Friday, September 16, 2005

finally!

I found an apartment today! It's in Irbid. Also, I may have found a good Arabic program to enter. All in one day! Will and I headed up to Irbid to look for apartments, as well as to check out Yarmouk University. That was interesting. We got to the president of the university's office, which I had assumed meant that things would get done. However, it was just chaos. For some reason, the person we met with was obsessed with us having a tour. I'm thinking, okay, we have 1 hour before the start of the weekend, so let's get on this! But we got the tour. Despite the fact that the guy who walked us around was the official representative of the University for foreign students, we literally had to push the him into the language center. For some reason, it didn't occur to him that we might want to try to figure how to take classes on Arabic! But we finally got there, and the people were extremely nice. Part of the delay was taking coffee at just about every office we visited. The Arabic program seemed quite intense, which makes me nervous, both because of time and $$$. Will and I are hoping that Yarmouk will wave some of the costs due to the binational nature of the Fulbright program. U of Jordan does. The whole process was and is so unnecessarily bureaucratic. Uncle Billy and Aunt Mary, Jordan is not a socialist country, but so many of the ways you describe the overly bureaucratic nature of Costa Rica apply here. I am now hoping to do the language program first semester, and then perhaps second, have a tutor and research/write more.

After this, we met with that Indy connection, Kamal. He was guilt-inducingly (I know that's not a legit word) nice. He took us around, helping us look for a place to live. We found an area, close to the university and more importantly, downtown. It's not at all similar to a traditional neighborhood like the one in Cairo, but we like it. There's families living all over, and it's very close to the heart of the city. In general, Irbid is much more representative of Jordan and the Middle East than West Amman, so I'm happy with this. Anyways, Kamal introduced himself to the guy who watches over the places. This dude seemed like a jerk at first, nervous at best. But when I found out he was from Egypt, I started speaking to him in Egyptian slang. He lit up! He kept telling Kamal how much he liked me. This may have been our 'in' to the landlord. When we initially walked into his place, he was very serious and skeptical, telling Kamal how foreigners are often loud and messy. In addition, there was a problem because we can't commit to the place until the Fulbright director sees it. He wasn't thrilled about that. But, it was amazing to witness the transition from this to his attitude at the end. Kamal reassured him how we were good people who wanted to live with Jordanians, to speak Arabic, to experience the culture. This Egyptian dude starts going off, enormous grin and all, about how I spoke Egyptian. As we talked a bit more, shared sweets and coffee (in traditional Arab culture, a deal can't be made until coffee is shared), his worries and uneasiness turned to happiness. By the end, he was saying, "I will buy you anything for your place. Just call me, and we will go...new furniture, fridge, anything. You can use my car."

All in all, I'm feeling much more settled about the year. The first half will definitely be busier than I had originally anticipated, but that's okay. Hopefully, Will and I will start moving in on Sunday or Monday. Thanks for reading guys. Have a wonderful day.

Salaam,
Robin

2 Comments:

Blogger Tk7 said...

man! good luck.. Irbid is a tough city sometimes to live in, try to take some weekends off to amman, for a change!

;)

2:16 AM

 
Blogger katherine said...

bobo! i'm so glad you get to live in irbid! take pictures of your apartment and post them. i'd like to see where you live. good luck with your moving!

12:19 PM

 

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