18 May 2007

find a place to level out.

In honor of the World Economic Forum being held at the Dead Sea convention center (and the participants staying at the Marriott next door), I have the day off from work (water aerobics) since the road to the Dead Sea is closed for security. Since there are only a handful of major roads in the country, Jordan's going to have to work on its security apparatus so that the country can still function if important people are in town. Sadly, this means I don't get to hang out with important world figures by the pool today. I even made an excellent CD of music for the class, featuring classics like Ace of Base's "The Sign" and "We Didn't Start the Fire." I decided, in a moment of weakness, to leave "Bombs Over Baghdad" out. Life is awkward enough.

Candace and I found an apartment precisely where we wanted to live, for about a third of the price we were expecting to pay. We'll be in the lovely Jabal Amman, which I think best compares to DC's Adams Morgan - a neighborhood that isn't actually nice, but has been made hip and trendy by virture of its inhabitants. We're five minutes from our favorite pub too, much to the disappointment of everyone who's leaving Amman before we'll actually move in. I can't wait. We're making it our summer goal to learn to cook. And roll sushi.

I started my SAT teaching job (well, technically the shadowing part) this week. I'm reminded why I have the upmost respect for the education profession, and why I'll never do it for a living. The practice essay prompt involved individual responsibility in situations you aren't directly involved in (i.e. encountering an injured man on the side of the road - should you call the ambulance?), and I've gained yet another valuable anecdote in support of my theory of why the Middle East is stuck in an odd social time warp. All the kids said it's not their responsibillity, it's whoever saw the accident or caused it. No notion of thinking beyond oneself for a greater social cause (except, and this sounds horribly imperialistic to say, for the ex-pat American kid in the class, who said that individual responsibility helps a society progress). He said it, not me.

I've been medically cleared for Peace Corps, so now I'm just waiting for my final placement. No more blood draws without gloves for me! Classes are done in less than a week - my final paper is in for radical Islam, and we're not going to talk about the amount (or lack thereof) of effort put forth for said paper. I got the highest grade on his midterm, which is ironic considering I'm the furthest from god and have spent most of his class learning to play backgammon on my laptop. I'm getting quite good, if I do say so myself. In between games this week, I learned why it's more difficult for women to get divorced in Islam. It's because we're so fickle and emotional that we'd demand a divorce after every disagreement with our husbands, so there has to be a judge to decide if we're being logical or just female when we ask for a divorce. Thank god we cleared that up. There was also a twenty minute episode of blatant lies about nature of the international AIDS crisis, which, unfortunately, most of the class didn't realize was (pardon my French) pure bullshit. I've reached my breaking point with him, and given some of his previous comments, that says a lot. One more lecture, one day for the final, and I'll be done paying for an education founded on ignorance, hatred, and lies.

PS. Another reason Sam Harris (and blasphemy) makes me smile.

"Jesus Christ - who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death, and rose bodily into the heavens - can now be eaten in the form of a cracker. A few Latin words spoken over your favorite Burgundy, and you can drink his blood as well. Is there any doubt that a lone subscriber to these beliefs would be considered mad? The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy. Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still besieged by the armies of the preposterous... In the best case, faith leaves otherwise well-intentioned people incapable of thinking rationally about many of their deepest concerns; at worst, it is a continuous source of human violence."

1 comment:

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