5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman

5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman

Yet again, I find myself forsaking the familiar comfort of my Ohio life and venturing abroad—this time, for ten months on a Fulbright grant to Jordan. Prior to this experience, I had only been to Amman once. And even then, it was for five days and I was stuck in a car with my family. Not stuck—pleasantly detained.

So, there are a lot of things I did not experience that have caught me off guard in the three weeks I’ve been in Jordan. Here are the top five surprises I’ve encountered in A-town city life:

5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman

1. It is so dry.

The topography in Jordan is very desert-like, and the amount of arable land is something like three percent. This translates to every part of exposed skin feeling like parchment. I’ve never felt parchment before, but I imagine it feels like my face after a long day of walking—like I just want to cover my nose with a thin film of Neosporin all the time.

2. There’s so much honking and catcalling.

I had been previously warned of the behavior of el shabbab when it comes to the ladies, but I don’t think I was quite ready. I mean it’s fine and understandable (hair flip), just when it’s 3 pm and you’ve been standing in the hot sun for an hour searching for a cab the last thing you want is to be honked and shouted at. It gets to be gear-grinding.

3. People always want to know where you come from.

How long are you staying Amman? Where do you work? Where are your parents from? I’ve gotten very good at relaying my abridged life’s story.

4. WiFi for everybody!

This is one of the coolest and most unexpected things. Granted, it’s often not amazing, but Internet can be found in many homes and cafes. This has been good for making me feel hip and connected with the goings-on of my friends here and back home.

5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman

5. Jordanian Dinars don’t feel real.

I thought that having a steady-ish income and a list of monthly expenses would make me feel like an adult. But, it doesn’t—even though I am trying my hardest to do something called budget. And do you know why? It’s because the J.D. bills in my wallet feel like play money.

I might as well be throwing Monopoly cash around because I just have no care/understanding/frame of reference for what I am spending. Does anyone else experience this with currency when they travel abroad?

5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman

5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman

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Have you traveled to Amman, Jordan? How was your trip? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.


5 Things that Surprised Me about Living in Amman photo credits: Nadine Ajaka

About Nadine Ajaka

AvatarNadine Ajaka served as a volunteer in Kenya and a Fulbright scholar in Jordan.

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