Alive and well! Placement exam taken; probably in Beginner level. I know so much less Arabic than I'd rather hoped I did. Have been hanging out with John McMurray (from IUP, whom some of you know) and Andrew, who's doing further language study for his Fulbright before starting research in spring on Jordanians' actual opinions regarding American foreign policy as broadcast on major regional news stations (ie. Al-Jazeera). I'm all for that project, actually. It's something that's desperately needed studying for a very long time and yet hasn't been. I'm getting a bit more into the swing of things--just in time for Ramadan to start tomorrow and throw everything off again.
And now, let me tell you about pigeons and my new phone.
PART I: PIGEONS
The sky-rats are everywhere.* Most particularly, they have roosted, shat upon, and nested in my window-box. There are two--TWO!--ugly baby pigeons growing in my window-box. Their names are First Pigeon (which is smaller and appeared first) and Second Pigeon (which is fat like an obese water balloon sparsely pasted with ugly yellow feathers). There are also two eggs, which promise future pigeons as well.
Both First and Second Pigeons and their Mama Pigeon(s) bed down for the night in the soft, downy layers of old pigeon shit layering my window-box, which smells bad enough that I can't keep my bedroom window open for more than ten minutes.
Apparently, you can stop pigeons from landing somewhere by lining the spot with old plastic bottles. Pigeons hate plastic. Who knew? It's like a less vicious version of those spikes you see people put on their windowsills in the States. But I do not want to be responsible for killing baby pigeons by starving them. I definitely don't want to watch them slowly die of exposure in my window. Any ideas?
PART II: JORDANIAN PHONE
Because of the craziness that is non-compatible continental cell phone networks, my American cell phone is useless in Jordan. And Jordanian phones are really, really cheap, even when you're ripped off because you look like a tourist. So I have this new little Nokia phone now.
And God, it is amazing. There are more ringtones I like on this phone than there are ringtones on my American one, full-stop. The options are organized sensibly. Prepaid phone plans are standard, and pretty cheap. My phone cost 25JD and my plan 15JD (incl. 5JD prepaid): about 56USD. Craziness!
Plus, this is an insanely cell-phone-obsessed culture. Walking down the street, you can see about a fifth of the people on phones. If you're talking to someone and your phone rings, you always answer it (unless it's your annoying cousin Ahmed who's called you four times today already, or something like that). And unlike in the States, where getting someone's number is a sign of knowing them well, in Jordan you get the numbers of everyone you know. I have the personal cell number of the guy employed by the supervisor of Yarmouk's team of repair guys, and he has mine. You just do that. It's weird, but I'm starting to get used to it.**
Still miss you all. Drop me a comment or an email, tell me how your day went.
*I have a lot of love for rats. But pigeons are just vile.
**If you want my Jordanian number, just ask. I'm sure someone out there must have a decent international plan.