19 June 2007

beauty comes to those have been waiting.

My Peace Corps invitation is on the way. FedEx + Jordan = anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. Let's hope for the shorter end of that window. I don't know where I'm going yet - PC likes to surprise you with the invite. But, I do know my departure date - October 5 - and that I'm not going to Francophone Africa. So, with some rudimentary detective work using Wikipedia and the Peace Corps website, I will most likely end up in one of the following places:

Botswana
The Gambia
Ghana
Kenya
Lesotho
Malawi
Mozambique
Namibia
South Africa
Swaziland
Tanzania
Uganda
Zambia
(and possibly Madagascar or Mauritania, since French is only a common language there)

I can't wait. Top choices include Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya.

In other news, I've decided to become a restaurant critic when I get back in two years (January 2010! Sounds crazy to say that). I was interviewing the sushi chef at my favorite restaurant for a JO profile, and after two days of royal (and free) pampering by the manager, I'm sold. I wasn't even reviewing his restaurant; I just wanted to talk to an immigrant sushi chef about his experience in Jordan. But just in case, the manager provided me with a free meal both days and a signature (virgin) drink on the second night while I ran around taking pictures of the chaos that is all-you-can-eat sushi night. Theoretically, I could get paid to do that over and over again at a plethora of restaurants. Why am I going to school again?

On the topic of school, Arabic tutoring is entertaining, if not entirely educational. Steffen and I grew tired of articles about war (which essentially translates to the evils of America and Israel), so we asked our professor if we could switch to something else. We started with a lot of articles about African refugees fleeing to Europe, then switched to Iraqi refugees. We pushed for a change, and got Palestinian refugees instead. Steffen studied biology, so he suggested agriculture. I suggested social issues. Ghazi (professor) countered with "how about diplomatic relations?" We said no politics. He suggested Parliament. We explained that we didn't know any basic life words like food, furniture, or utensils, and he just seemed confused that we might want to learn them. Lost in translation, I suppose. Is it really that strange that I might want to learn to really speak a language and not just read the daily death tolls?

Part of this frustration stems from the articles we read (and the manner in which they're written). I have as many problems with Israel as anyone in this region, but I can only take so much of an agenda being shoved down my throat. Articles include lines like "the Israeli government full of murderers and war criminals." Granted, that was a verbatim quote from a source. But "stopping the Israeli enemy" wasn't a quote, it was one sentence in a four-sentence article. I'm not saying the America media is by any means objective, but I feel like such demonization isn't as commonplace. I'm not gaining sympathy for Israel, but I'm certainly not feeling any more tenderness towards the other side either. I guess if I were in the place of the Arab states, I'd rather attract supporters who cared about my cause, but everything seems to be written in pursuit of the reader's pity. Playing the victim will always be easier than taking ownership of your own problems, I suppose.

1 comment:

Justin said...

generally the publication you work for and not the restaurant pays for the meal. Sort of an ethics and anonymity thing.

Either way, you would be great at it.