Snow! In Jordan! Lots of it! Expect massive delays, stocking up on fuel reserves, and chaos and flooding in the streets! Also…school cancellations!

This is what we residents of Amman were treated to via word of mouth, newspapers, and radio announcements. With all of the talk, you might have thought that the second coming was about to take place. While it’s true any snow at all is cause for hubbub in Jordan, when I got the 6 AM wakeup call from one of the other Whitman teachers to notify me that school was canceled, I was expecting Wisconsin-levels of snow, perhaps piling up outside my window. On the second floor. I exaggerate my expectations slightly here, but when I looked out and saw nothing more than the same dreary drizzle that has been coming down steadily for a week, I had to chuckle a little. Primary schools in souther Wisconsin aren’t shut down unless the principal is knocked out with a hailstone the size of a basketball.

Just because Whitman was canceled didn’t mean that my training lectures in Ayn al Basha would be so lucky. I tried sending a text to Aaron, explaining to Aaron about how bad the weather was, and how I was worried I might step in a puddle and make my socks wet, and he texted back, “nice try.” As we drove north towards the training center, I caught a glimpse of snow on the side of the road and even stuck to the back of one car. It was the first time I’d ever seen snow in Jordan that hadn’t been in a grocer’s icebox.

Several teachers called in to fearfully tell Aaron and Jeff about how dangerous it would be for them to leave their houses now, but Aaron, having also grown up in the Midwest, wasn’t having any of it. Not that EGT could do anything about it anyway, even if we wanted to give the students a day off; we’re bound by IRD’s and ISG’s policies. As Wamidh and I taught our lesson on Windows Server 2008, the pounding roar of the rain on the aluminum roof above us was almost deafening and we frequently had to shout to make ourselves heard. I now understand why people in America use padded shingles on houses. However, we didn’t have to put up with it long. Only a couple hours into the lesson and just before lunch, Aaron stopped by our classroom, clutching a green umbrella to shield from the pounding rain and shouted that both IRD and ISG had made the call and that the students were to be sent home for the day.

As it was only noon, I settled into my classroom to puzzle out some FTP problems on our server. Before I knew it, it was 2:30 PM and our new guard at the site, Saalim, was knocking on my door. He asked me what time I was leaving, and how I was getting back to Amman. I chuckled and told him that I was at the mercy of Jeff and Aaron for that answer. He looked at me askance and told me that they’d left half an hour ago. I told Saalim that they probably just needed to get something and they’d be back later. He urged me to call and confirm. Aaron didn’t answer my call, but Jeff did. “Zach…Zach…we’re SO sorry about that. Aaron’s practically in tears right now.” I glanced over at Saalim and shrugged, and told him he had been right. My coworkers had forgotten me at the site and gone back home. Guess that’s what I get for working late! Jeff told me that Anselm, one of the recycling specialists, was heading back to Ayn al Basha now to pick me up. Guess I’ll never be able to say I’m “unforgettable” again! On the way back into Amman with Anselm, we saw the “blizzard” that had hit the city with our own eyes.

Careful there, kids - those snowballs are filled with dangerous SNOW!

Careful there, kids - those snowballs are filled with dangerous SNOW!

In other news, I’ve got a new housemate now, for the first time in almost 10 months. It’s weird to not have this Big Glass Box to myself anymore, but I’m definitely enjoying it so far. I think I was starting to go a little stir crazy before with just my computer and my music. I took him to my favorite argeilleh cafe, Al-Borij, and introduced him to Haitham, who seems to be pretty much be up to his eyeballs with work at the pharmaceutical company Hikmeh these days, working anywhere between 60-70 hours a week.

In other OTHER news, Dozan wa Awtar is officially back in session for the 2010 year, and we had our seasonal retreat to the Dead Sea last weekend, just like the year before. Unfortunately, the differences in weather were huge; unlike 2009 where we all spent as much time as possible salting ourselves down in the sea or in the pool, this year it was barely warm enough to spend a sad 10 minutes in the pool, and I don’t think a single one of us tried the sea itself. It was a lot of fun and a great way to meet all of the new members and reconnect with the old, but I wish we could have used more of the 5-star Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort’s features!