Category Archives: Events in my life

My epiphany moment

I am not sure when, maybe one or two years ago, that I started drifting away from my plan. When I came to the U.S. to do my PhD my plan was to return back to Jordan as soon as I am done.  But life in the U.S. is so easy compared to anywhere else.  Living in the U.S. is very comfortable and it is a lovely place to be.

Two weeks or so ago I had my epiphany moment. I was sure what I want to do in my life. I am determined now to finish my PhD and go back to Jordan. I want to tech in Jordan and start a family there.

There are so many reasons that make me want to live in the U.S. But there are also so many other reasons that make me want to settle in Jordan. My number one reason is family. Being close to my parents, sister, brothers and my nieces and nephews makes me happy.

On another level, I think I have gained lots of experience in my 11 years studying and working in the U.S. Here, there are thousands of Computer Science PhD holders. Working in the U.S. may satisfy my eagerness for excellence  in academia and my hunger for financial satisfaction. But life is more than that.

I am writing this post to keep my promise. This is not going to be a one time post. I am going to keep updating it, hopefully. Writing things I want to do in Jordan, places nearby that I want to visit.

When I visited Jordan back in January 2013, I noticed how Jordan became a hub for its troubled neighboring countries. Syrian refugees, Iraqi immigrants, Yemeni and Khaliji (Arab Gulf) college students, Libyan patients coming to Jordan for its good reputation in medical care in the region. Jordan became a multicultural  country and I like that.

I want to teach Arab students but more important I want also to learn from this young Arab generation how did they manage to break the hardest taboo. I want to ask them how does it feel to not be afraid of the Mukhabarat. How did they manage to say enough is enough. The future of the Arab region is so promising. It is of course going to get worse before we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I want to be there hoping I can also make a change. I like teaching and I believe it is an honorable job.

Here is a video I want to share with you about the beauty of our Arab region. A country that I always dreamed of visiting but didn’t get the chance to is Lebanon. Here is a beautiful video from Lebanon. 

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Jaraad is back to blogging

I arrived Queen Alia airport in Amman at 2 am. The check-in line was moving extremely slow until I arrived at the counter and found that the computer system is down!!! Yes, you read that right. The computer system was down. Hence, the check-in process was done manually. I was charged 50 JD (71 USD) for checking in my second suitcase. I was told I need to go to another window to pay for my second suitcase and come back to finish the check-in process. I am not sure if this is because the system is down or this is how it is done at Queen Alia International Airport.

Fortunately, Queen Alia airport is not busy especially at 2 am. There were hardly three flights taking off early in the morning. Otherwise, it would have been chaos with a broken computer system. No wonder it is one of the World’s Worst Airport Terminals.

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Queen Alia International Airport in Amman at 2:30 am

The good news soon Amman will have a new airport. I hope it comes with a fault-tolerant computer system and better services though.

The first thing I did when I arrived Heathrow airport was locating the nice Multi-faith prayer room they have in every terminal. I prayed Fajr.

I found something interesting in the room, a “Wudu Stone.” I know Muslims can perform Wudu using sand instead of water in some situations but I am not sure about using stones. Besides, the airport has many toilets one can perform Wudu easily there. The only concern is washing the feet which one can skip by wiping his/her shoes or socks. Anyway, I was grateful to find a place to pray peacefully.

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Photo Jan 22, 2 35 51 AM

Another interesting observation about Heathrow airport is the airport staff. I was shocked to see the staff regardless of the position; security, maintenance workers, operations officer, engineers, counter services, shops sellers, cleaning services and almost every job you can think of being an Asian (to be specific of Indian origin.)

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Heathrow Airport in London

My worst experience was at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Entering USA even when you have a visa is not an easy process. I will talk about it later.

Drawing your dream

When I was in my early and mid-twenties I used to tell my friends in Malaysia that I want to do my PhD in UK. I also used to mention, a lot, that my dream car is a Jaguar. And I guess I may have mentioned that I am going to get married after finishing my Master and going back to Jordan. My friends also know that I like beaches and my dream house would be close to the coast.

While looking for some documents recently I found the drawing below. My lab mate in Malaysia drew it for me as a goodbye gift before leaving to for Jordan. I think she knew exactly what my dream was at that time.

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“The Dream of Malik Tubaishat.” I used to have a mustache.
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Master in Computer Science from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). USM is located in Penang Island. Yes, I lived three years on an island.
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“He found friends of his interest.” Our lab used to have video game tournaments, daily. It was a fun lab.
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My Malaysian-Chinese friends, from left to right Myself, Jason (lives in Singapore) and Eunice who drew this (She lives in the UK). Pokémon was a top game that time.
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After Malaysia, getting married in Jordan then heading to England for my PhD.
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Finally, a Jaguar and a big beautiful house on the coast was supposed to complete my dream.

What I still didn’t mention is that this dream was supposed to be accomplished by 40. I am 39 now. I achieved nothing from this dream, yet. But I found a treasure that is worth more than anything in this dream. I found true friends. Indeed, you can’t put a price on friendship.

We dream about materialistic things all the time but instead we should only hope to be loved. We can live without materialistic things but not without love. Seek to love and be loved by your spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Love will indeed achieve happiness.

On a side note, I am stopping at Heathrow Airport in London for seven hours. So, hooray, after all  I am visiting the UK.

Jaraad Won the Honorable Mention Award for Best Expat Blog in USA

Moving to USA

Yes, we can!

So, today the Expats Blog announced the winners of five countries including USA. Thanks to the lovely readers of Jaraad the blog received the Honorable Mention Award 2012. Chiara’s comment was chosen by the award organizers to accompany the award announcement. I would like to thank Chiara as well because she is the one who encouraged me to register at this website.

expat

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A special thanks goes also to Whisper who encouraged other readers of this blog to vote for me. She dedicated a post in Arabic for this purpose. I appreciate the effort.

I would like to thank every single person who wrote a comment or a review about this blog in the Expats Blog. Except for one person (Kawafha), none of you I have met in person. We have met only via this blog. I appreciate your time and effort for writing a comment and continuing reading this blog. Thank You!

A.Q.Jamhawi wrote 6 days ago:

an interestingly different perspective, he’s normally bold and thorough with the topics he blogs about, for those Arabs who’re interested in the American culture, and those Americans who’re interested in the Arabic culture, I find his blog, in a way .. educational ..

Lablabla4 wrote 6 days ago:

The American life from a Jordanian perspective. my reference for daily events, news, activities and American culture.

Rain wrote 1 week ago:

Smart, interesting blog. Always a pleasure to read.

LioneSS wrote 1 week ago:

Wish you all the best ***** Nice blog

Amber wrote 1 week ago:

One of my favorite blogs. Jaraad’s posts show me my own country in a whole new light.

Zena wrote 1 week ago:

its great blog.. i like it

Jumana =) wrote 1 week ago:

Awesome blogger, and totally worth every minute spent reading his writing! Whisper, thanks for introducing Jaraad’s blog =)

W7l wrote 1 week ago:

one of the best blog i ever read!! the topics are always interesting to be read, i really like it, keep going

Mayyasi wrote 1 week ago:

I like the way Jarad sees US through an Arab eye.

Hb wrote 1 week ago:

Jaraad is a great blog and deserves all the best.

Haitham wrote 1 week ago:

One of my constant checks on the web, a great blog indeed. Opens up a lot of venues to consider + reconsider cultural differences and their relatedness from a unique well-suited perspective. Thanks Jaraad for that.

Um Ommar wrote 1 week ago:

One of my favorite blogs to read 🙂

Roba Al-Assi wrote 1 week ago:

Interesting and intelligent blog with a great perspective on what it’s like being Arab in the USA.

Kinzi wrote 1 week ago:

I love Jaraad’s blog! I’m an American in Jordan, he’a a Jordanian in America, and I love the positive exchange of national superlatives. What I like best: he is not easily offended, he is a man of faith who, like Madeleine, ‘smiles at the good and frowns at the bad’where it is found in both cultures, both faiths, and both genders. BRAVO!

Jad wrote 1 week ago:

I have been reading Jaraad’s blog for ages and the blogger behind it is one of few cyber acquaintances that I would like to meet in real life.

ORANGEE wrote 1 week ago:

Every time i read jarad’s blog i feel optimistic & proud that we still have a well- educated and energetic arabs out there in the world in which we can always points to them and say : We need persons like those 🙂 a person that capture knowledge and experience from each chance and using it wisely !! i do love his simple language and the way he describes and justify things ^_^

Kawafha wrote 1 week ago:

This is a great blog to read good luck Jaraad

Chiara wrote 1 week ago:

This is an outstanding blog that provides excellent insight into Arab culture, American culture, and the cultural (mis-)understandings as the 2 meet in the USA or in the imaginations of anyone around the world. Jaraad favours genuinely open and fair dialogue, which never descends into culture bashing. I always read the posts and the comments, and often comment myself. This blog has been invaluable in itself, and a conduit for the blogs of others via their high quality comments here.

Aseel wrote 1 week ago:

One of my favorite blogs to read! Jaraad is very talented and very thoughtful in his posts. What I love about his posts is the way he introduces living in the USA and explaining the cultural differences and similarities in a very articulate way to a degree where you can actually imagine yourself there with his posts and beautiful pictures. The posts remain in your mind once you read them! That’s how good they are! My favorite posts are the one about the library and the pictures of it, the one on the lake with pictures of ducks and the post about first day of college!I really love this blog and I really hope it wins!

Naysan wrote 1 week ago:

great blog !

Whisper wrote 1 week ago:

I’m a regular reader for Jaraad’s blog and I’m not exaggerate if I say that I really liked and loved every and each post he wrote there. I’m sure that Jarrad deserve such an award Best luck

Susanne wrote 1 week ago:

A wonderful blog which shares life in the US from the perspective of a Jordanian man who is living in Missouri. I greatly enjoy the cultural posts and seeing life in my country through the eyes of another. Jaraad’s blog covers a variety of topics, and is among the best!

Ten years later

Since I came to the United States, in January 2002, I have never been home. It has been 10 years since then. One week from today I will be travelling to Jordan. Lots of speculation has risen because I have not seen my parents all this time. I was told that I have a heart built from iron. That is, lifeless heart. I was reminded many times the effect of such thing on my parents as if I am a cruel person. When both Americans and Arabs hear that I haven’t been home for ten years the look on their faces is something I can no longer take. There is no sympathy but only dislike of my inhumane behavior.

In Jordan, people suspect that I like the life in the United States. Some believe I am married  and waiting to get my green card to be able to travel to Jordan. Others, think I am working and also waiting for my paperwork.

There are many reasons that prevented me from visiting Jordan but none of the above is true. No one knows that I had depression and mine was not the six month long one. Some doctors call my depression Chronic or Major Depressive, Recurrent. I will talk about it later.

Depression is only one of many problems that prevented me from traveling. Unfortunately, for many people depression is like a paper cut. It may hurt a little bit but people will tell you to stop whining and get over it. Depression means nothing to others. Especially if these people are Arabs.

I have been among many very educated Arabs who brag how Muslims unlike people in Western Civilization can’t get depressed because they have faith. Depression is for losers, right?

A prominent American Medical Doctor said that some depressed patients would rather have any other type of illness (he mentioned cancer) because it is the only way people will sympathize with them. In Jordan, there are videos on YouTube showing the crowds shouting for the girl who wants to jump from a building to jump and in another video the students surrounding a female student dare her to kill herself with the knife she is holding. This is how much Jordanians understand depression and how much they care for depressed people. It is a subject I have always wanted to talk about in detail. Experiencing what depressed people go through makes me a fit to write everything about it and hopefully change the minds and hearts of people about how they feel about it. So, hopefully soon I can explain more about this under alarmed disease.

Anyway, the good news is that I am way better now. I regained control of my life. And for this reason I took two decisive decisions in 2012 after I hit rock bottom in 2011. The first one, was changing my academic advisor after seven years and the second one is visiting Jordan against all odds that I may never be able to come back and finish my PhD. There is no standard when it comes to issuing visas to students. It depends entirely on the mood and personality of the person you are interviewing. Some PhD students were denied entry to the United States for no reason even when all their paperwork is complete. But for some reason I am very optimistic. As much as I like to finish my PhD add to that the ten years I spent in the US I no longer tie my future to living in the USA and a PhD degree. If it didn’t happen then it is fine and if it happens then it is very good.

I have never been happier. I could have lived unhappy for more years to come or take a risk. I decided to take control of my life after three years of living aimlessly.

For my American readers, wait for very beautiful pictures from the land of the prophets; Jordan.

My life in world cup time

For football (called soccer in USA) fans, USA is not the place to watch world cup. I am not a big fan of this game but I like and enjoy watching a good game. Americans actually mock and make fun of this game. And it is the least favorite among Americans after American football, Baseball, and Basketball. You may see kids play soccer but rarely you see 20 or 30 something play this game.

Below is a chronological list of world cup during my life. My age in world cup years is only 10!

 

Year

Where

Milestone

1974 Kuwait I was one year old.
1978 Kuwait I was 5 years old so most probably I was put to sleep before the games start so I don’t disturb people watching the game in our house.
1982 Kuwait Strangely, I have a vivid memory of this one since Kuwait was participating for the first time and the whole country was on adrenaline. Free air tickets were given to Kuwaitis who wanted to go to Spain to watch their team.
1986 Kuwait One of my favorite world cups. I don’t know why but I enjoyed watching the games and three Arab countries were in this world cup.
1990 Jordan Studying for Tawjihi (general secondary examination).
1994 Jordan Senior year in college.
1998 Malaysia Working on my master’s thesis. I watched 2/3 of the games alone because they were aired after 3 am.
2002 USA Second MS thesis. Watched Germany vs. Saudi Arabia game (8-0) in a room full of Saudi students. It was a memorable day.
2006 USA Working on my PhD. Missed watching many of the games due to work.
2010 USA Will be teaching a summer class while working on my PhD dissertation.
2014 ? ???

My first roadkill

Today morning while driving to to the coffee shop I ran over a bird. I was driving at 50 mph (80 km) when I saw two birds on the road, I thought they will fly away as they always do. Unfortunately, one of them didn’t make it since I heard something hit my car. When I looked at my rear view mirror I saw one of the birds struggling to fly. Seeing the bird struggling for his life was a painful scene. Although, I think he died shortly after the accident either by his injuries or by the next car behind me. I hope birdy didn’t suffer for too long though.

Here is an excerpt from Seinfeld related to this incident:

JERRY: You ran over some pigeons? How many?

GEORGE: What ever they had. Miranda thinks I’m a butcher but it’s not my fault is it? Don’t we have a deal with the pigeons?

JERRY: Of course. We have a deal. They get out of the way of our cars, we look the other way on the statue defecation.

GEORGE: Right! And these pigeons broke the deal. I will not accept the blame for this.