Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Golden Rule in Jordan

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In Jordanian society (from what I have seen and experienced), there are a lot of contradictions. From family, to taxi drivers.

A year or so ago, I had a conversation with 2 of my teenage male cousins about girls. (UH-OH) I was asking them why they were okay with talking to a girl and “date” her but wouldn’t be okay if I did the same thing. The only thing they could say was “She isn’t my sister, cousin, etc..) but then I tried to be logical (Silly me!) and mentioned that this girl also has a brother, cousin, etc…then I just got huffs and “You don’t understand, Samar”

Maybe it’s my age? (I am getting old, haven’t been a teenager in years!) Or Maybe my logic if flawed? Or Maybe it’s my “American ways”? Or maybe just maybe I’m right? Admitting someone is right is hard, believe me, I know. 

Another thing that irks me is, Taxi drivers in Jordan.

Yesterday, my cousin and I were taking a taxi and the guy was trying to take us the long route but when I corrected him and asked him to take another route he complained about the traffic, time lost in traffic and the money he will lose because I want to save 15 piasters and how if I had worked a day as a taxi driver then I would understand.

I think he brought up some good points, I don’t know what it’s like to be a taxi driver but I do know what it is like to work with customers, I did work in a clothing store from age 17 until about 23 and I get customers service, really, I do.

I have been yelled at, complained to and about, picked up after people and worked for pennies to a dollar and learned how to work with people, laugh at the randomness and learned how to fold my clothes professionally.

But for me, it always goes back to the “The Golden Rule”. I respect other people because I would like to be respected and it’s largely due to my faith in Allah.

“The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself.” – Hadith

“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Hadith in al-Bukhari

So, dear cousins, taxi drivers, waiters, and gas attendants of Amman, I wish you the best because that is what I would wish for myself.

And then we laugh..

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Laughter is healing. My family in Jordan love to laugh and that is one of the thing I enjoy about them.

but the person who makes my heart sing when she laughs is my grandma and not just the I’m-laughing-because-it’s-polite-laugh but the from-the-bottom-of-my-heart-laugh. I love when my grandma laughs to the point of tears.

I think I take after her in that aspect, when I truly laugh, it’s to the point of tears and that has been a while.

I honestly wish I could just record her laugh and play it when I feel down, nostalgic or just need to remember happy times.

Laughter does heal the soul.

 

It’s a success…sort of.

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Ladies and Gentleman, the wedding dress is in Jordan! Alhamdullah!

For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about, here is part 1 to this story.

It’s a half win because I was so bent on getting my wedding dress to Jordan that it didn’t occur to me that anything else could go wrong. Both my checked bags were left in London. :/

When I got off the plane, collected my dress from the nice flight attendant, got through immigration and went to look for my bags…I waited and waited but they didn’t come. So, the baggage handler dude came over and said that there were no more bags and that mine were not back there. (He Checked)

So, off the baggage claim we went…and come to find out that the name on my bags was not my name. How did this happen? I’m not sure and it never occurred to me to check and make sure. So, they got left behind and I have been in Amman 2 days…hoping they will appear soon. I really would like to wear some different clothes!

If this is the worse that could happen, then I’m satisfied with my journey. I felt like I got to connect with different people over something that happens in every culture, Weddings. People zoomed in on the wedding dress and just opened up about their own weddings, proposals or just asked when mine was. It was nice to have something to talk to people about besides “What is that thing on your head?” Or “Do you get hot?” Or “Why do you wear it?” Or “Why don’t you take it off?” Or my personal favorite “Are you a Nun?” Not that I mind those questions, but it’s nice to find a happy thing to connect about. Hijab isn’t always a happy topic for people.

Oh, the things that connect us.

Are you getting married?

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This is the question people have been asking me for the last 15 hours or so. Why would someone ask me that question? Because I am currently traveling from the US to Amman with a HUGE bag that is stamped with “DAVID’S BRIDAL” If that isn’t an indication…I don’t know what is!

I’m sure you are wondering how my travel experience has gone so far. Well, let me tell you!

First, the TSA dude told me that I could only have 2 carry on bags. I had 3 and had to either check one in or condense. So, I condensed into my dress bag. What else is a girl to do? Well, not take all of her worldly belongings to Jordan or be creative? Maybe I should make a correction…not take my shoes??

After that fun experience, I had to get the “pat down” the ladies were super nice about it and they asked me questions about the wedding, where I got the dress and all that good stuff and the lovely flight attendant hung it up for me on the plane…That ended and now I’m currently in London where I have gotten “Congratuations” to “Are you getting married?” to “I don’t want to crush your gown in the x-ray machine…but I’m cool because I have been doing a lot of crushing!

I also get lots of random smiles and stares from people…Has no one ever traveled with a wedding gown before?

I’m glad that I’m half-way done and I believe that I am winning this game!

Me + a Wedding dress Vs. 13hr flight + 3 hour layover, who will win?

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This weekend, I am making the trip back to Jordan. I’m very familiar with this journey because in the last 2 years I have made it at least 3 times. One could say that I am an “expert” traveler. This trip is a little different. I am not only moving back to Jordan but also getting married in the next 6 months. (Yeah, I’m still in shock!) Since I have decided to wisely or unwisely buy my dress in the US. I have to carry it with me to Jordan.

I being the stubborn person I am who also happens to hate direct flights have oh so smartly decided to book a flight with a layover. You must ask now, did you buy your wedding dress first or the flight? Well, I bought my wedding dress first. Yep, I’m a winner. I feel that this is similar to the who came first question..The chicken or the egg, which scientists have solved. It’s the chicken. So, I will equate my wedding dress with the chicken. People have worn wedding dresses before flying.

BUT since I do call myself an “expert” traveler, why didn’t I realize that traveling with a wedding dress would be difficult? That is a good question that I have yet to answer.

Maybe I just need a little drama when I travel, make the trip more exciting…or just frustrating. I’m sure this will be a good story to tell when it’s all said and done but for now, it’s a huge worry.

Who will win? I’m not sure. I do hope it’s me and the wedding dress but I can’t be sure.

I say bring it on TSA, Airline people and anyone who will be in the way of me and my wedding dress!

 

CAIR Director Meets Jordan’s King Abdullah in D.C.

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Interesting news about the King of Jordan from an American Islamic Source.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), met today with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Washington, D.C.

At the meeting with the Jordanian leader, Awad and other American Muslim and Arab-American leaders discussed issues such as how to improve relations between the West and the Muslim world, the impact of Arab Spring revolutions and of growing phenomenon of Islamophobia worldwide.

During his visit to the United States, King Abdullah is also met with President Obama, administration officials and members of Congress.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Time

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I have been thinking a lot about time. The concept of time and how it changes over the years. When we were young a minute was a really long time, and when someone said half an hour it was like the end of the world. We didn’t really have a concept of time but we did know that we wanted just another five minutes to play with our friends, stay up later, finish a book or even avoid taking a shower (I really hated showers when I was a kid).

As we got older, time became measured more by how long our classes were. How many hours we spent at school, with our friends, working and sleeping. The concept of time still didn’t feel the same. I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. Including, deciding on what to do with my life, which college to go to, if I would ever meet a guy, and to travel.

In college, time was measured in class time, sleep, writing papers and time spent with friends. I had 4 years to figure out what kind of job I wanted to do. I didn’t have to choose a path until my second year in college, I did change my major 4 times in my first year but picked one and stuck with it. Driving back and forth from home to college took me 4 and half hours but always felt like less. It felt like 2 or sometimes 3 but never long and always easy. As my graduation date neared, thoughts of the future started popping in my head and I realized that I didn’t have enough time to do all that I had hoped to do in college. Including, travel, decide on a career path and figure out where I wanted to be or if I wanted to go to grad school or not. I never thought that I didn’t have enough time, I just assumed I had all the time in the world. I learned, and I am learning that as I get older…time is not on my side. My 4 and half hour trip back and fourth between my college town is far, daunting and just plain dreaded. A half an hour is not enough time. 5 minutes means nothing. And there is never enough time to sleep, read, talk and catch up on all of things that I care about.

When I was 22, I thought I would be happily married by 25 and if I didn’t it would be the end of the world! (Yes, a bit dramatic) Yet, that didn’t happen and I changed my plan. I worked on my career, traveled, lived in Jordan and I’m still toying with the idea of grad school.

Yet, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Allah has a reason for things that happen in our lives. We might not understand the meaning behind it but in the end, it all comes together. Being married by 25 would not have been a good thing for me, I know this now but then it wasn’t so fun. I don’t regret going to my college because I had the opportunity to meet some really amazing people, do some amazing things and gain experience in a number of areas that have made me the person I am today.

Time is never on our side but the way we choose to use it, is our choice. I’m learning that as my departure date to Jordan is nearing and I feel that there isn’t enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do and that these past 2 months have flown by. (Mr. Chemistry wouldn’t agree)

I will miss spending time with family and friends but will cherish the time I spent with them and remind them that Jordan isn’t that far (Just a 12 hour plane ride). Hint hint, nudge nudge.

I look forward to time spent with more family, friends and Mr. Chemistry.

How would you like to spend your time?