Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Deb in Amman 18

Deb in Amman 18

On March 31, 2012, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , With Comments Off on Deb in Amman 18


This was a restful day. I allowed myself to sleep in without a wake up call. Ah, bliss!
I managed to get down to breakfast 15 minutes before they shut down the buffet. I was able to eat leisurely and read my Nook book.

Then I went back to my room and got a chance to chat with the woman who had just cleaned it. I had some work to do: I had promised Alison that I would apply for a full-time Training Director position at the Department of Transportation. That meant compiling information so that I could respond to four on-line achievement history exam questions on my experience: managing training programs, designing and delivering curriculum, directing the work of others, and creating e-learning programs.

The first three questions were manageable, but the last question had to be answered in anticipation rather than in accomplishment. I haven’t worked with e-learning software myself.

I guess we’ll see what happens with it.

Then Tarek picked me up to go to the hotel to set up all over again. I must admit that it took much longer without Maha’s two little girls to help. The reason why they weren’t there is pretty horrific. There was a violent demonstration at the Dead Sea yesterday and Maha’s cousin, who is a policeman, was shot. I just spoke with her tonight. His surgery was successful and he is now out of danger.

Lina and I set up, with assistance from one of the hotel staff. I made sure NOT to leave out the Koosh or the glitter wands. I’m three down on both the Koosh and the glitter wands.

A somewhat troubling fact was that five or six families came in to check out the hall for weddings. Lina and I are both praying that these weddings aren’t scheduled for this week. We really don’t want to take everything down and put everything up all over again, as we did last week.

We heard some very loud music and Lina said that they were getting ready for a wedding downstairs. We went to look and it was magnificent. The bride and groom sit on a beautiful white couch, surrounded by what look like large white half moons that reach almost to the ceiling.

She took photos (since I didn’t have my camera) and I’ll send some shots so you can see what I mean.

Lina also explained the Moslem wedding ceremony. The bride and groom enter the room and exchange rings. Then they slow dance. Then others dance. Then the cake is presented. At 10: 30 p.m., dinner is served. The wedding couple dines alone in a separate location. When they return to the hall, the bride wears something different. (Now I understand Arwa’s wedding photos. In one photo, she is wearing a white dress with a tiara and veil. In another photo she is wearing an embroidered gold dress and her head is bare).

After that, each guest takes a picture with the wedding couple. Instead of gifts, they give money.

When the bride and groom leave, so do the guests. The wedding couple’s car has a huge bouquet of white flowers on the trunk. Lina said that the guests speed around the couple’s car and often stop in the middle of the road to get out and dance! It sounds pretty crazy.

Lina showed me photos of her cousin’s wedding this past weekend. She also showed me photos of Petra, which looks fascinating. She warned me that I will need a hat and lots of water, because it is exceptionally hot there and you walk a lot. I’ll work on that.

We discussed my trip to Petra and Aqaba next weekend, considering a variety of arrangements. It’s good that we talked, because she had planned to have me stay overnight (in a tent on the ground, sharing a filthy shower) in Wadi Rum (no thank you!) and to simply shop rather than snorkel in Aqaba.

Now the plan is for a driver to take me to Petra and then to Aqaba, where I will stay at a hotel overnight so I can snorkel there. Then a different driver will bring me back to Amman.

After we finished setting up, Lina asked me if I’d like to get some dinner (as she had done after we finished setting up last Saturday). Since I hadn’t had lunch, I was certainly ready for dinner. We went to a new restaurant and had an absolutely wonderful meal of pink (!!) humus, bread, a terrific salad and a chicken and vegetable dish (that was so large I have some for tomorrow’s dinner). The only drawback to the restaurant was the fact that lots of people were smoking shisha and, by the time we left, you could barely see through the smoke (no lie).

Lina told me that smoking shisha is comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes at one time. Yikes!

When she dropped me off at the hotel, I considered taking a walk to air off my clothing and my lungs (!), but it was almost 8 p.m.- and I needed to finish the exam questions and submit them.

I chatted with Jenny over Skype (as I do almost every evening) and, among other things, she informed me that she had to add postage to the two envelopes I had stamped for mailing. I apparently missed the hike to 45 cents over February, being otherwise engaged with recovering. I’m so glad that she pays attention to these details, because the envelopes were going to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the Federal IRS…

I also spoke with Maha, which is when I learned that her cousin was going to be all right. I had previously checked with Lina to see if we had a full house of 30 participants for this week (we do), just to see if there was any possibility that Jafir could attend.

When I asked Maha if there was any chance he could still come, she mentioned that she had already promised Arwa that she would let her know if there were any last minute cancelations.
Then Maha mentioned that several of the staff would be coming to translate, which meant there would be at 4 more people in the room- so one more wouldn’t matter so much.

I called Arwa to tell Jafir to send Maha information about: his position, organization, credentials, and why a train the trainer would benefit his work. She was very appreciative.

I realize that I wasn’t under any real obligation to get him into the class, but I certainly feel better knowing that he’ll be able to attend.

I had previously discussed with Lina where to seat the non-English speaking participants. Maha had thought it would be better if they were distributed among the tables rather that sitting at one table. I suppose that would work if we had someone to translating at those tables (I’m not completely convinced that the staff will be able to focus on translating…) Given how many staff are supposed to come, it would be possible.

However, there is absolutely no way that we will video more than 30 people on the last day. In her “non pressuring” conversation last night, Arwa assured me that Jafir would be content to not be videotaped if that would mean he could attend the other four days. Perhaps we’ll schedule to video the staff next week before I leave.

Last night, all of my clothing smelled of wood smoke (not a bad smell). Tonight, all of my clothing smell of shisha (also not a bad smell). Goodness only knows what my clothing will smell like tomorrow!



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