Archive for May, 2007

An Example of Idiocracy ::Taxi Drivers::

Posted in Jordan Idiocracy, Shockers on Monday, May 21, 2007 by dragonsvamp

For once I will not bash the Jordanian population like I usually do in posts under this category, but actually I must say that taxi drivers never cease to surprise me these days.  Lately I’ve been asking them not to smoke while I’m in the car and so far only one person has ignored my request. Most of the time though they apologize (yes! I know almost unbelievable!) and put away the cigarette they were just about to light.

However, a few days ago was the biggest shocker of all. The taxi driver actually asked me if I mind him smoking! He even asked before he brought the cigarette and lighter out. Now when he did that I for once in my life felt as though there is still hope in this country, that decent people still existed and that they were maybe just a tiny bit spreading. Even if it’s slowly I’m having hope that it’s going to be worth it.

Of course there’s a good bunch out there that are still idiots but this one taxi driver was really really nice and friendly. He misunderstood the directions I told him (I usually tell them a bit before they hit the turn or whatnot) and so we needed to make a last second turn that didn’t go too well. Instead of going off about how unclear I was he just said ‘I understood we were supposed to turn after the light not at it.’ And when he dropped me off he said ‘I’m sorry about the misunderstanding.’ That totally threw me off! He didn’t blame me as is the norm and stuff. That was a very nice shocker.

Lately, they’ve been more respectful than I have ever experienced. It’s a nice change.

Work ::And so the Story Goes…::

Posted in Work Arama on Monday, May 14, 2007 by dragonsvamp

Just over two weeks ago I got a call from this lady who found out about me through her friend who knows an acquaintance of mine. Yes complicated but the point is she wanted me to tutor her and her three children. Now my schedule was pretty full what with 16 students already. But somehow I was able to manage them into my busy day; tutoring them three days a week for three hours. Usually I tutor early in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening so I was able to squeeze them into the time after 1 and before 4.

The lady has three children ages 8 and half, six, and four.  Two girls and a boy. The eldest is the boy. I arrived there the first day with my bag loaded with the books I figured would be at their age and reading levels. I talk to the mother a little bit to see what she wants out of these tutoring sessions since she wants to be tutored as well. Pretty much all they want is to work on their speaking and reading skills. Which is a big no problem to me.

They are very very sweet and I really enjoy teaching them. They are very respectful and kind and the children are very sweet. Unlike some of my students I’m having a lot of trouble with.

There is this one kid I tutor that just drives me nuts. I have been tutoring him since he was in second grade and then took a semester off because I couldn’t handle him anymore. When I decided I was going to go back to the states and needed to save up some money I decided I should tutor him again because they paid pretty well and I thought maybe there was still hope for him yet. So I did. And though I don’t regret it, I do sometimes wish I hadn’t gotten him back.

How bad is he? Well think of all those hafartali guys you see strutting around Amman. You know who I’m talking about. The grease heads, with their super super tight pants and shirts that look like they haven’t been washed in a week. The dudes that always wear those pointy clicking shoes, and their filthy hands from too much picking at their noses and other parts of their disgusting bodies. The ones who just hang out on the sides of the streets doing nothing (smoking is considered one of the ‘nothings’ they are doing) or hanging out at the university smoking and they’re doing nothing because though their dad’s are working three jobs and their mom’s are working two jobs besides taking care of the kids and the house those idiot’s parent’s don’t believe in mixing work with study and so they tell their sons to go and study and make them proud.  But instead they go to the university wasting their parent’s money while checking out all the girls that pass by and commentating about them to one another and being disgusting while they’re at it and not even thinking about school or classes.

In other words the typical average youth Arab Joe.  Well this is what this kid will definitely turn out to become if he keeps at it the way he is right now. 

There was a spell where he was becoming much better. He was studying and not sitting there for the hour making me keep trying to get him to study. But that was just that: a phase. He’s back to his evil nasty ways of making fun every time I say the number six or when we went over his vocab list last week there was the word ‘tease’ on it which means ass in Arabic. He had a hey day with that. The list goes ever on. I can’t wait until school lets out in a few weeks because then I’d be done with him for good.

Though I do honestly like to teach kids and to me it’s very rewarding I’ve been trying for almost two years to make some sort of impression on him. To at least get him to put some effort into his studies (and believe me it’s really not fun to work so hard and then find him failing his tests and have to feel as though the effort put in wasn’t enough). I have yet to be successful in that. Sometimes I feel as though I’m making some progress but then something comes up and we go back to where we started. It’s tough but I’ve dealt with tough kids before.

Dun Dun! ::Accepted or Rejected?::

Posted in University in America on Monday, May 7, 2007 by dragonsvamp

Just this last Friday I was complaining to my family (or whoever of my family that was in the car) about how much money I had spent on applying to the University of Michigan and how they were giving me a really hard time with everything they receive from me.  I had just spent $24 to get some old college transcripts sent to them and I was going off about how I was positive they were going to reject me.

Especially after the episode with the paper from the University of Jordan saying that my major is taught in English.  I’ll recount it here. The University of Michigan wanted proof that I could handle their coursework. This proof would come in the form of either a high school transcript (which shows I graduated from a school in English), a TOEFL test, or an official letter from the University of Jordan saying that my major is taught in English.

I had ordered my high school transcripts a whole month earlier but they had not received it yet. So I had to call my high school and see what went wrong. They reordered the transcript but I didn’t trust it to arrive so I decided to get the letter from the University as well just to have my back covered.

I went about two weeks ago and ran around for a few hours trying to get that paper only to find out later on that it said ‘The instruction media at the University of Jordan for the English Lit. Major is English’ or something along those lines. Of course Amino instantly pointed out to me that it was supposed to be ‘medium’ instead of ‘media’. So I tried to get them to fix it but they refused. They said they have used this same paper for the past 40 years and a professor from the English department had written it for them. I had no choice but to send it as it is.  I did only to find out later that I could have easily asked the Deen of my faculty to just write a personal letter stating what was needed.

I decided I was doomed. The University of Michigan would take one look at that pitiful paper and laugh their heads off and be like ‘oh yeah! they definately teach in English.’  After that incident I just waited and hoped but didn’t really believe I would be accepted. I even seriously started looking at what was needed to apply to the community college there- Mott Community College so that I can transfer to U of M after completing my general ed.

Then, last Friday I got an email from university of Michigan saying I was accepted! They had received my high school transcripts and the letter from the university. They had yet to receive my old college transcripts though because I had just ordered them the day before. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that email and was expecting it to be a hoax or a joke or a mistake. So for the rest of the evening I was expecting an email saying that they had sent the email to the wrong person. But instead I was able to get into the Student info system section of the website and I was even able to register for classes already!

And what’s more they transferred 54 of my 63 credits! I was hoping they’d transfer at least half of my credits instead they transferred most of them! Now that made my day. They didn’t transfer only three of my classes.  One more credit and I’d be considered a Junior too when I only attended a year and half in the university of Jordan.

Now I’m waiting to find out which classes they transferred and what they replace and whatnot so that I may be able to plan out what to take and stuff. I already registered for one of the general education classes and am looking forward to completing my registration by the end of the week. *fingers crossed*

It’s unbelievable that I can actually sign up for my classes from now…four months in advance when in JU we only had a week or two. And I have five months to sign up for them instead of the half hour they give us in JU. Besides the fact that I can register for my classes on-line from my own laptop instead of have to run around finding the appointed lab in the JU campus to register.

I’m so relieved I’m finished for good from the University of Jordan. And now I can truly feel as though I’m getting a decent education that will actually count and help me towards achieving my goals.

Go blue! (though I’m not a fan of that color)

Book Review ::A Million Little Pieces::

Posted in Book Reviews on Friday, May 4, 2007 by dragonsvamp

Title: A Million Little Pieces 

Series:  N/A

Author: James Frey

Pages: 512

Cost: $9.15

My Rating: B+

Date Published: 2003

Comment: A friend of mine got me to borrow this book off her and I’m really happy I did. I just loved the style of the author. His writing is fresh and completely new and the layout of the novel is very unique. When I began reading this story I was instantly gripped and could not begin any other story until I finished this one. I don’t care how much of the story is not true or how much is fabricated or that the author lied a lot. This is a great piece of writing if I may say so and no matter what it’s labeled we can’t deny that it isn’t a really great book.  It’s a story about an alcohol and drug addicted 23 year old kid named James Frey and his story of recovering from these addictions. It is truly an amazing book and worth owning. I can’t wait to read the sequel ‘My Friend Leonard’.