Friday, September 11, 2009

Things Strange to Me...

We have been here for nearly 2 months now. As I am becoming more familiar to this place, I am starting to notice things that are different than what I am accustom to. I thought I'd share them with you....

1. They don't have closets. No closets in the bedroom, no pantry, no linen closet, no entry closet for your coats. Nothing! They all use large pieces of furniture to store their belongings.

2. They don't use credit. In Islam, credit if forbidden, so most places do not allow you to purchase things on payment. For instance, we are purchasing a new TV and washing machine and only 1 place have we found that lets you pay by payments. It gets stranger, you have to go to your work, have your work pay for the TV or whatever and then you payback your work in increments! Same goes for paying for college, you have to pay cash for college rather than loans. This is the traditional way, some places are chaning over to using credit. It's so different than the US where every place that you shop they ask you to open a new credit card!

3. Most people (that we know) have at least 1 servant. My mother-in-law has 2 ladies that live with her and work for her. Thye do every and anything for her. Cook, clean, go to the store to buy groceries, help out with my kids, anything you need they will do. It's great, but strange to me.

4. The kids eat an unlimited amoutn of candy, and none of them are overweight! Seriously, the kids have it good here. They go to the store and come back with a large bag of candy nearly everyday...and really I rarely see a heavy kid! What's up with that?!

5. They know more about the US and other countries than we know about any other country in the world! There are many radio stations that play only English music, we get many American channels and movies on the satelite, American news is common news onthe front page of the paper and the headline news in English and Arabic paper/channels.

6. My generation and younger are all bilingual. They are required to study Arabic, English and another language of their choosing (usually French) from K4-senior year! maybe they don't speak perfect English, but they all know it. English is widely used in business, medicine and in the upper more educated classes. My husband's work is done mostly in English (and it's a jordanian government position). Also, about 50% of the signs around town are in Arabic and English. Interesting, huh!

7. Not much diversity. America is truly the "melting pot". You see so many people from all different backgrounds. Here you see mostly Arabs. They can be from a variety of Arab countries, but they are mosly Arabs. How every so often and depending on what part of town we are in, I do see afew Americans, Europeans and Asian people. It's funny because I cathc myself staring at them wondering what their story is!

8. Everything is so expensive! I am amazed at the prices of things being similar to that of the US. If you want to buy anything of quality, you will pay the same or more than what you would pay in the US. If you want to buy US goods, you will pay more than you would in the US. There is a free trade agreement between the US and Jordan, but US good are still spendy. For instance, I bought secret deorderant the other day ($2.50 in the US) it cost me $7.00! Amazing because this is considered a lower-middle class country. The average income here is a lot lower than that of the average US citizen. You can really feel the seperation of rich and poor here. I think Yanal said it best, in the US everyone shops at the same stores. We all go to Target, Walmart, the same grocery stores, etc. If you don't have a lot of money in the US, you can get it at a garage sale or buy clearance or the like. Here if you buy cheap, it will surely break! If you want something of what we would consider of normal quality in the US, you will pay a lot for it and remember what I wrote in #2.

I'm sure I will have lots more things to add to this list as time goes on, but I thought I'd share the things that are currently interesting to me!


  1. Erik wants to come there now so he can have a servant and eat candy all day.
    And he said if you're really hurtin he'll send you some deoderant.
    Thanks for another cultural lesson!

  2. Tell Erik he can come visit anytime, but he has to bring you (and the kids) with!!