“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” GK Chesterton
I don’t really know how much Middle Eastern experience good old G.K. Chesterton had, but his thoughts on the idea of inconvenience very much resonated with me this week. I had written this post before re-reading this quote (thanks, Mom) and may or may not have changed my tune regarding some of the below experiences to remedy my habit of occasionally being an ungrateful twat. Here it goes- Amman life in ALL it’s glory and gore… 😉
Things that are difficult:
Working from home- if I don’t manage to rouse myself from my apartment I sit in bed or at my table (in my sleeping bag. So glad I brought that) typing in gloves because my fingers have turned an unflattering shade of blue without them. Cold= yuck.
Showering- y’all, I love showers. I like not wearing clothes. I love showers and water and being warm. During winter in Jordan I hate showering. Bare skin should not-and rarely does-interact with the bitterness that is air. Here you must remember to turn on your water heater (an hour for me) and even then you will be halfway through shaving your left leg with shampoo in your hair when your shower begins to ominously grow cold (cause once it’s cold there ain’t no goin’ back). Also, my shower is teeny tiny and makes me feel very awkward!
Cleaning- I don’t have a vacuum, and the one provided by my landlord is broken.. so when I first moved in and had to clean I swept the dust and other assorted crap off my floor with the broom. It’s not easy. I worked up a sweat. It’s ineffective and inefficient, but it looks better at least!
Laundry- Dryers are a thing of the past, my friends! My washer fits under my kitchen/bathroom sink and is a washer/spin dryer hybrid. You have to manually fill it with water (from the sink or shower) and stick an attached hose down the bathroom floor drain so water doesn’t leak all over the floor (which it still might do). The washer has one setting, which is the halfhearted swooshing of my clothes in soapy water for an undetermined amount of time. The spin dryer can handle approximately 4 items of clothing at the same time (or 12 socks) and sounds like a combination of an airplane taking off and like I’ve thrown a brick in it. It is a very dramatic appliance, let me tell you. The spin dry cycle also causes the entire machine to jiggle across my bathroom floor which makes me glad that no one lives in the apartment below me! In the summer the drying part of this process improves immensely, but currently the line between cold and wet is thin indeed…
Being warm- keeping warm is a struggle in a country where central heating doesn’t exist. Most apartments have heaters called a soba that are basically propane heaters. These work really well but I a) don’t have one, and b) haven’t gotten a propane tank for my stove yet so I can cook and should probably take care of that first (tonight, inshallah!). Having 2 carbon monoxide producing, potentially very explosive things in my tiny apartment doesn’t make me comfortable, either. Haha. Thankfully I have lots of big, warm blankets and am now comfortable sleeping in a hat, gloves, a scarf, and enough layers to make that kid from A Christmas Story look like he was on his way to the beach for summer vacation.
I also realized that me complaining about the difficulties of life here is a bit dumb looking at the things going on around me. I had the opportunity today (missed, as it turned out… more on that later) to visit a Syrian refugee camp and while I was excited to do so, also had to stop and think: how crazy is it that I have the opportunity go to to these places and then get come back home? To my albeit frigid apartment which, while it isn’t the Ritz (or even a motel), is the closest thing I have to home and which is full of snacks and friends and items that I am lucky to have gotten to bring here with me. I am not alone in a foreign place; I have chosen this home. And for that, despite the inconveniences and adventures, I am very glad.