Q. Are the people and the overall pace of life as hurried and frantic as it can sometimes be in the US or is it a bit more relaxed there? Aside from the driving I mean:)
A. The pace of life in Jordan is interesting.
In Jordan, there are not as many things to keep yourself busy with. Generally speaking, you aren't running around after school with after school activities such as football, gymnastics, volleyball, etc. There are few opportunities for fishing, swimming, boating, hanging out at the cabin on the weekend or after work. We don't have large yards that need mowing, raking leaves, or shoveling snow from the sidewalk/driveway. These activities in the USA are so much enjoyable, yet they are what we keep ourselves busy with outside of work and housework.
In Jordan, time is spent wasted. I spend a lot of time (and stress) waiting to get the normal activities done. Such as paying bills, not many bills can be paid on-line and there is no mail that comes to your doorstep - so when you want to pay a bill, you have to first drive to the bank to pull out cash (as most places do not take checks or check cards), then you have to fight traffic as you drive to the place to pay the bill, wait in line to pay the bill, and then pay the bill. Another example of time wasted is government agencies, hospitals, clinics, etc. There are no appointments made, so you arrive (with half of Jordan) in the morning just as they open and you wait and wait and wait and wait.....sometimes for hours until it's your turn - many times we found ourselves waiting forever and when it's finally our turn the guy tells us that we are in the wrong place.....time wasted. Really, nothing in Jordan is easy. Even the housework is more work. The dust in Jordan is awful! It never gives up. I have to dust my house every 2-3 days...in Minnesota and Wisconsin, if I had dusted less than once a month I would have had less dust than what I have after 3 days in Jordan! Cooking is also mostly from scatch. A lot of women do not have automatic washing machines, many do not have clothes dryers, and most do not have a dishwasher. This means, time wasted scrubbing clothes in between washing cycles, time wasted hanging clothes on the lines to air dry, time wasted ironing every piece of clothing (including socks and underwear), and time wasted hand washing dishes.
The Jordanian people are very lively people: when they are happy-they are so happy, when they are sad-they are so sad, scared-very scared, annoyed-very annoyed, angry-very angry....so things can get frantic because everyone is waiting, wasting time, nothing is easy and people are lively. There are very few things that are organized here and that also makes life frantic here. It seems as though, like the traffic, people are always pushing to get them self next in line, to get their ideas heard, to get themselves recognised.
I am not saying anything is necessarily wrong with this way of life (although I prefer the American way of being organized and set up for convenience). Things work for them here....but I know there are easier ways of doing things. I often talk with the people I know (Jordanian or American) who have spent considerable amount of time in the USA. We always laugh amongst ourselves of how we use to think things were tough in the USA. How we use to think we had no time. Now we are living somewhere where things are not convenient, things are chaotic, and we are often finding ourselves wasting time.