Friday, May 21, 2010

Back in America

Got back home on Monday night after a solid 30+ hours of travel. Even though I flew through Paris, I didn't get delayed by ash and even though I'd been really sick the day before leaving Jordan, I still managed to watch three movies (A Serious Man, Sherlock Holmes, and most of JFK) and every episode of Archer on my trip. Along with seeing my family, it's been great rediscovering the simple things (showers with water pressure, shaving with hot water, drinking from the tap, etc.) that I didn't really have while I was in Jordan.


Unfortunately, I've been pretty sick ever since I set foot in Maine. I think I must have eaten some bad meat at our final Ajloun barbecue--anyone who was hanging with me around the grill that day knows I was just tempting fate. Whatever it was, I've pretty much been bedridden and unable to focus, so I've been watching a lot of TV. Mostly, it's just been ESPN, because I missed it really badly in Jordan. Jazeera sports just isn't the same, and there's no Arab equivalent of Skip Bayless (although I like to imagine that if Ayman al-Zawahiri ever talked sports, he could give him a run for his money).

Just today, I was able to start in on my research for the summer, which is about the filibuster. I've got a ton of reading and writing to do between now and June 1, but it's actually going surprisingly well. Because of the way legal writing works, half of what I thought I would have to read turned out to be footnotes/citations, which was a nice surprise. Anyway, I've come across a few gems so far that I found enjoyable (in the way that you can only find something funny after you've been struggling to read the same article for two hours, and even though the author has used the word "ironic" 25 times you still haven't seen anything remotely humorous), so I thought I'd share them with you:

"Thomas Jefferson used the generic term 'a John Randolph' to describe anyone
who protracted the proceedings of Congress. Randolph's filibusters
covered a range of topics, including a national bank, Unitarians, family bibles, university presses, Shakespeare, Episcopalians, wine, and William the Conqueror."

[describing Huey Long's filibuster of New Deal programs] "At 4:32 P.M. one senator suggested Long sing rather than talk; at 6:50 P.M. Long recited recipes for frying oysters and making potlikker; at 12:50 A.M. Long discussed the beauties of sleep; at 2:05 A.M. Long asked the Senate's presiding officer what became of the sword that Federick the Great sent to George Washington."

Hard to believe that stuff actually happened in the Senate. I can't imagine any senator today standing up and filibustering like those badasses. If I had to, I'd put my money on Scott Brown--he's young, energetic, and I just get the feeling he could tell a mean story (if not, he could always talk at length about how his two hot daughters are available, an issue which is of great concern to me as an American). But unfortunately, a 1972 rules change made the old-school filibuster obsolete, so I'll never get the chance to see that...

Whatever, I'm always proud to be an American and always happy to be back home. Until next time...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jordan in Numbers

Meant to post this a while ago, but I've been pretty busy:

I’ve been incognito for a few weeks writing my research paper. 10 interviews, 47 pages, 77 footnotes, and way too many hours later, I’m proud to say that I’m done with that thing (if you’re feeling bored and want to read a small book about why Obama’s diplomacy is ineffective in Jordan, email me). But the whole project got me thinking about numbers—specifically, about how to quantify my experience in Jordan. This kind of sounds like a MasterCard commercial (with the last line being "Studying Abroad: Priceless), but stick with me:

While abroad, I have...

Put 85 contacts in my phone

Accumulated 4 keys to various places

Lost 10 pounds by smoking argeelah instead of drinking beer

Spent just 35 days in class

Taken 1017 photos (thus far)

Bought 160 hours of Jordanian TV on DVD

Written 1 song about 9 women

Recorded over 100 takes of my verses in order to make that song

Obtained 3 separate Eurotrash shabab outfits

Lost at least 10 JD playing backgammon (although 90% of the time I’m playing against Luke, who also taught me the game)

Ridden 2 camels

Ruined 2 white Ts at the gym/doing outdoor activities

Done 0 loads of laundry


6 new beers: (in order from awesome to god-awful) Petra, Sakara, Sakara King, Amstel, Stella, Petra 10%

7 new whiskeys: Johnny Walker Green Label, Famous Grouse, Diplomat, President’s Club, Black Grouse, Famous Grouse 15, and Auld Stag

14 flavors of argeelah: cherry, mint, rose, watermelon mint, lemon mint, apple, three local blends, strawberry, blueberry, zaghloul, tumbak (the heaviest thing I’ve ever smoked; Hannah’s host dad introduced it to me at the SIT dinner last week by saying, “This is real tobacco. Zaghloul is for amateurs, tumbak is for professional smokers.”) and this new flavor I got last week called "Jamaica" that tastes exactly like Vick’s cough syrup.

Overall, it's been a great time. This is my last post from Jordan but I'm sure I'll be throwing up random tidbits and photos once I get home and have good internet (plus, I leave for Europe in 3 weeks so posting from overseas is by no means over). I'd like to give a quick shoutout to all of my readers, you're the best and hopefully you'll stick around for some great stories in Europe/the heartland of America during my roadtrip.

Much love,