Well, it’s hard to believe it, but as of today it’s been a year since I arrived in Jordan. I didn’t even think of it until someone on this morning’s bike ride asked me the date, and as I glanced at my watch I realized that the 21st had arrived. I remember thinking about this day, a year ago: “what will I be like after a year here?” and the truth is, I think I’ll save thoughts like that until I move onto the next country and I can truly step back and look at things more clearly. For now, though – Jordan is where I’ll be for the foreseeable future.

In three days I start school again, just differently than before. Instead of just being tech support for Whitman Academy, I’ll also be one of their two computer teachers, teaching ICDL courses for highschoolers. Just because I’ve never taken ICDL myself, or have any training in it, or even had heard of it until I came to Jordan, shouldn’t be a deterrent to parents trusting me with their children’s precious education. I’ve been going over the books all week, and so far it seems like I would probably be able to pass this course myself. In my sleep. While juggling. Anyhow, it’s definitely going to be a change to not have to pause after each sentence to let Wamidh translate for me. I’m tempted to bring him in anyway just so that the kids can get Arabic lessons at the same from him too, but as he’ll be leaving for America within a month, perhaps that ship has already sailed.

Ramadan officially begins tomorrow, and the streets are full of fireworks, loud prayers and the masjid (mosques) are blaring out ALLAHU AKBAR at all hours. Sa’ad gave me a ride home after biking, and we passed by several mosques that were so full of robed men that they were flooding out the doors and into the streets, where they had taken their prayer rugs with them and were salaam’ing towards the south and Mecca. Most Muslim families are currently enjoying massive feasts tonight, in preparation for tomorrow’s first full day without food or drink during the daylight hours. I was lucky that last year, Ramadan was 11 days later than it is now, so I had a little bit of time to learn about the country and how nice the people were before fasting began and everyone gets obstinate and bad-tempered. I’m not sure if it’s the food part that bothers the taxi drives more, or whether it’s the no-smoking and no-sex rules of the shariieh law that depresses them more.

My current plans (with emphasis that these are non-finalized) are to return to America for a little over a month, from Thanksgiving til just after New Year’s holiday. It’s strange, but I feel very comfortable in Jordan. With the exception of the language, the clothing, the food, and the major religion, I just feel as if things are simplified here compared with America. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Arabs and Muslims that surround me, it’s to relax and not fight things – all the way from my first excursions to the Orange office (how I loathe them) to in the classroom in Ayn al Basha without any windows and doors. They greet any problem with a smile and an insha’allah – they’re willing to be patient without being angry.

I think a lot of us in America have forgotten how to do that. You may argue, and correctly, that it’s the loss of that attitude which has allowed Americans to create so many great things, but at the same time I think that America also suffers from more breakdowns, exhaustion, and depression than many other 1st world countries.

Something for me to keep in mind as I enter Year 2 in Jordan…