Our Life in Sweden

Jonathan & Sofia Morgan

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Year: 2015 (page 2 of 3)

In the Early Days

We began our penultimate semester at language school today!

Coming back to Amman and getting reacquainted with everything that’s different from our homelands has got me thinking a lot about about how challenging it was the first time around. We didn’t know anyone. We couldn’t speak Arabic. We didn’t know how to do the simplest of things (order drinking water, get connected to the internet, etc.)

Usually when you think about moving countries, you expect to be challenged by logistics and homesickness. But when you move somewhere with a completely different culture, there are some unexpected surprises.

For one thing, Amman is about 20 degrees (celsius) hotter than our home countries during summer. We come from places where, when the sun’s out, people are outside sunbathing, swimming, or just enjoying the outdoors. But in Jordan, the sun is so hot that most people don’t spend extended amounts of time outside until the evening. There are nights when it’s too hot to sleep without a fan.

Then there’s the unexpected tiredness. When you’re new in a country and interacting with the outside world predominantly using a language you don’t know very well, you get really worn out. You might expect to have the same energy levels as you do back home, but we found that by 3 or 4 PM, we felt ready for bed!

This tiredness gets exacerbated if you’re a sleep walker like me. When I have a lot to process, I wander the apartment at night.

Add to that the heightened emotions that come from being permanently out of your comfort zone. If someone’s mean to you, you get more upset than usual. From moment to moment you oscillate between extreme optimism and cold feet at your decision to be here.

Thankfully, as the weeks go by, these feelings start to fade. They get replaced with a sense of familiarity. You start sleeping better. Normal life takes less energy, and you start to understand how the world around you works.

Have you had similar experiences when you’ve moved to a new place, with a new culture? 

Snapshot from a visit

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As part of our language and culture learning we go and visit peoples homes. Many of the families we’ve gotten to know are refugees from Palestine, Syria and Iraq. I took this photo the other day when we visited a family who recently fled one of the ongoing wars. It’s an amazing privilege learning language this way, through hearing stories from these peoples life. Stories of loss, trauma but also of great courage and faith.

Springtime

Spring has arrived! Here's a picture of The Citadel, a large roman ruin right in the heart of Amman. As you can see this time of year it's surrounded by grass and spring flowers. This is definitely our favorite season yet, the city and it's hills are green and the temperature is about 20 C warm.

Spring has arrived! Here’s a picture of The Citadel, a large roman ruin right in the heart of Amman. As you can see this time of year it’s surrounded by grass and spring flowers. This is definitely our favorite season yet, the city and it’s hills are green and the temperature is about 20 C warm.

 

30 minutes from Amman lies a smaller city called Madaba, known to be an ancient christian city. The other weekend we had a lovely picnic on the fields surrounded by olive trees.

30 minutes from Amman lies a smaller city called Madaba, known to be an ancient christian city. The other weekend we had a lovely picnic on the fields surrounded by olive trees.

The Sounds of Our Street

One part of acclimatising to life in Jordan has been getting used all the new sounds that we hear every day on our street. We’ve lived in built up areas before, so traffic sounds are familiar, as are voices, but the streets of Amman have some unique sounds of their own…

7:45am – The National Anthem

Each morning, just before we leave for school, we hear the children at our local primary school singing the Jordanian National Anthem, accompanied by a backing tape. It sounds a little something like this:

The Call to Prayer

This is one of the most familiar sounds to anyone who’s lived or travelled in the Middle East. We hear the call to pray at our local mosque 5 times a day (starting at 5am and finishing at 6:30pm).

The Gas Man

Most people in our neighbourhood heat their homes and run their cookers on gas. It isn’t piped into homes like in the UK, but is delivered in canisters on the back of lorries or by men who use small trollies. As they’re walking down the street, they tap the side of their trolly with the spanner that they use to connect the gas.

Lunch Time: Fruit and Veg

It’s common for families here to eat lunch together, so just as Mums are preparing lunch for their families, the fruit and veg van comes around. It sounds like this…

The first time we heard it we weren’t sure what to think! Was there some kind of protest happening outside?

The Candy Floss Man

There’s a guy who sells candy floss (cotton candy) and other sweets who walks up and down the street blowing a strange sounding whistle. It took me weeks to figure out what this particular sound was.

Tyre Screeches without collisions

Driving in Jordan is of a totally different variety to that of the UK. It’s a far more fluid, high-speed activity. Every available gap is filled by a car and lane changing and U-turning are the norm.

It’s common to hear the screech of tyres as a driver spots an impending collision. The most amazing thing for my ears is that these sudden squeals are usually followed by silence, not the sound of a crash.

There are certainly other new sounds that I haven’t mentioned here, but those are the most notable.

Wadi Rum – Exploring the desert

Due to language learning and settling into life here we haven’t really shared any pictures from the trips we’ve done. So here are some pics from when we stayed over night in Wadi Rum (desert area in Jordan) in September to celebrate my 30th Birthday. We rode camels, met shepherd boys on donkeys, ate tasty bedouin food that was cooked under the sand, listen to our two bedouin hosts playing arabic songs next to the fire, under a starlit sky. All in all a magical experience!

 

 

Här är några foton från en utflykt vi gjorde i September för att fira min 30 årsdag. Vi övernattade i Wadi Rum, ett ökenområde i Jordanien, ca 4 timmar från Amman. Vi åkte sandjeep, red kamel, åt traditionell beduin mat som kokats i sanden, satt under stjärnklar himmel bredvid en eld och lyssnade på våra guider som sjöng arabiska sånger, allt mitt ute i djupaste öknen. En magisk och oförglömlig upplevelse.

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