Moving to Amman


Since October R and I have been planning our sojourn from the comfort of Northern Virginia, to Amman, Jordan. Moving abroad is something R has discussed since we met and being the super wife that I am, I’ve agreed. Perhaps I’m nervous, unsure, and selfish in my assessment of what life will be like there, but I’ve come up with a gripe list to vent my frustrations:
Top Ten Reasons I’m Annoyed with Moving:

  1. I have to give up my job: I love this job, my students and the administration. Raj owes me BIG time for this one alone!
  2. I cannot find ANY yoga studios in Amman. I practice yoga five days a week. I’m also certified to teach it (and I do teach one yoga class a week at my school), but as a lazy yogi, I prefer to be led through a practice instead of leading myself in one. Herein lies the problem. If I can’t find a studio, I’ll have to commit to a personal practice. Good god!
  3. People–men or women–do not run outside (nor do they walk much). Translation: If I want to maintain my exercise regimen of running twenty miles weekly, I’ll have to run INDOORS on a TREADMILL. Shoot me!
  4. We will be living in an apartment. There’s nothing wrong with apartment living. However,  at my age, I never imagined I’d be living in an apartment with my husband and my dog, in a place that I cannot decorate or even furnish with my own belongings (I’ve been severely limited as to what I can and cannot ship). Additionally, there’s NO DISHWASHER and the appliances are circa 1980.
  5. Furry children are not considered family members. Shanti our miniature Schnauzer is a sweet and adorable dog. He looks like a teddy bear but barks like a beast. No one likes a barking dog–especially in areas of the world where dogs are not considered babies.
  6. My hairdresser will not accompany me to Amman. As a bleach blond, the fear of leaving your hair dresser, whom you visit religiously every four weeks, is paralyzing. Who will be able to highlight my hair as well as my current stylist? Who will understand the intricacies of bleaching my hair in a land where the majority of women do not bleach their hair blond?
  7. I have to find a job. This is not a monetary concern (Raj may disagree), but rather a psychological one. If I have nothing to do (and granted, I have lots of stuff that I’ve mentioned over the years that I complained I never had time to attend to, i.e. writing, reading, cooking…), I will go crazy. I need to occupy my time with some type of work for my own sanity.
  8. My clothing is mostly inappropriate to wear. Although I’ve lived in the DC area for the last three years, I was born and raised in southern California. The laid back, summer styles of sunny California do not translate well in the conservative climate of northern Virginia, but I can only imagine how inappropriate they are in a conservative place. Most, if not all of my summer clothes are sleeveless, tight fitting, neck baring…
  9. I can no longer secretly buy stuff and stash it away before Raj gets home. All of our mail will be delivered to his work address meaning that he will pick up ALL packages, thus requiring me to explain purchases.
  10. Lastly, independence. Moving to a foreign country requires patience, practice, and reliance on someone else. I hate having to be codependent.
There you have it. The top ten reasons that I’m annoyed to move.
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7 thoughts on “Moving to Amman

  1. Hello Jen,

    Welcome to Jordan! I just moved back from Washington DC to Jordan and its been an interesting transition! I actually used to do a lot of Bikram yoga in DC and its been hard finding places here so now I practice a lot at home and at this gym.
    Would love to meet with you if your free! I grew up in Amman so maybe I can help you if there is anything you need! Just email me at aidamurad@gmail.com

    Best Regards,
    Aida

  2. Hey!
    I found your blog searching for a yoga studio in Amman (ha!) and while I believe from hearsay that there are quite some places I haven’t spend any time really looking for one (this is how a lot of services work around Jordan. Someone tells you of something, directories are rather scarce).
    Your list sounds pretty depressing to me – have you settled down by now? It takes a while to adjust to the different circumstances and a lot of things are different and maybe even peculiar here (and need a little bit more running around for).
    But going out during Ramadan (without buffets) would have been fine, if a) you called to find out if they have a la carte and b) didn’t go during iftar but after (so it’s more quiet and nice). Labaneh (not to be confused with Laban, yogurt) can be used as sour cream. If you see a Al-Rifai roastery: They sometimes sell almond meal. It’s frustrating this “sometimes they have it, sometimes they don’t.” Your care package (yes, I am quite thorough with reading) read like stuff I often buy in Amman (chocolate chips, baking chocolate).
    Readers (at Cozmo, 7th circle) has an okay selection of cookbooks, even Middle Eastern ones.

    All the best!
    Annika

    1. I’m noticing the same thing. Yoga seems to be on the down low here–no signs outside of studios, etc. I’ve since tried TWO more places, well actually one so-called studio, but in two different “houses” and with two different teachers. It was equally abysmal so I’m sticking to doing yoga alone, which is not very enjoyable for someone who enjoys the company of others.
      I’m settling in and things are getting better, or maybe my expectation are just leveling out which seems to help. Yeah, I know what you mean about having to run around to find certain things too.
      Just this week I heard someone mentions Readers. Is it a bookstore? And where in relation is it to Cozmos? Are there any Middle Eastern cookbooks that you’d recommend?
      Thanks again for reaching out.

      1. You know where Cozmo is? Close to the 7th circle on the airport road.
        If you haven’t been there, it’s similar to Miles minus the wooden floors but bigger and equally expensive. In the same building (and connected through escalators) is Smart Buy an electronic store, Bhs, mediocre department store and Readers which claims to be the best bookstore in town (it’s okay, but things could be much better). They have a decent collection of cookbooks including some Middle Eastern ones. The most comprehensive is probably “The Complete Middle East Cookbook” covering the whole region but it doesn’t have a lot of pictures which always puts me off. Same goes for “The Arab Table”. I own “The Middle Eastern Cookbook” which is decent. I could borrow it to you if you’re interested. The author is Lebanese and she therefore claims a lot of dishes to be Lebanese (which isn’t really the case).
        If you are up to socializing with an European housewife in her twenties married to a Jordanian – let me know!

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