Returning to Jordan by Bribe of London

Washington Monument

Returning to Jordan from DC is akin to returning to school after summer break–it’s painful, traumatic, and the last few days of ‘summer’ are ruined from the impending doom on the horizon. To Raj’s credit, he anticipated a case of the ‘Jordan Blues’ and planned a two night layover in London in hopes of counteracting my mood. (Smart man; it worked, at least temporarily.)

We had a great three weeks in Old Town, Alexandria. Reintegration into American culture took all of one second as we were greeted with smiling faces and people driving in an orderly fashion. The highlights of the trip included:

  • running OUTSIDE, along the Potomac River
  • going to yoga EVERYDAY
  • walking about town, wearing whatever I pleased
  • shopping at my favorite stores
  • eating at Cheesetique, multiple times
  • getting my hair done by my favorite stylist
  • eating Greek yogurt
  • seeing friends
  • catching up on all of my favorite TV shows
  • and much, much more…
View from National Gallery

London was fun, despite my trepidation of returning. We enjoyed an afternoon at the National Gallery followed by one of the two things Raj had requested: fish and chips for dinner on the first night and Indian food on the second. The second day we spent at the British Museum followed by a stroll through Harrods. After working up an appetite from all of the walking, Raj was on a mission to find an Indian restaurant to make up for the terrible meal the night before. On a doorman’s recommendation, we headed to Victoria station. We got out of the station across the street from the Apollo Victoria Theatre and saw signs for Wicked. Raj, continuing on with his quest to make me forget where we would be heading to soon, spontaneously inquired about tickets for that evening’s show. We bought tickets and headed out to find the Indian restaurant. Dinner was terrible, but it didn’t matter; Raj got his fix. Wicked was great, as were our seats.

We landed back to Jordan on Thursday evening, attended the Marine Ball on Friday, and now I’m prepping up for a Thanksgiving feast, Jordan style, this week. I’ve promised Raj that I’ll try to be more positive and that I’ll post more than once a month now that I’m no longer ‘working.’

Yoga in Amman Versus Yoga in DC

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

Yoga in Amman is like everything else here–DIFFERENT, not bad, not good & EXPENSIVE (no values here!). Let me preface this comparison by acknowledging how THANKFUL I am to have found a place to go to practice yoga. I won’t call it a yoga studio, but a fitness club that offers classes twice a week. Here’s the shakedown of how yoga at home differs from yoga in Amman.

Yoga at Home in Old Town, Alexandria:

  1. I could WALK to the studio from my house, a short jaunt down a quaint street of historical, perfectly manicured homes, with GRASS, lots of dogs, cute boutiques and plenty of people out enjoying their day, regardless of the weather.
  2. I’m welcomed into a peaceful, serene space that smells like lavender or incense.
  3. I’m surrounded by like-minded people in fashionable, enviable yoga clothing–very unyogi-like , I know (that make me want to go home and order more Lululemon).
  4. The instructors are NICE and COMPLIMENTARY (and fit!).
  5. The music is hip and cool (similar to my musical tastes).
  6. People speak and smile to each other and the studio offers tea and cookies.
  7. Laughing is encouraged and practiced.
  8. Instructors encourage you to move at your own pace.
  9. You feel great after class: calm and collected.
  10. Although yoga is expensive, you don’t mind because you feel like it’s a value for the benefits you receive.

Yoga in Amman:

  1. I have to drive to the place (not a big deal, but driving here is DANGEROUS).
  2. There is no welcome. You enter, walk down a staircase into the inner sanctum of the gym that smells like a gym.
  3. No one wears yoga clothes.
  4. I was told and even asked to demonstrate how I do a pose the wrong way (Did I mention that I’m a certified yoga instructor? No one else has ever pointed out that I don’t do chair pose correctly. Shame on you former teachers of mine!) She told me that I’ve formed a bad “habit” and have to fix it.
  5. There is NO music! No sound, just the instructor’s voice.
  6. No smiling, no talking, no treats after class.
  7. No laughing allowed. This is very serious business.
  8. We all do the same pose, regardless of our level. Apparently, we are ALL beginners, plus there are long breaks in between the poses (we only did THREE, one of which was mountain pose).
  9. We practice Iyengar style yoga. Need I say more?  Iyengar is a form of yoga, which I’m sure is fabulous, but extremely strict about alignment. I prefer vinyasa-style yoga, active, energetic classes where you feel like you’ve gotten a workout. After class I asked the teacher if this was a beginner yoga class and she told me it was a “mixed level” class. We did THREE poses in one hour and fifteen minutes and used chairs as props. God help me. Breathe! I also asked if she ever teaches vinyasa classes. She said, “No, ALL teachers in Amman teach Iyengar.”
  10. I paid more per class than I do in DC.I expect to pay a lot in the land of milk and honey–it’s a big city with lots of options. Here in Amman there are NO options and the price should reflect this.
There you have it. Yoga in Amman is NOT fun or even fulfilling. I came home and did some more. Perhaps someday I’ll even learn to do chair pose correctly. Inshallah. Namaste.