If I were to describe myself, coordinated or athletic are not words that would make the list. This week, my program set up two great cultural events for us to participate in. The first was playing bubble soccer with our fellow Jordanian PSUT students. The second was a cooking class at Beit Sitti, which translates to Grandma’s House. The bubble soccer game was the most fun I have had in quite some time. If you have never heard of or seen bubble soccer, it is probably one of the most ridiculous new inventions of our time. Every player wears this gigantic inflatable bubble as a suit and plays soccer. These suits allow for people to bump into each other and knock people over. I never really played soccer growing up, or was ever very good at it, because of my asthma. Any sport that involved extensive running (or lots of equipment) was usually not my parents’ first choice for my sisters and I to participate in. This logic was also applied to other extracurricular activities. My parents clearly knew that my sisters and I were too fickle to ever truly stick with one hobby.
Bubble soccer was just so ridiculous to play and watch that you could not help and have fun. Watching people roll around in their bubbles after being hit or being stuck with your head towards the ground and legs in the air is one of the wildest most ridiculous moments. Speaking of ridiculous things, I managed to break my glasses while playing bubble soccer. Somewhere between being hit, stuck upside down and being flipped right side up again, my glasses came off and broke. The right join snapped and was not salvageable.
A PSUT student engineered me a temporary fix with electrical tape and cardboard, but the glasses were ever so crooked and gave me a constant migraine. It made me uneasy and on edge. On the bright side, I had such a great time that breaking my glasses did not seem like the end of the world. After bubble soccer a couple of us and our new Jordanian friends went to Rainbow Street to try ice cream at a show one of the students use to work at. We took the bus and of course were told to quiet down. Americans are very loud. That stereotype has so much truth to it. If you are ever on Rainbow Street and are craving ice cream, I would HIGHLY recommend Pantastic! Getting ice cream is not just plain delicious, but customizable and an experience. The owner even let me try my hand at making my own pan frozen ice cream. Let me tell you, it is much more difficult and hard work than one would imagine. I have so much respect for people who make ice cream that way full time. I was also told that I could come back and bring my own base if I wanted to! I am thinking Mansaf flavored ice cream, what do you think? I mean who hasn’t dreamed of a lamb and yogurt dish flavored ice cream? Challenge accepted.
On Thursday we went to Beit Sitti where we all chipped in to make bread, a salad, smoked eggplant and tahini dip, a custard dessert, and the star of the show Maklouba. Beit Sitti has such a comfortable atmosphere and just the perfect environment to make food together. They are also professionals when it comes to their craft. The whole event was perfectly timed and taken care of. Most importantly, the food was so delicious. As someone who fell in love with cooking before coming abroad, I am so happy for the experience. It reminded me of how much I miss cooking and making something for others with my hands. Cooking and baking for others is one of my favorite things and ways to show people I care for them. My family were never ones for much physical expressions of love such as hugs and kisses, but my mom always made sure we were fed. Even to this day, whenever I come home one of the first things that my mom asks me is what I would like to eat and for her to cook for me. It is one of my favorite aspects of going home and something that will always keep me coming back home.
The weekend was spent trying to find myself a new pair of glasses in Downtown Amman. Downtown is a mishmash of different small shops, vendors and souks. I was told by a CIEE Program employee that the cheapest way to get glasses made was to head to Downtown, pick up any frames and bring that to an optometrist to have new lenses put in. What he forgot to tell me was how cheap that was going to be! I was able to get a new pair of classes for only 10 JD which is about 15 USD. I splurged and got myself a nicer frame from the shop for 35 JD and for the most expensive lenses for 20 JD. Which still comes out to less than 75 USD for a brand new pair of glasses without insurance. The most mind-blowing part of this shopping trip was how affordable a pair of PRESCRIPTION sunglasses are. I have always wanted a pair of prescription sunglasses instead of transition lenses, but it never made financial sense to get them. In Jordan, you can get a cheap pair of sunglasses for 3-5 JD and then prescription sunglass lenses for 10 JD. I still cannot believe that I got a brand new pair of prescription sunglasses for 15 JD. That is crazy. That is unheard of! Even though I really really liked my old glasses, I am so happy with my new pair, new backup glasses and new sunglasses. Everything happens for a reason.