Friday, September 12, 2008

Settling in...

Working on it anyway. The getting settled part. Amman I love. And my apartment. Allow me to describe it to you in detail. I live in the Tela3 Al-Alii district of Amman, near Jebel Amman. My neighborhood is mercifully free of steep hills and filled instead with stately, white stone apartment buildings, olive tree-lined streets, and children laughing in the nearby playground. A couple blocks away, a major street runs past the area, harbouring shops boasting everything I could ever need-for example, today I bought new sheets (cheap ones, Mom) for my bed, 4 dollar blankets, a garbage can, hangers, Diet Pepsi, fresh mint, music speakers (for Jess), and an internet plan. Amman is a curvaceous city of hills and circles; I live right off of Circle One, which is different than the First Circle, another area across town. An important distinction at 2 am, when you’re returning in a cab and the meters running!

So, the apartment. My building itself contains 10 (I think) different flats-I live on the top floor, after an arduous hike up the stairs past the non-working elevator, which should be fixed ‘soon’, according to the landlord. Some things will never change in the Middle East. And the hopefully, tomorrow, never happens before next week. Breathless, you arrive at my stoop and are confronted with an orange portal, more like a bank vault than your average apartment door. It locks into the ground and has three (three!) deadbolts to unhinge before the door swings open and you step into the airy, spacious room. To your right, you see the kitchen, a gleaming expanse of marble countertops and oak cabinets. The washing machine is tucked under the counter near the kitchen sink, a new appliance that murmurs quietly as it dutifully cleans our sweaty garments. The stove, too, is new, as is the fridge. Straight ahead, a doorway leads to the sunroom, so designated by us because it is lined with windows that open to filter in a pleasant breeze. In the evenings, it is very pleasant to sit on the couches with the windows thrown wide, listen to the mosque across the street call the evening prayer, and enjoy the sensation of cessation. These days, I seem to walk…everywhere. Oh, and the sunroom is also a wonderful place to flirt with my cute Brit J

Through a doorway in the wall of the sunroom, you walk out onto the best feature of the apartment-the rooftop terrace. My apartment has sole access to the entire wrap-around balcony, a multi-angled veranda with plenty of shadowy nooks and mattresses on the ground for sleepouts. Back in the apartment, to the right is the living room, an elegantly understated area with a sofa, chairs, television, and a molded ceiling. As you pass through the door into the hallway, the surface under your feet changes from tile to carpet, and you look to your left, seeing a small, pink bathroom and a bedroom close by. That one belongs to Jess; I have commandeered the middle bedroom, a chamber carpeted with bright, giraffe print carpet clearly meant to amuse someone half my age. Sadly, it still amuses me. I have two beds in my room, a small wardrobe, and a nightstand. I have purloined a plastic stand and chair from the patio, and plan to add a small table on which to do homework. Past my bedroom, down the same hallway, is the master bedroom and bath, which Cathy owns. And that, my friends, is my spectacular new apartment in Amman! I shall put up pictures soon.

Language tests and Carrefour dominated the next day; in the morning, I struggled through my Arabic test, and, by night, the three of us took a cab to City Mall, one of the numerous malls in Amman. Carrefour is like a French Walmart, but with three times as much stuff. It took us several hours to stroll through its cluttered aisles, ogling the plethora of food and home good supplies. I even found lots of gluten-free stuff! Including fresh cashews…Mmmmm.. I love nuts. We purchased the essentials-towels, cleaning supplies, food, etc.-and then we officially moved in. scrubbing the year’s worth of disuse form the sha’a, removing the garishly yellow rose comforters, and beginning to feel at home.

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