Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How I've Changed

It is bound to happen to any person who moves and begins living in a new surrounding. It doesn't matter if the move is to a new neighborhood in the same city, to the neighboring state, to the opposite region of the United States, or when one moves to another part of the world. Change is going to occur. They say change is difficult and people generally resist change. However, in certain situations change is necessary and will occur because of the new experiences. Those who experience change, will resist. Those who eventually embrace change usually state that it was positive.

A person adapts to their new surroundings and begins to change as a result of this adaptation. Or as my father always says, "You are a product of your environment". Of course there is the nature/nurture theories...but here we are strictly looking at the nurture part of this argument.

First, change can be a result of assimilation - an unwritten, unspoken expectation of the majority onto the minority person/family who immigrates to the culture of the majority - and a non purposeful absorption of the cultural norms of the new society - assimilation. It is a well known concept of those who study Sociology. Assimilation at some level is necessary and happens with or without purposeful intent.

Second, change occurs because of what is witnessed, experienced, and that which is newly understood about their surroundings. These will ultimately change, at some level, the persons description of me - of what is important to me and of that which is no longer as important to me.

How have I changed?
-Complete awareness of the precious non-renewable resource of water. Jordan is a country thirsty for water. Each person residing in Jordan is allowed a pre-determined amount of water each week. Water runs out if you are not consciously aware of the amount you use. I have learned to pay close attention to the amount of water is wasted and have stopped the waste before the waters runs out.

-Realization of how much I love my family. I have a new appreciation for my family. I have always (except for my teenage years) felt blessed with a healthy and happy family. A family who enjoys our time together, who take vacations together, make an appoint to celebrate special occasions together, laugh together, support each other, love each other. However, not until I have move here, away from that family I love, when I realize exactly how blessed we are and how much I really love my family.

-Deeply understand the meaning of Alhumdillah (Thanks be to God). So many people here (and around the world, including the US) do not have the things that I have and have not the option to experience the things I have experienced in my short life. Previously, I knew of this only on an intellectual level. I had read about it and heard about it; however, I am now living and seeing the reality. I so appreciate and feel blessed for the things that I once found normal, things that I nearly expected...I have been on a vacation at least once in my life (actually I have been on many vacations, rather than only to dream of one vacation). I have been on a boat. Gone fishing. Know how to golf. I have rode a bike. I know how to swim. I have a automatic washing machine...and a dryer. I have a dishwasher. I have a college degree. I finished high school. I went to elementary school. I have healthy kids and family. I have clothing. I have shelter and I have a heater in my shelter. I have clean water. I have food. I am not a beggar. I do not have physical limitations. I do not have mental limitations. Everywhere you turn in Amman, you will see someone living in poverty. Someone is asking for change or trying to make a couple of coins but selling things like tissues and gum on every street in Amman. Alhumdillah, Alhumdillah, Alhumdillah. Thank you God for everything that I have, as I am truly blessed.

-Embarrassment. I have learned to be embarrassed to ask for more. I live nearly the life I had in the USA, and I still want more. Don't we all want more or something? Money, new clothes, bigger home, friendship, health, time, etc. I have learned how to define my wants of more into those as needs and those as extras. Alhumdillah, I have been so blessed and when you truly and deeply understand those blessing, it is embarrassing to ask for more. There are so many around me that have nearly nothing and they also say Alhumdillah. Shame on me to ask for more.

-Hospitality. Jordanians and known for and pride themselves on hospitality. One does not eat nor drink anything without asking everyone around if they would like some. I get up at work to grab a glass of water and I ask everyone in the office if I can make them some tea or coffee. Before I go to the cafeteria, I ask if anyone wants everything and I buy an extra so when I return I can offer something for them as well. Greeting someone is not just "Hey" and keep on walking or continue back to that which I am working on. It is a genuine Asalamualaikum (Peace be on you), Good morning, How are you doing, How was your weekend, How are your kids, family, etc. It is rude not to, and it is interpreted as those you are not interested in the well being of others. It is good practice and it is a positive assimilation.

Something I want to change.
-Feeling comfortable with being forward. The society here is not bashful to ask for things. There are no lines - it is who speaks the loudest who gets his/her turn first...I need to learn how to do that!

I was hoping to ask Hubby about the changes he has noticed in himself...he is now sleeping...Inshallah I will ask him this week and see how his list is the same or different. It will be an interesting discussion :-)

What times in your life did you under go change? What were the circumstances surrounding the change? Was it a positive experience - why or why not?


  1. Beth- It's been so cool growing up and growing "old" with you- you are so special :)
    Geez I miss you...

    Times when I had to undergo change?? How about becomming a mom so young-THAT was life changing and terrifying.
    And then totally changing my game plan and diving into a new career (one I was meant for, but took awhile to figure it out). It was scary and a long journey to get there, but also healing for me at the same time.

    Take care,

  2. The biggest change that I can remember going through in my life, so far, was transitioning from home and the life of a high school student to college and everything that comes with it. Im glad you asked me that question so that I could take a minute to relate your story to my experience with change. It puts it in a little better perspective as that change was monumental for me, but seems so minimal compared to your change.

    Im proud of you.


  3. Beth, I really think you're just too precious for words. Thanks for sharing your stories, your love, your honesty, and your insight :)

    Question... besides moving to Jordan, what other time in your life do you think you changed or had to grow the most?

    As for me. The first big decision I ever made entirely for me was when I took a semester off, quit volleyball and started over at a new college. It was the first time I ever switched directions and decided to make my own change :) The other is obvious... starting over and having to re-figure out who I am at the age of 27... not so easy, but ultimately positive.

    Love you,

  4. The biggest change we ever made was in our moving to Brainerd. Both your dad and I lived in Albert Lea all of our lives and moving 250 miles away seemed distant. But it wasn't long and Brainerd became our home.

    We are very proud of you and the new life you have made in your 'home away from home'. We are thankful that you have settled in. But...if you ever change your minds....we would welcome you to your American home with open arms.

    We love you. Mom

  5. Thanks to all my favorite ladies in my life! I love each of you more than anything :-)

    Laura-Besides moving to Jordan what were life changing events in my life....many actually....moving to Minneapolis, moving to
    Milwaukee, becoming a nurse, becoming a Muslim, becoming a Mother! These were all huge monumental moments in my life and they are all very positive experiences!

  6. Oh, how we forget the most obvious things....my first life changing event was marrying my best friend, Yanal! And one things I forgot to mention is the change in my driving skills :-)