Sunday, June 18, 2006

Everyone knows SO much about Jordan

I find it fascinating that seemingly everyone I know is fully briefed about Jordan. And, these folks don't mind sharing the benefit of their wisdom. Now, how, you may ask, did they come about this knowledge. Well, I believe they are sharing things that "everyone" knows. When we were preparing to move here, my Mom's husband's son's family (boy that sounds a bit odd) was telling my Mom all about what my life would be like. Let me put this into perspective, my Mom has visited Jordan 3 times, including for my wedding. The people sharing their knowledge have never been to Jordan. I'm not sure they've ever left Alabama. But, don't worry they know ALL about Jordan. One of the first things they told my Mom is that I would have to wear a burka. A what? It seems that this is a word for the Abaya. Of course, my Mom has been here and explained that while that may be the case in some countries in this region, it certainly isn't here. She's gone to visit sites in shorts and even been to the souk downtown in jeans and a T-shirt. She's never worn a burka, an abaya, or any other covering clothing. They just argued with her that she was wrong :). Too funny. So, of course, I've taken many pictures of us in shorts on picnics, in jeans and short sleeves (pretty much every other day), etc. In fact, the reality is that I don't dress any differently than I did in the States. I always wore jeans there too. That's just me, I'm a jeans kind of gal.

One of my new friends here was telling me about all of the people who are either from other countries (Egypt) or married to people from other countries (Lebanon) who advised her that she would be unable to go running in Jordan! What? Unable to go running. Okay, she is a single woman. She is blond. But she's also got to be 5'10" and served in some branch of the military long ago. So, maybe, just maybe, she can hold her own. In fact, I suspect that if I wanted to go walking alone in the early morning I could. I don't (owing much more to laziness than anything else), but I suspect I could. Again, it's funny what people who've never been here "know" about Jordan.

It gets tiring trying to argue it. In fact, I advised my Mom to stop trying. I told her, just wait and I'll send pictures so they really understand. Now, mind you, El 3atal gets mistaken for a foreigner when we're together since he's always dressed in shorts and is fairly blond himself. And, when I see a guy on the streets in shorts, I often assume they're American myself. But still, the reality is, while it may mark you as different, it isn't all that. And, given the fashions (skin tight, low cut, etc.) that the people from here wear, I'm not entirely certain what IS off-limits. But then, isn't the way it's supposed to be? I'm no slave to fashion (as anyone who knows me noticed in the first 10 seconds), so for me it's all a non-issue. But, I wish that people who've never been here would stop offering advice and the benefit of their "wisdom". So, if you're reading this, haven't been to Jordan, and were planning on offering advice on the social and fashion climate here, do us both a favor... keep it inside this once. Teehee.



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