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mall-exploring and future-planning

May 12, 2011

Today I made a trip to Mecca Mall in West Amman with my roommate–I’d never been there before, and when she informed me that there was a proper frozen yogurt place there I immediately forced her to make a fro-yo/mall-exploring date with me. I love that stuff. Along with Mexican food, it’s one of the few things that I both don’t have AND crave here. (Mexican food exists in Amman–just like fro-yo–but it’s not readily available given my chosen lifestyle.) Anyway, my mall trips are few and far between, so I love any chance I get to visit that foreign world of skinny, shiny girls who make me feel like a slob and mysterious food court smells wafting through the air.

We also found a Forever 21 where everything was at least twice as expensive as it would be in the States. Wandering through those racks of quirky clothes was, weirdly, the first time I felt a twinge of excitement about coming home. I guess it made me feel just close enough. Mostly, though, I am dreading my departure. I know I have a lot to come home to–

Family. Friends. Moving to a new city/state. Law school. Chipotle. Harassment-free streets. Fresh clothes.

But I also have a lot to leave behind. New friends and family. Falafel. Streets filled with familiar faces. Gorgeous sunsets. Arabic conversations.

Anyway, I almost bought this hilarious necklace while I was there, but I refrained because I couldn’t justify the seven bucks (living here has made me a cheapo). It was definitely a “wait a second, is this considered fashionable in America right now” moment. Just looking at it makes me laugh. [But just so we’re clear: if I did buy it, I would SO wear it all the time.]

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I still get startled at the way people react to my news that I’m leaving in the summer to attend law school in America. “And then you’ll come back?” they always ask. I say something evasive about how I would love to work in the region again once I have my degree. How I’m interested in human rights, and particularly the rights of women and children. “So you’ll come back to help us.” A statement, not a question. The Palestinians say this, expecting me to return to advocate for their rights. The Iraqis say this, expecting me to help them move abroad. Women say this, expecting me to help them find more protection under the law. Even children say this. “We have no rights here,” one of my tutoring kids proclaimed after his mom explained what “rights” meant. “Our teachers are allowed to hit us in school, and we can’t do anything about it.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t let out a little giggle at this point. Not because I support corporal punishment in schools, but because I was impressed by how speedily he processed everything to get to that sentence.

Even tonight, upon hearing my plans for the near future during a quick visit, my old neighbors (the Armenians) gave me a serious order to “keep in touch” after I leave, as they are getting involved in a new human rights organization that’s starting up in Amman. And here’s the funny thing. While I’ve never had serious plans to live extensively outside the U.S. at any point in my life, I have this funny feeling that my life here isn’t coming to a close just yet, even though I’m going home this summer. [I can only hope…] There is something keeping me tethered. At least in part. I’m just not sure what.

Sometimes I keep notes on things I want to blog about. These are the only notes I found from recently:

-Remember when that pickup truck tried to tell me it was a taxi
-It’s hot and there are tourists everywhere and my allergies suck

I mean, do I even need to say any more?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Daniel P permalink
    May 12, 2011 6:50 am

    desert allergies must suck…

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