Some Things Are Universal: Part I

Trip Start Jan 30, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Dawar Waha

Flag of Jordan  ,
Saturday, February 26, 2011


I hope you all are doing well back home. My internet has been sketchy because of the rain earlier this week.  It seems to be back to normal as of this morning but we are keeping our fingers crossed.  I'm doing really well here and finally reaching a sense of normalcy.   I can direct taxi drivers better; I understand a good 45% of my Arabic classes as opposed to nothing; I actually enjoy the taste of falafel, hummus, and UHT milk; I am a regular at a falafel place down the block; and I can get around several areas in town. 

It is currently a comfortable 56 degrees here and because it is Saturday I am already preparing for my next week at school.  Unfortunately there has been a sickness going around to some of the students in our program, the most recent victim being my roommate Olivia.  So like the good roommate that I am, I got her some crackers and soda, and I’m spraying Lysol everywhere.   

Last weekend my program took us to several desert castles in eastern Jordan.  They were all very beautiful and just amazing to think about.  As a history major I know older societies built great structures, but experiencing them firsthand really emphasizes just how amazing some of these developments were. Qasar Kharaneh, a castle that was built in the 8th century, consisted of two very tall stories and 61 rooms. It was so well preserved that I could walk around on the roof and see the desert for miles.  The entire time I could only think about people doing this over a thousand years ago.  I guess the main thing this semester is teaching my about my major is that you can "know" only so much, but sometimes you need to experience things to really understand them.

The longer I am here the more I am noticing not only the difference between the Arab and American cultures but also the similarities.  So here we go for “Some Things Are Universal: Part I”
1.  You will never get a properly working shopping cart at your local grocery store.  They don’t work anywhere!  The basket will either squeak, one wheel won’t work right, or the stupid basket won’t turn right- whatever the problem I am now convinced it happens everywhere.
2.  Clothes shopping is a similar experience everywhere too.  There will always be groups of girls talking about the most recent gossip and looking at the different clothes, mothers shopping with their daughters, boyfriends shopping with their girlfriends and looking incredibly bored, and the sales clerk who really hates his/her job.  Also pants will never fit just right when you are 5’10.
3.  College kids typically just want to have fun and hang out with their friends.  We stay away from 8AM classes like the plague, like to go out on the weekend, and several of us have no idea what we are going to do after we graduate.  
4.  When you need something the most, like a cab when it’s raining, an ATM, or your keys when you’re running late, they won’t be found.  However the second you don’t need it you will see whatever it is everywhere.
5.  There are stupid people everywhere, and it is best to ignore them even though sometimes you want to just knock some sense into them.
6.  Most people are at least slightly embarrassed when the waiters start singing happy birthday to them.  Also the birthday person will always have a friend present who thinks this is so hilarious and is photo documenting the entire experience.

I feel like as the semester goes on I’ll come up with more of these but as of right now this is all I can remember.  I’ll also do a post soon where I talk about some more of the difference between the two cultures.

In other Clare news I went to TGI Fridays for a delicious cheeseburger today.  My American meal was pricey but absolutely worth it.  I’m pretty sure even after this experience nothing will beat a good cheeseburger and fries at the end of the day.  Also I have uploaded pictures to my facebook.  I tried uploading them here but it took way to long, and I can only upload 5 at a time.  Thus it is just easier for me to use facebook.  If you don’t have a facebook account and would like to see them you can either ask someone who has one to show you my pictures or I can try to email them to you.

Anyways, have a good week.  I love and miss you all.

Yella Bye!
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Carrie U on

I'm gladding you're adjusting well and that you understand almost half of your arabic (!!!). Love and miss you.

Dani on

Clare! I love and miss you! This sounds amazing :) I'm jealous and proud of you all at the same time. Jealous cuz I want to be there, proud cuz you're navigating the city, which is more than I can do in Knoxville. Stay safe, have fun!

Pat Geeting on

Clare: I read your entries with the GREATEST interest and can hardly wait to see your pics. Please forward them to me @

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