After a couple of days of packing, moving all my stuff across town, unpacking, buying literally everything I need for basic daily life, cleaning, and cooking just enough so that I don’t starve (only after somewhat figuring out how to use a gas stove connected to a propane tank, all the time worried I would either blow up the apartment building or die of carbon monoxide poisoning in my sleep), I finally have enough composure and free time to write a post about my last few days.
My last day at my homestay was fairly typical and basically exemplified all my problems with the family. I bought a cake as a gift because I figured it could be a communal thing that we could share…although even when I bought it I suspected it might be awkward for us to eat it together, since that would be the most time I’ve spent with the family in months. Anyway so I brought it home in the afternoon, and my mom thanked me and gushed and everything, and I went to my room and finished packing and was on the internet for awhile and just sort of chilling out, with my door open so I would know whenever they wanted to eat dessert. Around 9 pm, my mom brings me a slice of cake with tea. “Shouldn’t we eat it all together?” I asked in Arabic. My mom looked sort of embarrassed and just said “Farah’s in the living room with her friends, Mohamed’s out, and Baba’s asleep.” Then she walked out, and I ate that delicious slice of cake, my goodbye cake, alone in my room. Needless to say I was very happy to leave the next day.
As bad as that situation was, my new apartment makes up for it. It’s really gorgeous, and spacious and clean and brand new and tasteful and everything you would want in a place to live. The location is ideal–in the heart of the best part of Amman, right off the First Circle in the middle of a ton of cafes and bookstores and good places to walk, dry-cleaners, small grocery stores, nightclubs, and especially good for me, within walking distance of Jo Magazine. That means every morning before it gets too hot I can walk to work, in the afternoons I can take a cab to whatever research-related interview I have, and make it back in the evenings to cook, go out, watch movies, and just enjoy living on my own and being completely independent and free of major obligations.
Yesterday I went shopping at Carrefour, the French version of Wal-Mart, and bought 100 dinars woth of groceries, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and everything you would need in a new place. I cooked some pasta after the super taught me how to use the stove–I’m not that big of an idiot, I’ve just never dealt with propane tanks–and then watched Fox and BBC World and fell asleep. My roommate is out of town with her mom, so it was a little quiet, and I think it’ll be even better to live with someone else there to hang out with when she gets back.
I think study-abroad has been overall a really good experience. Right now I feel so disconnected from my home school and all my friends there…like I can’t even imagine being back at Yale for last semester, and what everyone’s been doing, and I think I’ll have a lot of catching up to do when I get back. But I’ve met some really awesome people here, and have done really interesting things that I wouldn’t have gotten to do back home, so in that sense I’m really glad I came. My Arabic has gotten a lot better–one of the staff members told me I got the highest grade on the post-test out of anyone in the program, and my score improved 13 points over my pre-test–although I still struggle on a daily basis and I feel like I’ve hit a wall with it. Hopefully starting the third year back at Yale, which I’ve realized has a pretty amazing Arabic program compared to most schools, will help me advance even further.
Anyway so this is a really long rambling post, and I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the new place, but my camera’s acting up a bit so until I get it fixed, this blog will be text-only (and thus kinda boring).