me to project ahead one week. Then she extended her stay. Then again she asked if I would go with her. I asked when she was going. She replied she didn't know.
It took a little while for me to realize that seeing consistency as a virtue is ethnocentric. It's confusing to be told one thing one moment and then another two hours later. At first people seemed dishonest. But everything said is true in the moment it's said (unless they're playing with the euro-female population - then it's more about strategy - but endearning nonetheless).
Faris and I in the 'siarra'