Part II: The Difficult

So living in Jordan, living anywhere, has its positives and it’s negatives.  In my blog posts, I try to keep things positive; however, as promised I am writing today about the things that make living in Jordan difficult.  Here they are in no particular order (and I am sure I forgot a few..ha!):

  • Water. Having a limited supply of it and not having hot/warm water always available at a minutes notice.
  • Traffic. Traffic here is awful.  Complete chaos.
  • Parking. Parking is worse.  There is hardly any parking lots. People double and triple park on the side of a small road, because there is no other option, and if you are lucky they have left their cell phone number on the windshield for you to call them if you need them to move their car.
  • Pedestrians. Excuse me, I am the one with the motorized vehicle and you are the one about to get run over without any protection…seriously, get out of my —– way.
  • Electric. I can only run so many heavy appliances at a time or else my electric will cut off.  Total pain when I need to run the dishwasher, cook, and do laundry all at the same time.
  • This is for all the other women out there: Dishes and laundry.  Most women do not have a dishwasher.  Most women do not have a clothes dryer.  I will never understand why they don’t invest in the things that will make their life easier…I suppose it is expensive and costs a lot of energy, but still ladies…invest in them because you deserve it!
  • Unannounced house guests. Guests call 5 minutes before arriving on your door.  A good hostess will always have a clean guest room for such unannounced visitors, and there should be always be something available to offer for drink (preferably turkish coffee, tea, or juice) and something to eat (fruit, nuts, dessert, or dinner if you are cooking they must stay to eat dinner with you).  Even though I truly enjoy the company…with 3 young kids, just the thought of unannounced visitors makes me anxious…my home is never up to Jordanian standards of ‘perfection’ and we usually eat the stash of nuts, etc.
  • Women Expectations. The woman (or her maid) is expected to have a clean home and a home cooked dinner ready…every night.
  • Housework.  The usual, everyday cleaning in Jordan is like ‘Spring Cleaning” in the USA.  Honestly.  The dust…OMG…the dust.
  • Maids. ‘Everyone’ has one, but me.  Maids are everywhere and this is why the woman expectation is so high.
  • Everything is Expensive.  Anything with quality is ridiculously expensive. I am not exaggerating when I say, that if you were to buy a children’s toy at the dollar store in the USA – you would pay $1.00 for a crappy, ugly toy that breaks probably that day or the next.  Now, if you buy that same, crappy toy in Jordan, you will pay what the Fisher Price toy cost in the USA, around $20, and it would still break that same day or the next.  Now, if you want to actually buy the Fisher Price toy that would cost you $20 in the USA (or $1.00 at a garage sale), in Jordan you better be willing to pay around $100 for that same $20 Fisher Price toy in the USA.  Now that same idea goes for everything…furniture, clothing, you name it.  To make matters worse, the average Jordanian makes about 1/10 the average salary in the USA…so imagine the expense!
  • Health Care.  Health care in Jordan is supposed to be the best in the Middle East.  It’s okay, but I am not too impressed.
  • Liter.  OMG – the liter.  Seriosuly, do you people not SEE it?!  Please stop littering. Haram!

Okay, that’s enough.  I hate to be so negative…unless I am chatting with my expat friends…ha.  I have to end on a positive note, because living here even though it has it’s pain-in-the-!@# moments, it does have it’s good things too (read previous blog entry)…and here are a couple more positives about living in Jordan:

  • Dead Sea and Aqaba.  I LOVE that we can drive 30 minutes to the Dead Sea or 3 hours to Aqaba (city on the Red Sea), stay in a hotel and feel like we took a vacation.  The weather is warmer on the Seas all year-long, so in the winter we often go stay in a hotel for the weekend, swim all day, lay in the sun, and feel like we went on vacation.
  • The ‘Harris’/Guard.  Every apartment has a guard, or harris in Arabic, that lives in a part of the apartment building.  He is paid a monthly salary to wash you car every other day, take out your trash, clean the property, help with a heavy load of groceries, he will even go get a short list of groceries for you, etc.  He makes life much easier with 3 little ones around!
  • Supermarkets.  I use to laugh at the name.  They are called supermarkets, but they are small Mom and Pop stores.  They can be found every couple of blocks, they are filled to the ceiling with merchandise, they have almost everything you need, and they make shopping easier and less stressful than going to the big grocery stores.  Your shopping is done in about 1/4 the time.
  • Bakeries.  I love going to the bakery and watching the bread being made and buying fresh bread.  I am talking, fresh out of the oven, warm, moist, delicious bread! Yummmmm.
  • Arabian Women at an All Ladies Party.  I love the energy the Arabian women have when it is time to celebrate!  To me, there is nothing more exciting than kicking out the men, so the women can take off their ‘outdoor’ clothing to reveal their beautiful party dresses/evening gowns, turn up the music, and watch them sing and dance!  They have so much excitement, it’s simply energizing!

So there you have it!  The difficult and few more positives about this place I am currently calling ‘home’.  I am thinking to next write about what I have learned since I move here…what I learned about myself and what I had to learn to get around here.  Have a great day!


6 comments on “Part II: The Difficult

  1. meg says:

    just wanted to say i’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. Most especially the last two posts, so funny and accurate. You did leave out how terrible the smoking is here and the fact that hardly anyone, not even those who can afford it, use car seats??!!
    A few other positives, local fruits, my kids love pomegranate, jaranek, escdinia, their american cousins havent ever tasted these fruits while mine have picked these straight off the trees and eaten them. Also mansaf, how cool is it to have a national dish that is so unusual and fun to eat.
    Thanks for blogging. By the way i have been here four years, i have three kids including a three mos old, and by coincidence my husbands name is yanal too.
    Take care.

    • almanasir says:

      Hello Meg, great to hear from you! Yes, I do love the local fresh fruit and veggies! Yum, Pomegranite…one of my favorites too! The smoking is bad, but better than it use to be…I remember coming here to visit years before moving and the doctors smoked in their office while seeing patients and the fitness trainer smoked while trying to get me to sign up at her fitness club for women (yeah, I didn’t go back..what is that?!). Gotta love the Mansaf, yum. Do you live in Amman?

  2. Nona Hovey says:

    Hi Beth, This is real life indeed, filled with the good and the difficult. America has it’s own set of good and difficult, some overlap with yours. Some bad…America’s pace is so hectic, the filth is on the internet rather than the street. But I do love the outdoors, the space, and my clothes dryer:-)
    Give the kids a hug from Great Aunt Nona. xo

  3. Deb Luhrs says:

    Hi Beth, I so glad your mom resent me your link. It is great to come along with you through your writings. and Yes you have a way with words. God bless you Beth and your precious family

  4. Nancy Bogenschutz says:

    Another great post. Thank you for sharing. Love you. Mom

  5. Bethany, I think you did a great job on explaining the pros and cons to life here… and I love that you ended your con listed with pros… a true optimist! That’s how I try to look at things when I am feeling negative… there is a lot of nice things you just have to focus on them and not the others 🙂 Btw, I like the “safety” factor here too… it is really common to see women walking together at night to get exercise when the sun goes down… I don’t think this is something most of us would do back home! Good job!!!

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