Imagine There’s No Countries

English: Teaching and Learning
English: Teaching and Learning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It may technically be cheating, since I already did a Beatles son, but its John Lennon by himself so Im counting it.

Today was my first day not hanging out with Americans. I agreed to teach English to the children of a professor and I was picked up for the two hour lesson. There were three children in the car in addition to the two adults, and the children were both fascinated by me and extremely shy. I was confused at first, I thought they were transporting me to the children I was tutoring. The father is a physics professor at one of the universities and his wife is an accountant for the government. I am tutoring the two oldest children, a girl and a boy. The girl is adorable and so so intelligent. The little boy is a bit young, and still scared of me, but we managed to exchange a few words before I put on the ABC song on youtube for him to watch over and over. They also fed me my first in-country mansaf – I posted what mansaf looks like on the last post. It is considered the only true Jordanian food, and I think its delicious. The wife had pre-prepared the mansaf because she worked during the week.

It was fascinating to be so far from home, and find the working arrangement that is so rare in the Mormon culture, and one that I probably hope to emulate. This woman, who is married to an exceptionally educated husband with three very smart kids, in this culture where most Americans assume there is no equality or opportunity for women, is very accomplished and making it work for her family. There are sacrifices to be made, of course, but people all around the world are doing it, even in Arabia, and something I wish others would consider, because I really feel there are benefits for our children. I grew up in a family where my mother worked, and although there were inconveniences, I learned many things about being fearless and supporting myself that I think has led to me to a point that I dream much bigger than I would have otherwise.

The wife drove me home after my lessons. I got the feeling she does not drive much, but on the way she said something that made an impact on me. She said she had a dream that someday her two oldest children, the ones I am tutoring, will speak English fluently. She told me the oldest child, the girl, wants to go to America someday. It made me think how lucky I am to have been born in a country, where I learned English growing up. How lucky I am to be an American – I never have to worry when I show up at a country’s borders, whether or not I will be allowed. There are so few places in the world, we are not allowed. The same will not be true for this little girl. Arabia is considered a place for terrorists, and the visas have been severely restricted for their travel to the states – unless you are very rich or have some other important value. Will this little girl ever have the opportunity to travel the world they way I have? I dont know. I hope so.

So this is my time in the Middle East so far. I am finding ways to interact with the culture in small ways, that mean a lot to me; so hopefully I wont leave here just having taken without giving back something.

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