I realized that I’m past the low point in the culture shock curve when I spent my whole time in Canada calling Amman “home,” and when I was hit with a powerful craving for Habiba’s kanafeh (that I haven’t been able to sate because downtown is still flooded with snow runoff) while describing the food to my friends. I don’t know that Amman will ever be my favourite place in the world, but it’s beginning to feel like my place. I know where to find my favourite falafel, I have a preferred brand of squeaky halloumi cheese, and I’m gradually replacing my broken standard arabic with broken Jordanian arabic.
Nevertheless, it was nice to take a breather. Some things I learned on this trip:
Do whatever it takes to get into the business class lounge at the airport, especially if you’re planning on sleeping there. Germans will not bend the rules, Jordanians will.
If you take 8 flights in less than 120 hours, your ankles will swell hideously. It’s temporary but alarming, a good reminder of why christmas cookies should not be a year-round event.
I grew up in the most secular family environment possible, a natural born atheist, although thankfully not the internet kind. At Eric’s grandmother’s funeral, I spent an inordinate amount of time frantically flipping through the program while his sisters laughed at me, wondering how everyone else knew the words already (as it turns out, the lord’s prayer is rather well-known). But first corinthians will make me cry every single time, most particularly when watching two of our lovely friends get married beside a nativity scene with camels in the manger.
Spending a week in familiar territory is restorative magic. Memories of trail runs in the snow, buttery prosciutto, and the sound of friends’ laughter (although they vary from peals to snorts, I love them all) can be stored up like water for a return to the desert.