The First Six Weeks in Amman: Settling into a new expat life

My how time flies when you’re getting settled in a new country. I thought: Amman is such an interesting city, we’ll get out and do all sorts of touristy, blog-worthy things when we arrive. And we will…eventually.

But if I were to tell you about our first six weeks here in Amman, you would be reading stories about our trips to Ikea, the time we got rejected at duty free, learning how to get water delivered to our home, and the amount of time it took to clean out & organize my classroom.

At the end of the day we sometimes have enough energy to cook dinner and read. Other nights, we go out to eat.

In fact, eating out is the only thing I can say we do in the city with any regularity. We’ve been looking for the tastiest food, the cheapest happy hours, and the most relaxing ambiences (Shams El Balad gets high marks in all three categories).

But even this post is too soon for a “Best of: Food in Amman” review. Because we’ve only scratched the surface of our list.

Instead, we’ve learned it takes three hours to clean our house from floor to ceiling (no house help for us just yet), that our favorite grocery stores are Centro, Cosmo, & Yanboot (and if you think that sounds like a lot, you should see a list of all the other ones we went to), and that it takes 8 minutes to drive to work in the morning & 16 minutes to drive home after school.

This doesn’t mean we haven’t gone out and done a few “touristy” things, but we’ve somehow managed to miss the “big” ones: The Citadel, the Royal Automobile Club, & the Roman Amphitheater.

Instead, we’ve been to random sites, like the Duke’s Diwan, advertised as the oldest building in downtown Amman. In Arabic, diwan means the section of the house whose doors are always open to guests. Built in 1924 as the Central Post Office and later used by the Haifa Hotel, it now hosts literary and artistic events.

Chandler must have found this stop on Atlas Obsurca, because it was pretty random.

We’ve also done a fair bit of walking around the city, though oddly enough, not in our own neighborhood.

But we did find some pretty cool street art while wandering through back alleys and hidden staircases to get to Wild Jordan, a cafe, gift shop, and ethical tourist office all in one. This one stop shop provided us with tasty fresh-squeezed juice, cards to send back home, and an incredibly affordable year-long membership to the various reserves found in Jordan.

Reserves, like the Dana Biosphere, Mujib Biosphere, and the Dibeen Forest, that we hope to start visiting on our long weekend at the end of September. But at the very least, we should be able to check off those big-ticket items on TripAdviser Amman.

For now though, we’re just taking our time turning Amman into our new home.

 

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