Update: didn’t die!
My flight from Seattle to Chicago was a little nerve-wracking, as it was my first flight alone. Also, the Chicago airport really needs to up their signage, my god. But I found my gate and all is well!
The flight from Chicago to Amman was grueling. A whole eleven hours stuck up by tinted windows you can’t really see out of. Takeoff during a lightning storm was pretty badass, though: we traveled straight through a rainy, tumultuous sky that kept glowing purple and white every so often. The Royal Jordanian itself looked pretty cool too. While up there, there was a surprising feeling of timelessness. Straight up twilight-zone at some point where I think it’s day but we are only 7 hours into the flight and people are asleep. Very strange. My phone was still in Chicago time and it was interesting being unsure of what the local time was or where we even were. Night and day were blurred thanks to the tinted windows so all of a sudden when the tint lifted we were having 7am breakfast in broad daylight, 4pm local time!
It has officially been a full three days since my arrival in Amman, Jordan. I have a very strong feeling acclimating is going to take more than just a few days. Somehow managed to get to and from my program orientation and even managed some grocery shopping and a shisha lounge. Everything here is located by surrounding landmarks and every street has two names: one on a map, that seemingly no one cares about and one absolutely different name everyone but me seems to know. Mastering directions to tell taxi drivers how to get me home has definitely been one of my biggest challenges.
The city of Amman is also massive. Home to over 4 million people (four times the population of San Francisco, for reference), I have never felt a city more alive. It is seemingly always bustling and is sectioned off by 7 or 8 major roundabouts, translated as “circles” from Arabic. Each section off of a circle is it’s own little “Amman-suburb” and has a microculture of its own, which I have already picked up on. Many of them are on hills, as apparently, the city was originally built on 6 major hills. This also makes Amman impossibly un-walkable. Ergo, traffic here is absolutely awful. I am unsure if I am more afraid as a pedestrian crossing the road or as a taxi passenger. But hey, people seem to know what they are doing so I’m going with it.
I haven’t gone out an explored much, in all honesty. I am mostly just trying to acclimate to my apartment and the area surrounding my study center. I’m certain once routine sets in things will become much easier. It is absolutely beautiful out here in some of the strangest ways. I’ll be posting some photos of the city tomorrow, keep an eye out. In the meantime, I have more Arabic to be studying!