Friday, April 27, 2012

At First Sight

It's been less than twenty four hours, but I think I'm in love....sound familiar BYU crowd? I joke. But really, Amman already feels like home. It is bustling and crazy, but so welcoming and friendly. I landed at Queen Alia Airport at about 8:30 after grueling day traveling from Salt Lake to Paris and finally onto Amman. The worst part? For the last two hours of my final flight, the attendants on the plane wouldn't let anyone use the restroom! So I was legitimately worried that I would show up in my new home with wet pants. Luckily, I avoided that situation.
After arriving I was able to get a visa and get trough immigration. I could already tell this was going to be a new experience for me. There was tons of Arabic flying around (some of which I understood...YES!) and people were looking at me like I was crazy person (which is somewhat understandable). After getting through that along with a nice young French girl who was visiting relatives and doing a pilgrimage of holy sites with her family, I was able to find the bus into Amman. On my way into the city I met two Libyan men, Muhammad and Ribya, who were planning to buy a car in Amman and drive it back to Tripoli. They invited me to come with....and while my parents are very supportive of my travels and adventures, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't fly with them! But we managed to have a somewhat legitimate conversation between my minimal Arabic and their choppy English.
After this, I was able to catch a taxi from the bus station to my hostel. I was pretty exhausted so I had a rinse in my "shower" and hopped into bed. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep with the crazy time zone change, but I got seven hours! I woke up to the call to prayer and freaked out. Yep, I was definitely in a new place.
A new friend.
After waking up I decided to head out and explore. It was really hot...and this is April. I can't even imagine what August will be like. Anyway, I headed to the Roman Ampitheater which was very impressive. I continued to stroll around, stopping for snacks every now and then and chatting with local people. When I responded to them in Arabic, people were very surprised and I can already tell that speaking with them is improving my skills. Maybe by the end of the summer I will actually have a minor grasp on this language! One of the people who spoke to me was Yesenia, a woman from Iraq trying to get a visa in Jordan so she could go to Sweden to get married. It was a long story, but she was very kind. Her brother, Ali, asked if he could take pictures of us, so I passed over the camera. I don't think he understood the zoom situation so this one is a bit of a tough one (and yes, Dad, he cut us off at the knees. I know this is a pet peeve! BUT I was able to crop, so all is well). Anyway, she was a wonderful woman and I am so happy to have met her.
Sunset from our rooftop terrace.
After walking along Rainbow Street, one of the more Western/artsy areas, I returned to my hostel to change and head out to dinner with two English girls I met, Chloe and Casey. We had a great dinner on a rooftop terrace in Western Amman and enjoyed a stroll around the shops. Finally, we headed back so I could pack and get ready for Turkey. So many good things. I'm a super lucky girl!
Basically, I am a huge fan and am really looking forward to living here. It's going to be quite the experience, I am sure.

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