Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One Week Anniversary

We’ve been in Amman for one week now. Hard to believe. It all feels kind of surreal. Our new house is really really nice, the biggest place we’ve ever had and more than adequately furnished. We laugh because now that we’re in a large home with plenty of cupboards, closets and bookcases, we hardly have any stuff!! The building we’re in is actually a 5-story building, and we’re on the ground floor, though up a few steps from the actual outdoor ground. We have two entrances: one through a sun-room that’s just ours, and another through the main building entrance. When we first got here, the sun-room was an oven and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to be in it. But I’m told that it will get quite cold in the winter and we’ll be glad for it then.

My kitchen is large, with an American-sized frig/freezer (again, hardly any food in it!!), a 5-burner stove and large oven, state-of-the-art washing machine, and nice amenities like microwave, blender and electric kettle. It also has plenty of cupboard space, including a floor-to-ceiling pantry.

The entire house is tiled, which again feels nice now, but will be cold come winter. Our neighbours upstairs (from Virginia) said that it feels especially cold in the winter because of the lack of insulation and the steep prices of heat (diesel or electric). They pretty much only heated one of their rooms and kept the door shut. I don’t know what we’ll do, but I’m trying not to worry about it quite yet!

Our building is sandwiched right in-between a very busy big street and a smaller one. Steve’s and my bedroom has windows on the busy street, we hear lots of traffic all night. During Ramadan, we’d also hear a drummer going up and down the street before dawn, waking people up to eat their breakfast. After the first few nights, I began sleeping through the 4:30 call to prayer, but last night it woke me up again.

We have two bathrooms (well, one only has a shower) and they both have a bidet in addition to a toilet! So far all of us have gotten used to the bidet except for Naomi. It’s very nice to have two toilets for our desperate times!

So far my most difficult adjustment has been shopping and cooking here. We have a little shop just next door to our house (and it’s open til 2 AM everyday!!), which has been great, but most things aren’t labelled with prices, so it makes it hard to make the most cost-effective purchases. At least Steve has taught me my Arabic numbers so that if there is a price tag, I can read it!

There are some foods I was really used to using, both in the States and England, like tinned tomatoes and oats, which are expensive here. Breakfasts are baffling me, as cereal and oats are both expensive, and the local shop doesn’t sell bread! I’m sure I’ll get the hang of everything eventually. I’m glad that I’ve been able to buy most of my basic spices, herbs and staples, and that my kitchen came with a few pots, pans, and dishes.

The kids are adjusting pretty well to not having a large garden. We do have some shared outdoor space, but it’s all tiled. My creative Naomi and Josiah have decided to use the porch swing as a jungle gym. They can climb on to it by opening our sun-room windows and getting out that way. It’s strange, though, to not have bikes anymore.

We finally met our upstairs neighbours a few days ago, and had dinner with them on Sunday. Their names are M and A and they have three kids: H (12), E (10), and N (8). They’re in their first of two years of Arabic language school, preparing for long-term work here in Jordan or elsewhere in the Arab world. The kids are going to a Jordanian school, though in an English-language track. I felt a bit sad and lonely at first because it took a few days to actually meet this family. But now that we’ve met up once and broken the ice, I think we’ll enjoy getting to know them better. The kids get along great. On Monday, their 3 came down to play with my 3, and it worked really nicely. I like having an older girl around for Naomi to spend time with, and it’s sweet that their E is happy to play with Josiah, too.

We went to Amman International Church on Saturday night (their normal service time) and it was nice to meet other westerners (strange though that most of them, including the pastor, were American!!) I met one homeschooling mom who’s already invited us over for dinner this Thursday. She’s got 5 kids and one on the way!! The church is a bit far from us, though, and not terribly easy for taxi drivers to find. So I’m not sure how many extra activities we’ll be doing with them. We missed the preaching that we’re used to at Magdalen Road, but on the whole, the service was good.

I’m feeling a bit “out-of-it” since I don’t fit into any of the normal boxes – I’m not here as a missionary or a military wife, and I’m not actively learning Arabic, as it seems many wives have or currently are. I know it doesn’t really matter, but I get a little tired of explaining our situation to new people, and being asked the same questions.

Ethan is feeling the lack of toys and books. I’m kicking myself now that I brought so many of Naomi’s and Josiah’s toys, and fewer of Ethan’s. He’s the one who needs to be occupied while I teach the older two. We’re also all missing the library. I only brought 5 picture books, and Steve and I are both tired of reading them to Ethan every night! I’ve been told that there’s a Christian library attached to JETS (Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary), and I’m hoping to check it out on Saturday when we’re already there for something else. The older two are occupied with some novels I brought to read aloud with them, as well as some Usborne young readers I brought for them.

We’ve done about 2 days of school so far, though our first day was spread out over two. Josiah is annoyed with the switch to less play time. But the curriculum is fun and interesting. I’ve just got to figure out balance with Ethan and housework, as always. Some things are the same, no matter what country I'm living in!

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

wow, what a major adjustment! i'm glad you have found a few potential friends, and made some connections. hang in there, sweetie!