Old Habits

One month down. One month to go.

Life rumbles on in Amman. Compared to the whirlwind adventure of the last three posts, I’m afraid this one is a rambler, but I promised to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so it’s just as important to remind yourself that things truck on in distant lands in much the same way as they do back at home. Eloise mentioned yesterday that it was sometimes hard to imagine that other people – even our own classmates – are already taking their own year abroad in France, Italy, Cuba and the like. If you thought Durham was a bubble, jeez, you should see Amman. It might be a capital city, but the Ali Baba crowd is a select one, to put it lightly. That, too, is divided along the same lines as the kind you might expect to find in college, even amongst so few (uh-oh, Ben’s got his social goggles on again – watch out world).

Whoah, too much introspection. I blame yesterday’s class. We took an hour or two on discussing personalities in Arabic, which turned into a pretty intense therapy session for me (my apologies Andrew). What makes you angry? What makes you sad? If you could change one aspect of your personality, what would it be? Do you even like your own personality? Questions of that sort. It could drive a man crazy, especially one still struggling to pull together all ten aspects of his personality into one tangible construct. Maybe I’m thinking this one through too much. Introspection. I did warn you.

In other news, we decided to do something vaguely cultural the other day and took a trip to the Royal Cultural Centre to watch a Jordanian film, Theeb. All in all, a pretty fancy affair for a cinema outing; guards at the door, a full-body scanner in the entrance hall and men in traditional dress stepping out of chauffeured cars. Not exactly your regular Vue jaunt. The reason became clear as the film drew to a close: it turns out that the entire cast of the film were sat just two rows in front, for whom the organisers had set up some kind of awards ceremony in the most eloquent classical Arabic I’ve heard out here yet. Classy. Almost as classy as Andrew and I sipping from orange mirinda all the way through the film. Theeb itself was a seriously good film. You might have heard of it; that 2014 award-winning film about a Bedouin boy who loses his family in a raid and ends up befriending his brother’s killer. Heavy stuff.

But perhaps I should tell you about the Jordanian cinema routine which, I should point out, is a very different kettle of fish. To kick things off the national anthem play and everyone stands in solemn salute – just about the only moment when nobody is talking in the whole affair. Once the film’s under way, it’s a free-for-all. The hero did something impressive? That’s a round of applause. The villain got his comeuppance? That’s always applause-worthy. A tense moment? Yeah, a bout of hysterics from the audience will stop that right up. Oh, and why not add to the soundtrack with that made-for-frustration smartphone whistle ringtone whilst you’re at it? I don’t get it, Jordan. I don’t get it. Or maybe the British are just too hesitant when it comes to the movies. Haven’t you ever felt the need to applaud midway through a film?

Jamie Woon’s Lady Luck is playing in my ears as the clock hits 11:00 on the dot. Class. I’d better get going. BB x


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