Monday, May 10, 2010

First Impressions

One lesson I am continually learning in my life is to have no expectations. This applies to travel, to relationships, to work, to school, and everything else. When I say no expectations, I am referring to the concept that one should not come into a situation with preconceived notions about the people, the country, the culture, or the religions involved as this only leads to a greater number of opportunities for judgement.

Most likely the first thing I appreciated about Amman and Jordan in general was Sulliman, the little Jordanian man who drove me from the Airport to where I was staying. Grateful for him driving the 45 minutes to pick me up and waiting for my late arrival, I was even more grateful for his 80 mile an hour driving skills. With 95-degree weather and blazing sun, I have never been more happy to have a 80 mile per hour breeze on my face. About ten minutes away from the airport, Sulliman asked me if I would prefer the A/C using as much English as he knew and pointing at the dashboard where the air would come out. I said "la, la shukran" meaning "no, no thank you". He seemed to greatly appreciate the fact that I didn't require air conditioning to be happy, and me being happy made him even more happy, so happy was all around. Simple as they may have been, my three conversations with Mr. Sulliman, starting at the airport and ending at the house where I was staying might just have been three of my favorite conversation to date. In our last conversation, I told him in Arabic that I didn't speak much Arabic, he told me in English that he didn't speak much English, and then we both smiled and began to laugh.

Almost an hour later, we arrived at our destination. A slightly off-white building, mostly from the dust I suspect, sat on the corner of what I would later learn was a "horseshoe" shaped, dirt road. As I got out of the car and went to help unload my bags and boxes from the trunk, my feet began to turn the same color as the building from all the dust on the ground. It was at that exact moment when I was staring down at my dusty brown toes that a woman popped out from the front door of the building where we had arrived. Her name is Sasha Crow. While I had hoped, not expected, that she would be as amazing as I had been told by everyone who knew her, my dream had come true. Although I did not know it just yet, I would be working with one of the most extraordinary women and empowering organizations I have ever come across.

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