A personal day in Amman

 Taking personal time, away from family, friends and cares is recommended – some might say that moving away from home endures that every day is personal time. Well it is not quite like that. Living away from home and on your own is something that takes adjusting too, in fact you are left to your own devices most of the time. If things are not going well in your job, for instance, you have plenty of time to mull things over in your head, which in my case is not the wisest course.

Amman is very quiet on a Friday, yesterday I forgot and turned up to the Mecca Mall at 9.30am only to find nothing open, this necessitated a trip back to my local, the Amman Mall and a visit to Donut King! As pointed out by my close friend Niki, ‘not the best breakfast, Andrew!’.

Today, that is Saturday, I was determined to do better. After pottering around at home (something I am excellent at) and having had a good nights sleep for a change and a good breakfast of 3 mugs of coffee (!!) a peanut butter roll and cheese toast (is that a healthy breakfast, seems OK to me compared to the donuts from the Donut Kind), I was ready for the day.

Had a good chat to Cathie back in Australia for 20minutes or so, something we are good at, and goodness only knows what we all did before Skype. A little lie down again, which was a mistake because I was now so relaxed I nearly convinced myself that I was due a good day in bed, again, if allowed to, something I am good at. I think nothing of propping myself in bed, playing my guitar, listening to the radio, reading the papers, scattering some books around and consuming whatever is to hand – all day, as I say, if allowed.

The thought occurred to me that some shopping and lunch at Mecca Mall was worth a try again. Shopping is actually something I like doing, love spending hours deciding over presents but often am hopeless at shopping for myself – stuff never fits, pants are always too long or tight, shirts look awful and as for shoes forget it. Instead of cheering yourself up, depression sets in and you become convinced that a Hessian bag is the go.

As anyone who knows me can testify, I hate suits, just can’t see the point of donning the black suit to look like everyone else, and as for shoes, give me a pair of sandles or thongs (for your feet) any day – I never actually wore shoes to school until I went into year 7. Fortunately there is a shop called Camel Active (www.camelactive.de) on the lower floor of the Mall, and it is just fantastic, with a range of clothes that fit somewhere between smart casual and what you can go to work in, at least what I think I can wear to work – chics get away with murder in this regard, basically anything goes, even in conservative Amman, but if you are a guy – stick on the black suit, white shirt and tedious tie is about as creative as you are allowed to be.

Thanks to the lads at the store, they are very helpful, can tell by a glance what size you are and basically make you feel relaxed so you can enjoy shopping – take note all the other shops assistants in the world, listen to your customer, if he says ‘piss-off’, piss-off, as you will not get a sale lurking around hiding in a clothes rack and randomly appearing with helpful suggestions like ‘this Mosses coloured robe would look good on you’!

So, I emerged with two pairs of pants, two great shirts (at least I and the lads think so) and a nice Italian Scarf! I also left instructions to find a nice blue jacket and to try and solve my shoe problem ie at least size 12, they only run to 10 – ‘don’t people in Amman have big feet’, I said. And of course the answer occurred to me, ‘Yes, but they have already shopped here’ (ha). Oh well the sandles will have to do for now, and maybe I could polish my one other pair of shoes, maybe Andrew, maybe!

The other couple of items, seeing as the shoes and jacket had to wait, were comfortable fitting trackie pants and a top – by comfortable I mean at least 2 sizes too big, in my case that means ……. I’m not going to say. Alas these are a bit down market for Camel Active!

I managed to find a large fitting pair of articles and am well satisfied, presently I am ensconced in front of the TV, dressed in said large fitting sloth garb and ‘Park has just SCORRRRRRED for MAN-U against Bolton – GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL’.

Before venturing home I wanted coffee, but am sick and tried of answering no to the question ‘do you want Americana?’, ‘what, no I do not want a vat of luke warm black crap’, well I found another gem – Cafe Vergnano (www.cafeeverganao.com) on the lower floor near one of the exits, good knows which one as I get lost every time I go to the Mall – sort of a pattern emerging, like with the hire car. Again, great service, and I had the healthy option – a Marccchino Speciale with ‘Yes please I’ll have cream, thank you so, so much for being concerned for my health’, according to the menu it is: espresso, latte, cioccolate in palvere and creama di cioccolate, which all sounds nice (translated as chocolate, milk and coffee) and healthy – look all you doubters you need the ‘stuff’ in milk and chocolate, I think, maybe not in these quantities, but it was of course delicious!

The taxi was another – I score goooal – one of the grey ones in Amman, driven by a nice and helpful guy called Ahmad, (still need to practice the back of throat pronunciation) who I am now going to use as my driver. Anyway, I decided I needed to visit a music shop as I wanted some new plectrums and a tunning instrument – ‘no problems mate’, and off we went to the Faza Music store in the AlGardens Street. I purchased what I wanted, tried to play an Oud, got some free instruction and am now booked in for lessons, such helpful people. Again, a lesson in how to treat customers- pretty simple really: listen and then meet their needs with a smile and further helpful advice.

For those that don’t know I spend a lot of time in sales and did a heap of sales training, it ain’t rocket science – here without being asked are some simple rules. Smile, be thoughtfully genuine, don’t try and bullshit the bullshitter, and give the customer what they ask for, provide advice, be really interested and for goodness sake don’t say ‘have nice f….ing day!’.

Well there you go, I had one of those rare nice personal days, I am even looking forward to meeting my truculent year 9 class, mind you my current relaxed frame of mind may evaporate quickly – more quickly than my Mt Nebo Cab Sav even – when that happens, but we live in hope – teaching is essentially selling with the exception that you don’t often get the chance to tell the customer to …… off, nor are the customers obliged nor necessarily inclined to see things your way – freewill lives, at least in my classrooms!

But one thing is for sure, in this day and age of technology, isolation and the itty-bitty Internet, the key to education is still love, kindness and concern for the individual to be able to do their best – it just is a very giving job and sometimes it takes a lot of giving before something is taken, but when it is taken it makes ya day.

 Love to all.

(PS: Park scores the winning Gooooooooooooooal!!) 2 : 1 against Wolves.

Andrew

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