The Walking Dead. It’s a show on AMC that I’m a bit…obsessed with. Back in my dorm room at Cedarville, I would get all cozy late at night as my roommate slept, and watch the latest episode in the dark. Now, for those of you who watch the Walking Dead, you know this is a terrible idea. Not only can some episodes be terrifying (as the show is about zombies), but there are also many surprising moments where you might gasp or even scream. I might have woken up my dear roomie once or twice.
You may be curious why I’m telling you about the Walking Dead. Well, today, I was in it. Let me explain. There is a scene in the first season of the Walking Dead that is truly terrifying. When I watched it, my palms began to sweat and my breathing became extremely shallow. The main characters have to get out of a building but the streets are swarming with zombies. Cleverly and creatively, they decide to rub zombie guts all over themselves so that they smell like and, somewhat, resemble zombies. They step out of the building and walk a few blocks down the infested street. The zombies barely notice them! It’s an amazing moment; you feel absolutely euphoric. And, then, it begins to rain. Within moments, the zombies can smell them and start staring and chasing. Your heart drops as you watch, and all you feel is sudden panic. They’re dead meat.
Today was the first day of school for the rest of the students attending the University of Jordan. We’re talking about a campus, really not that big, that holds 30,000 students. When my roommate and I got dropped off at the main gate, she headed across the street and I headed into the campus. Now, I’m not trying to compare Jordanians to zombies. That is definitely not the intent. But let’s apply the situation. I am one foreigner in a sea of Arabs. I have a ten minute walk to class and, figuratively, it has started to rain. The girls look at me and laugh; the boys stare and holler. And I try to pretend that I’m invisible. Instead of dead meat, I’m just meat. It’s like being the new kid, but times 100. It’s really strange to have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, but also wanting to not be aware at all. But, just like the characters in the Walking Dead, I will survive and thrive in my strange, new surroundings.
For those of you watching/reading the news, you probably want a more political update. I am safe. I promise. The issues going on around this region of the world are incredibly difficult, and I realize that I’m in a very sensitive area. However, you should all know that Jordan is much less of a tension point. There have been demonstrations, but there has been nothing violent. We have been discouraged from telling people that we’re Americans. But, in general, that’s probably a good idea. We kinda have a bad reputation over here. The other night, I heard a great deal of gunshots go off. This was followed by the sounds of rhythmic stepping and yelling. My best guess is that it was a mosque having some sort of celebration, but it’s certainly a little unnerving with so much going on.
The whole male thing here is still a bit of an adjustment. There are days when I don’t feel bothered at all. And then there are days when all I notice are their stares. One time, I was with a couple friends and for about two blocks we were followed by some guy in a car. We’d walk and he’d drive a little forward and stay by the side of the road so he could watch us. It’s unsettling. Today, a group of guys kept asking for my phone number and, when I ignored them and walked away, they yelled out, “But I need you!” Great. The wonderful Stephanie reminded me that Cedarville University’s self-defense class prepared me, though. And that “terrorists got nothing on Lt. Bowersmithhoser (or whatever his name is).” With that reminder, I feel perfectly safe. ; ]
I WENT TO THE DEAD SEA. It was a mixture of (1) wanting to get out of the city when protests would be going on, and (2) wanting to visit the lowest place on earth. It was unbelievable. A group of friends and I hired a taxi and headed out. It was only a forty-five minute drive down and into the desert. We all got day passes to a resort right on the beach. Honestly, the dead sea wasn’t very refreshing. It was hot, oily, and so very salty. It was definitely worth it though. You literally had to work to try and get your legs down. Oh, but it stung. They don’t really mention that in the guide book, but, friends, it stings very badly. I lasted about 15 minutes and then was ready for the pool. It was a great day though of relaxing and hanging out with friends. Just what the doctor ordered.
…I wish doctors really ordered things like that. I also just realized that I blogged about zombies and the Dead sea in the same post. Oh, how perfect.