Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chaos is Fun!

Arab culture - If you have not yet figured out from my previous blog posts, is disorganized and chaotic at times. Examples: The driving...I describe as organized chaos, as you need to force your car in where you can fit it. There are not many rules of the road that are actually followed or enforced for that matter in Jordan. Making an appointment....not many places take appointments. You simply show up at 800am, with half of Amman, sit and wait for your turn. Standing in line....not many lines to be found, except at the super market, otherwise it is the one who is most assertive who gets in first. Taking turns talking is not a common courtesy in Amman - just speak up if you want yourself heard! Time....ever hear of 'Arab time', every Arab follows a different clock or not one at all. Everyone runs late, and I'm not talking about the 'fashionable late' 15 minutes we have in the US, but it is normal to be over an hour late and be welcomed as though you are early! Time doesn't matter for much in Jordan.

I am slowly getting use to all of this disorganization, but I don't necessarily like it. I use to fight it every where I go. I try to make some sort of structure of an unstructured society, not an easy and mostly impossible task.

In particularly, this disorganization is bothersome for me at work. Everything is happening quickly, with no plans or plans that change without reason or warning, no preparation, just fly by the seat of your pants and hold on! Oh - and make sure you look confident in doing whatever flies your way as it a sign of weakness to look confused or to ask many questions. I am learning how to dodge the balls as they fly past my shoulders; however, it is not my forte and not the way I like to do things. But whatever, it is what it is and I am where I am, things will not change, so I try to adopt and learn new strengths from these adaptations.

Interestingly, yesterday at work, I was talking with a Jordanian Physician who worked in the United States for quite some time. He was talking with me about our Electronic Health Record we are about to implement in his hospital. He asks me, "So how long have you lived in Jordan?" I told him, "14 months" and he goes on to say, "Well, then you know the challenges you will face with our people here. This EHR is very organized and we don't like organization." I laughed a bit at this statement because 1- it is so obviously stating the obvious and 2- it is completely understated. He says, "We Arabs, we like chaos. Chaos is fun!" Obviously taken back by this new idea of chaos is fun, he continues to explain how structure is boring and can be quite stressful. Whereas chaos is fun and exciting. He compared it to being a teenager and how teenagers enjoy jumping from one thing to the next, without structure. How teenagers, in general, love the unstructured lifestyle and that Arabs are too like and would like to stay teenagers. Arabs like this chaotic environment as apposed to structure. I told him that I disagree with him, but that I would adopt his new idea that chaos is fun, just to help me get through the day - whether it is for a coping mechanism or for a good laugh -I'm not sure, but I am quite sure that I don't agree with the idea that it is fun....!

To each there own. We are all different. Whatever works for you! It is what it is. These are some of my most overused statements. I would say each can be used to describe my conversation with the physician :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

This is the view, everywhere you look in Jordan these days! Faces. Thousands. Thousands of faces staring. Faces of those hoping to be elected for Parliament in the Jordanian elections to be held in November. I, being new to Jordan, am learning about this process as it goes on. Here's what I learned from Wikipedia.com:
"The Legislature consists of two houses: The Assembly of Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The House of Senators has 55 members all of whom are directly appointed by the King, whist the Chamber of Deputies/House of Representatives has 80 elected members representing 12 constituencies. Of the 80 members of the lower house, 71 must be Muslim, 9 are for Christians, 3 are for Circassians and Chechen minorities, and six seats are for women."
"Senators have terms of 4 years and are appointed by the King and can be reappointed. Prospective Senators must be at least 40 years of age and held senior positions in either the government or the military."... "Deputies are elected to serve a four year term. Candidate must be older than thirty five and cannot be related to the king and must not have financial interests in governmental contracts."
"Both houses can initiate debates and vote on legislation. Proposals are referred by the Prime Minister to the House of Deputies where they are either accepted or rejected. Every proposal is referred to a committee of the lower house for consideration. If it is approved then it is referred to the government to draft in the form of a bill and submit to the Chamber of Deputies. If approved by this House it is passed onto the Senate for debate and a vote. If the Senate gives its approval then the King can either grant consent or refuse. In this case the bill is passed back to the House of Deputies where they review and voting process is repeated. If both houses pass the bill by a two-thirds majority it becomes an Act of Parliament overriding the Kings veto. Article 95 of the Constitution empowers both houses to submit legislation to the government in the forms of a draft law."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why is it so Difficult?!

Why is it so difficult? I keep asking myself this question lately. Why do I find the simple things in life to be difficult? Things like going grocery shopping, keeping the house clean, shopping for winter clothes for the kiddos, work, life - why is it that the simple things seem difficult and almost overwhelming at sometimes?!

I then ask myself these questions....

Do all people feel this way at times in their life?--answer, I suppose they do.

Do I feel this way because I am in Jordan and still adjusting to my surroundings?---I am certain this is part of the frustration.

Would I feel this way in the US at times?---I am quite sure I would, and even more so at times (since I lived far from family and didn't have a maid to help out once a week).

Do I feel this way because I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old who are in constant need of my care and this constant demand for my attention distracts me from what I am trying to do?---Yes, this is part of it.

Do other Mothers of little ones feel the same way I do?---I hope I am not the only one.

My final question goes like this....What can I do about it?---change my ways.
Why is it so hard to change?---I don't know, but I am going to work on changing a few things.

Things I am working on changing:

1-Diet. I am not going on a diet, but going back to my old ways of eating. No more KFC, BK, McDs for me or the kids -Yanal is grown and can decide for himself :o). Actually, together, we decided to start cooking vegetarian again. I felt SO must better, healthier, alert when I was a vegetarian. I went shopping today and started filling my cupboards with the basics. I opened my vegetarian cookbook tonight and has success with a new recipe...! Okay, change is good (converting to old healthier ways is great)!

2-Sleep. Need more sleep. Hmmm, realistically, I won't be doing this. I love my late nights to myself. It's the only time I get me time. The rest of the day is Mommy this, Mommy that. Honey this, honey that. Bethany this, Bethany that. Ahhhh, everyone is in bed....I am loving my late nights....until the morning, then I hate myself...LOL!

3-Prayer and reading. Need to focus on the important things in life, so the distractions are nothing more than distractions.

4-Getting out. Started a playgroup with a bunch of great ladies. We have been meeting weekly to hang out with each other as the kids play with one another. Next week, Paint Your Own Pottery" here we come! Sounds like a tone of fun! Also, need to get out of the house more often. Difficult or easy, the kids and i all need to get out more. Need to find fun places to go, to do things together, to learn about things, to grow and to get some fresh air!

5-Exercise. Should, but never have before. hmmmm. Inshallah! Hubby has started going to the gym at 600am before work....that's inspiring....! Inshallah!

I like my new goals. I hope that I can make them reality. I plan to make them reality. I feel so bogged down with whatever sometime-I am sure we all do at times. Inshallah this will make me more clear, focused and give more energy and stability to myself and the kiddos!

Questions for you-
Anyone have good vegetarian reciepes they want to share?
How would you answer my questions, if you were asking yourself?!
Any other change suggestions that worked well for you?!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ms. Betsy Kelley's Questions and Answers Blog!

Hello to Ms. Kelley's Geography class and the rest of my readers.

I want everyone to know that I have developed a new blog, attached to this one, which is designated for answering the questions to Ms. Kelley's Students.

Students may ask questions on either blog. However, to keep organized, I developed a second blog to answer all questions. This way students can easily find their own and their fellow students Q and A. This also helps Ms. Kelley keep organized, as she can easily find all enteries in one location, rather than searching up and down my Stories from Jordan Blog. Lastly, it keep my thoughts organized.

I hope that all readers, not just Ms. Kelley's class comes to my blog at http://www.mskelleyqanda.blogspot.com -The students write great questions, which prove to be not only a great learning opportunity for them, but for everyone!

I have included links to http://www.mskelleyqanda.blogspot.com in my Sweet Blogs List, in the comments section, Short Stories Section, and this blog post.

I have also included a link on the new blog for http://www.bedtimestoriesfromjordan.blogspot.com for easy access back and forth between blogs!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What's Drives This Girl Crazy

Hello Everyone. So most of the time, I try to be positive in my blog posts. Especially when I am writing about Jordan, its people, or its culture. I do this because overall it is a great country, with great people, and a great culture.

However....once in a while....there are things that drive this girl crazy about living here!

I had a melt down the other day when I was trying to stop at McDonald's for my hubby. The story goes a little like this:

Hubby was stuck working late. He asked me to pick him up McDonald's and bring it to him. Sure, no problem. I am already out of the house with the kids and I can totally stop at McDonald's for my guy. Hmmm....no problem....if we were in the USA. Here....shouldn't be a big deal either....but my story went like this. I had no cash. McDonald's ONLY takes cash (just like most places in Jordan). Need a bank. I am near the Abdoun circle, should be a bank in the busy circle. Go to Abdoun circle. Yes!-Parking place near two banks. First bank ATM, "Out of Service". Go to the second bank, two armed guards outside say something to me in Arabic and it's obvious that they are not taking customers. Crap. Look around Abdoun Circle, YES!, another bank on the other end of the circle. CRAP! No parking. Decide to double park with kids in the car. Put flashers on and pray for the best. Wait in line. Wait in line. Hurry up lady, I have kids in the car, I doubled park on a busy street and I can hear them starting to cry! Wait in line. My turn. Put in my card at the ATM, enter code, enter JD amount...."Aborted" !!!!@#$!!!! Try again. "ABORTED" !!!@#$!!! Why? Print out in Arabic only! Try my bank card from the USA. Nope. Kids screaming in the car. Policeman walking towards my double parked car. My cell phone ringing. Husband. "Call you back", I say. Screw it...ATMs all together. Policeman, "Is this your ride?" I say, "Yes, I'm leaving." Me thinking, 'my ride?', what policeman asks that, 'your ride'?! Get in car, kids screaming and crying. I drive off. "!@#$, SCREW THIS, I JUST WANTED TO GET A NUMBER 4 AT MCDONALDS!"