Upon arrival in Amman, I had a very clear plan: buy my visa, find my bag, and look for my ride to my new home. The visa line took a while and the rules commonly accepted in other places do not apply (read: budging & bribing) but I found my bag immediately! The only problem I encountered was not finding the driver but that was quickly resolved when a friendly local woman took pity on me and offered her phone to help contact him. I rode from the airport to Sports City (مدينة الرياضة), a neighborhood in Amman, with two other Qasid students.
When I arrived at my apartment, I was it was so much better than what I had been expecting! It was in a nice location, walking distance from classes and easy to get a taxi. There are 7 of us girls living in my apartment, all attending Qasid, but the apartment is certainly large enough to accommodate all of us. We have a kitchen, laundry room, two living rooms and a small balcony.
The night I arrived, one of my roommates, Glo, and I walked to Mukhtar Mall (our closest supermarket) and I became somewhat familiar with the area. The next day was our Qasid Orientation. We took buses to the Landmark hotel and received some light refreshments, which was surprising because it is Ramadan (will explain later). We were welcomed, given information and our placement tests, then we went upstairs and enjoyed an amazing buffet dinner.
For those of you who do not know, we are in the middle of Ramadan (a month of fasting). This means that during the day, restaurants in Jordan are not open, shops close unexpectedly at weird times, and it is illegal to eat or drink in public. When the call to prayer is recited around 7:50, the city comes alive for the night. During Ramadan, the country comes alive at night. After the call to prayer at sundown, people break their fast at a meal called Iftar. Then people go to the streets to celebrate.
The next day, I went grocery shopping with some of my roommates. If I want to eat anytime when the sun is up, I have to make it myself. That night we went to Rainbow Street, a vibrant modern street with lots of cool restaurants, cafes, and a lot of nightlife. Anastasia, Sarah, Elle, and I found this adorable (and cheap!) cafe and sat down for kebabs, hummus, and tea.
Thursday, Qasid arranged an orientation trip to Ajloun Castle. This castle was built in the 12th century as protection from Crusaders. Beginning in the 13th century, it was used to help send messages by pigeon between Cairo and Damascus. While standing at the top of the castle, we could see the West Bank, Syria, and the Eastern Badia that leads to Iraq.
Friday and Saturday, my first weekend in Amman, I spent cooking, sleeping, and exploring Amman. Saturday night I received my schedule for classes beginning Sunday!