Tawjihi, the mall, and H20

Not much time left in Jordan, so I’ve been really busy and haven’t really had a lot of time to write a lot of blog posts so I’m going to compress a few topics here.

Tawjihi

In the US, everyone freaks out about their SAT score in their college application, but alhamduhlillah, it is not the deciding factor in your application, for the college also looks at your essays, letters of recommendation, and grades in school. In Jordan, however, in the 12 grade, students take a test called Tawjihi. The score one gets on thisĀ test is the sole deciding factor for where one is placed in college in Jordan, so it is really really really important. My host sister has been studying nonstop for this exam: she goes to school to study for this as well as goes to a different school for extra practice and then spends even more time reviewing at home! The amount of time spent studying for this exam is starting to make me stressed for her!

Anyway, the results for this year’s Tawjihi came out at the start of this week, so during the night, people celebrate the results with fireworks, parties, and driving around in cars honking and playing loud music. It was funny to see this because in the US, people don’t really publicly celebrate getting into their college, so its nice to see the city coming alive in celebration.

The MallĀ 

Yesterday I went to Taj Mall to see how some of the malls are here. I felt like I was back in the US. All the stores were American or European (H&M, Starbucks, Victoria Secret…) and there was air-conditioning (finally!!!). Basically, it was a really nice mall and I immediately felt transported back to the US, so we didn’t stay too long, but it was interesting to see!

H20

In Jordan there is serious water shortage. This means that each house gets a ration of water each month, so if you run out of water, you can’t buy more water… your water ration is simply over. Of course, different neighborhoods have different amounts of water, so nicer neighborhoods have more water than others.

Regardless, in Jordan, one needs to be very aware of the water, so showers need to be reaaallly short and not every day. The benefit, therefore, of joining a gym was taking showers every day for more than a few minutes! I have to say that I am looking forward to this aspect in the US, of not being constantly worried that I am using up my family’s limited water supply!

Wadi Mujib

Today my friends and I went to Wadi Mujib, which is listed as one of the best things to do in Jordan as it is known for its natural beauty. Wadi Mujib is a wadi near the Dead Sea, so we took a bus from Amman to the Dead Sea and then got a taxi to take us from a spot at the Dead Sea to Wadi Mujib (there are not buses that go to Wadi Mujib). We opted to not do the longer guided route because the entrance fee with a guide is very expensive, so we haggled a lower student entrance fee, put on the mandatory live vests and were on our way!

Wadi Mujib was gorgeous. My photos cannot capture its true beauty (and the last 2 photos are of the Dead Sea) and I could only take limited photos because I wrapped my phone in about ten ziplock bags so that it would not get water damaged. A lot of the wadi involved swimming and full immersion in water, so everything we were carrying got completely soaked– thank goodness for my plentiful ziplock bag protection!

A lot of the route was quite challenging and involved climbing up small waterfalls using ropes, shimming up slippery rocks, and sliding down steep tall rocks in waterfalls. Luckily there were some ropes provided to help with the process, but many parts were quite challenging and daunting. I was glad for the challenge though, because it showed me that I can handle this type of physical and mental challenge!

At the end of the wadi is a huge waterfall (if one has a guide, one can actually go up the waterfall) so we hung out there for a bit and ate lunch before heading back. Heading back was a little more difficult because its easier to climb up a rapid than to slide down the rocks to descend, but we made it in one piece!

I probably enjoyed Wadi Hessa more, even though it was far longer and more challenging because it had similar landscapes to Wadi Mujib as well as more landscapes that were all in all, more breathtaking. I also liked how natural Wadi Hessa is– though Mujib is also natural, there are clear manmade constructions, like the ropes attached to rocks, some stairs at some parts, and nails attached to some rocks to keep them in. Wadi Hessa seemed almost unexplored and untouched, which added to its awe.

Overall, though, I had a wonderful time at the gorgeous Wadi Mujib and a great last day of my long weekend. Time for school tomorrow though; can’t believe I only have two weeks left in Jordan!

Yesterday’s Excitements

The three exciting things about yesterday:

1. It rained, so of course that was exciting. It was only for a short time though, but it was nice to see some water!

2. After school a band called “AudioPharmacy” came to play and talk to us at AMIDEAST. They are on a tour in the Middle East (funded by the US government) so they stopped at our school. Their sound was pretty cool and I loved their message of positivity, global peace, and women’s empowerment.

3. In the evening my host father’s mother and two of her sisters came over from Bahla to spend the night. We sat around and talked in the living room and then ate dinner.