What’s become of Amman?

I thought i’d let my last blog posts settle for a while before I pollute the ether with more tosh from the levant. I will refer you to my previous excuse. It snowed again.

So here goes with intermittment and as yet unrelated photos.

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starting with this timeless shot

The second term has come to and end and I am sitting exactly where I was at the start of it, with several more words committed to memory and clumps of (what I hope is, but fear is not) my own hair around my road-beaten trainers.

I am still living in the same place. But a recent examination of my accounts reveals a net gain of 5 flat mates (to the original 3) and a bonus gain of one room mate over this period. Making for a grand total of: too many people to fix the broken lightbulb in my room. Still, at least with that much manpower the washing-up gets down. Oh.

This cosy number and the already present water shortages means we must cherish each others toilet habits that little bit longer before flushing them away. I had a shower once too, it was nice and warm. I smelt vaguely of roses for a time.

got a bit cold didn't I
got a bit cold didn’t I

The winter months have further revealed evidence of a global conspiracy. You can spend years in England waiting for heavy snowfall, but go to Jordan and get two massive dumps in the space of a month.

These snow days meant we would all be treated to bone-chilling nights, regret for not bringing a duffel coat and one-day weekends to catch up on lost class time.

January ended on a tragic note with the video-release of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned to death by ISIS. And the subsequent Putin-inspired hard man photos of King Abdullah II dictating the nations ferocious response.

I was in a shwarama restaurant with a Jordanian friend when the news broke. Silence, disbelief, then anger and tears was his reaction. Quite something to behold, and this was mirrored by the immensely melancholic atmosphere around the institute the following day.

But then, as it tends to, february carried on climbing the slopes of valentines day and across the bridge of a number of significant birthdays in its relentless journey towards march.

I can certainly vouch for the unrivalled time-keeping benefits of having a devout muslim as a room mate. No more need for alarm clocks. Indeed I have come to enjoy my morning lie in from dawn prayer until 7 am.

there he is in the arms of the other one
and there he is in the arms of the other one

In media arabic classes we kept each other entertained with our daily news bulletins on topics as varied as “ISIS: a daily update”, “Nutella: a life in the media”, and “Women: those rights they keep on banging on about”.

Not to mention edge-of-the-seat weekly presentations on a plethora of topics from, “The effect of Palestinian cows on Israeli domestic policy” to “Micky Mouse: a life defeating extremism” and the ever topical “Zionism: the life and times”.

Whilst at all times maintaining strict neutrality and not letting personal feelings or influences from passionate Palestinian teachers lead to biases. Doing our best to ignore mass injustice and war crimes along the way.

As for the month of march there is no denying that it began strongly, has eased through its first ten days and is currently careering into the late teens with all the arrogance of a rainy august.

As always it was a mad rush to the finish. Characterised by an exciting array of final projects to choose from, all jostling for position but getting little attention. And so subsequently turning on each other in anger and rejection before, in the few final days, forming an unlikely alliance and bearing down on us with the full force of the accusative case.

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an important reminder from Duncan on the benefits of dental hygene

There was the video project. Which, for want of a better imagination, special effects budget and make-up department, Duncan and I hastily cobbled together a 15 minute interpretive take on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Albeit with more focus on tenuously linked vocab-centered scenes to the tune of Enya. At the expense of any cheap laughs of course.

For my final media project, I wrote a essay on arab comic books largely because it enabled me to make a colourful powerpoint presentation. A good technique to divert attention from the stumbling and stuttering, half-thought out nonsense which would accompany it. We all love a pretty picture.

As for the final, final project in Modern Standard Arabic, I delved into the world of Kurdish nationalism as an elaborate metaphor for a chronic inability to find anything else to talk about.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 15.45.36
Relief hits us all in different ways – in our case it was with Enya

So there we are. The drawn out darkness that has all of sudden emerged bleary-eyed into spring and the prospect of a two week holiday to prepare for a repeat experience in the the final term.


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