So far, so good! I got in last night after 28 hours of hell and crappy food, immediately showered and then went to sleep. My host, a junior officer at our embassy here, is very nice, and her digs are great - I can only hope that my place in Saudi is as good. Today we met up with the other group that's here from FSI (whom we intend to avoid as much as possible) and our ostensible teacher, although we'll only meet with her for a few hours a week. Basically, this was just to coordinate our schedules and to make sure that we have the barest veneer of oversight from someone at FSI. Once we'd checked in, my group headed out for our first meeting, with an organization here that provides special ed and basic vocational training for special needs children in Amman. One of the people we spoke to there is the director of Jordan's Special Olympics program, and we got to see photos of the school's students who went to the international Special Olympics last year in Beijing. Later in the day, we visited a church that has been providing educational services for Iraqi children living as refugees in Jordan, although the plan has changed somewhat in the past few months to an after-school tutoring program now that Jordanian schools are allowing Iraqis to enroll (a recent change). One of my friends here worked for an NGO in Jordan a few years ago, and he knows all of these great little organizations where we can go and talk about their jobs and activities in Arabic. It's a side of Jordan that I'll bet most Americans never see.
Right now I'm in a cafe overlooking downtown Amman, which is very hilly, and the Roman forum ruins in the center of town. This cafe is a project of a nature conservancy here, built entirely of natural materials from around Jordan and selling nature-y stuff in a cafe and a gift shop. I imagine that we'll be back here often, for the free wireless and good food. Pictures may be slow in coming, but once I have some worth showing, I'll pony up. I think that's it for now - so long from Amman!