Laura Finaldi in Jordan, 2012

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Life in a Jordanian household thus far.

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Yesterday, we met our host families. It’s one thing to be in a foreign country and deal with the people you meet on the streets. It’s another thing to move in with a family and see what their daily lives are like. Through our program, you really do become part of the family. They want you to feel at home. They’re even okay with you calling them “mom” or “dad.”

Before our father picked us up, I was so nervous–terrified of breaking one of the many cultural rules I just learned two days ago. It’s a legitimate fear. I know we’re supposed to be well-behaved and culturally acceptable, but I know myself–I can be loud, expressive and at times vulgar. It might offend some people, but I think I’m funny and it works for where I’m from. Not so much for the Middle East. I felt like I needed to reform myself in order to become socially acceptable.

My family has three daughters, a mother, a father and an adorable dog named Lexxi who is very fun to play with. They are Christian, which helps a bit because that’s the religion I was raised with.

Our father, Ma’ad, works for the government. He is on the shorter side, with light hair and bright blue eyes. When we met, he looked like he had just come from work in a button-up shirt and pants, but after we got back he quickly changed into gym shorts and a t-shirt, which he’s clearly much more comfortable in. Last night after dinner, he gave Kate and I a debriefing on the Jordanian economy. Apparently Jordan doesn’t have “industries” in the way America does, although a lot of people work in banking.

Our mother, Orayb, is one of these people. She’s a tall, beautiful, very sweet woman (Ma’ad calls her his ‘angel’). She wants us to feel welcome and made sure we had everything we needed.

For dinner we had an amazing dish called the “upside down,” a pot of chicken, eggplant and rice cooked in spices that they turned upside down so it spilled all over the inside of a baking dish. You mix it with bitter yogurt and it tastes fantastic. We also got to try Arabian coffee, which is served in glasses no bigger than espresso cups. It’s more bitter than American coffee, but not in a bad way.

Last night, Kate and I went shopping with our two youngest sisters, who are 15-year-old twins. I desperately needed new clothes. It was definitely an experience. A lot of clothes don’t have prices on them, and a lot of places don’t have change–you have to pay the exact amount. But I learned a little bit about dressing appropriately. For our trip, we were told that our arms and legs had to be covered up at all times, but my sisters told me it’s okay to show part of my arms as long as there’s some kind of sleeve. Learn something new every day!

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Written by laurafinaldi

May 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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