Cucumber, cool as a

Traveling anywhere in Latin America, I’ve always felt an immediate click with the country and the people. The mountains and scenery, colourful hats, and fried dough dipped in chocolate speak to me. I’m still waiting on that feeling with the the Middle East, and have resigned myself to the fact that it’s probably never going to happen for me. But arriving back in Amman after two months in Baghdad has made me appreciate the city more than I had when I left. The driving may be crazy, but at least I’m allowed to go places!

Spring in Amman is beautiful. The normally bleach-white-and-beige city is awash in green, with lilacs spilling over walls and brilliant wild poppies splattering the road side like wed paint. The weather is perfectly crisp and sunny, and the first of the summertime produce has started to appear on the back of pick-up trucks parked on the highway.

I realized that even though I’m not in love with the city, that’s no reason not to fully live our lives here. Since I’ve been back we’ve started exploring again – the new Thai place, the cool artsy neighbourhood downtown, more ruins. I’ve said fuck it to the hills and the catcalls and started running seriously again; with the view to maybe signing up for something biggish in Europe this fall.

The posting lifestyle is teaching me to make the best of things, instead of waiting until things are perfect. Life lesson: things will never be perfect, so just get going.

Becoming a manager at the same time as I was learning the ropes to my new job was highly intimidating. I’ve had to deal with some pretty serious issues with my staff, but I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with the role. People mostly seem to want the same things I want as an employee – a degree of autonomy, but direction when it’s required; a challenge and the tools to meet it successfully; clients to not be mean to us. I can’t influence the last one but I can do my best to give my staff the first two (and for anyone in the same shoes, I highly recommend the Ask a Manager archives for invaluable managerial advice from a smart lady).

Acknowledging that my sphere of influence is very tiny has also been helpful in managing my stress about my job (the physical manifestations of which, luckily, turned out to be my very first parasite). I love that my job amounts to solving problems, but I’m learning that there are a lot of problems I can’t solve on my own. I can offer advice but I don’t get paid enough to carry the burdens of others.

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3 thoughts on “Cucumber, cool as a

  1. haya says:

    march was always one of my favourite months in jordan (the opposite in ontario! i really dislike march here. it’s cold and muddy and wet and smells vaguely of manure. don’t get me started on the geese!). the wildflowers are so great. did you spot any black irises?

    i achieved the parasite milestone last year right in canada, where i least expected it (seems like a developing country sort of issue!). such a weird thing to have a creature inside you, making you just sick enough to be totally miserable but not kill you (that part was reassuring to me).

    • meaghan says:

      I actually also really love March in Ontario – that fresh melting black mud smell is one of my favourite things. I also like pretending it’s spring and walking around without enough layers on, and going to cabanes à sucre. No black irises yet but we’re going to Umm Qais this weekend so hopefully we’ll see some!

      • haya says:

        i guess maple scented air can make up for the poopy mud smell, but last year was the first time i actually experienced that. this march was mostly ridiculous and contained too many -25 days. i have finally officially switched to spring jacket though, so that is awesome.
        the irises are rare but beautiful! hopefully you are still within the viewing window (which is so short! that is the saddest thing about spring in jordan.)

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