It’s Winter in Amman!

The past few days I have been kicking myself for not packing more warm clothes. When looking at Amman’s weather while in the states, I saw that the average for each day ranged from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I figured the packing list that recommended “warm sweaters and heavy down coats” must have been written by someone very cold blooded. Several days have reached 60 degrees and been comfortable, but only during a three hour window in the middle of the day.

As it is only affordable to heat the apartments for a few hours per day, they are very cold. Amman, of course, is in the desert so the primary priority is to keep Jordanians cool during the scorching summer months. Therefore, all of the homes are built out of stone and poorly insulated. Apparently they are extraordinarily efficient at keeping heat OUT… which is unfortunate in the winter. Luckily I brought my wool socks and the apartments were furnished with several blankets. This makes sleeping warm, but not the evening hours when we are hanging out in the kitchen or living room. I only brought my green jacket and a few fashionable sweaters, but no lounge wear. I invested in a cheap 20JD fleece jacket from Columbia in the mall and it has kept me warm ever since!

Now the main problem lies in the daytime. The CIEE classrooms are heated, but the classrooms at the University of Jordan are often frigid, especially at 8am every morning. Today was made especially worse. When we left the apartment, there was only a slight drizzle of rain, but during the course of our 10 minute taxi ride, it began sleeting.

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That photo was taken at 8:45 this morning during our walk through campus. It was so cold and all I had was my medium-weight outer green jacket and long sweater!

It is now 3pm and the rain is still falling. It is supposed to continue until tomorrow which will do wonders for the traffic and my shoes. Amman has a huge problem with its infrastructure which cannot handle winter weather. Even after a mere couple hours of rain, the streets had turned into rivers. Before coming here, I read somewhere that, “when it rains, the river Jordan flows through Amman,” and that statement could not be more true.

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Most of the sidewalks are underwater and it makes walking to and from class quite the adventure. I packed my waterproof gym shoes, but my leather boots seem to have been holding up quite well in this weather, as well.

My classes have been going well. My Arabic classes only have about 8 people and we are all beginners so there is no pressure. I feel like we are all comfortable with each other, so making mistakes or flubbing pronunciation is “mish-moosh-kila” or no problem.

My “area studies” classes (Arab Women Writers and Alternative Perspectives) are less exciting and very Americanesque. They are focused on discussion (which I hate!) and, despite the dismal internet capabilities of most places, require us to watch several YouTube videos and do online activities. I feel like most of my free time is spent waiting for the internet to load!

I am about to go meet a friend for an early dinner at this place near campus. Everyone has been raving about it and saying how you get falafel, hummus, pita, and a salad for 70 piasters or $1.50. The food here continues to be amazing and the coffee is ridiculously overpriced. Lattes at Gloria Jean’s Coffees which is in the same building as CIEE cost almost 3JD or $5! I suppose that is the same as at Starbucks, but it is still a rip off. I have started buying packs of NesCafe (all the rage in Jordan and I can get a pack of 10 for 4JD) and then using CIEE’s free hot water and making my own lattes!

I suppose I will leave you with an amusing encounter I just had with two 12 year old Jordanian boys in an elevator.

Katie: *enters elevator*Boys: *speaking to each other in Arabic* *glances at Katie* *speaking to each other in Arabic* *glances at Katie* *speaking to each other in Arabic*
Katie: *understands the word English in their conversation*
Boy: (to other boy) “Hey bro… whazzuppppppp?”
Boys: *giggle hysterically while waiting for Katie’s reaction*

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