Knowns and unknowns

When you’re renting an apartment in the Middle East, a lot of consideration has to be given to the “knowns.” What I mean is, there are so many things that can go terribly wrong in an apartment or its location, and so anything you know for sure about the place you’re thinking about living in carries a lot of weight when you make your decision.

We had planned on staying in the same apartment we did at the beginning of last summer. There were a few things we didn’t like about it, but on the other hand, it was an absolute “known.” We knew all its strengths, all its faults, and in the end, it was a net positive. But when we contacted the landlord a few months ago, they said it was rented, although they weren’t sure when the woman tenant was leaving.

So we wrote an email to the lady who was living there at the time to see what her plans were. She told us she’d be there until the end of August. That made it impossible for us to rent that apartment. But she also told us that she had looked at another apartment near the University of Jordan that at the time had not been available. If it had been available, she informed us, she would have taken it.

That was a good enough recommendation for us. We contacted that landlady by email and basically asked to rent the apartment for the whole summer. We worked out all the arrangements ahead of time. The only “unknown” at that point was the apartment’s exact location. The landlady told us the general area, and also that it was just a 5-minute walk to the university. We decided that was good enough information for now and that we’d find out exactly where it was upon arrival in Jordan.

When we got here on Sunday evening, we had the airport taxi guy call our landlady on his cell phone. She gave him directions to what we assumed was our apartment. With increasing concern, we watched as the taxi driver drove toward the university (which we thought was a good thing at first), and then drove farther and farther away from it. Eventually, we realized that it was no longer even a 5-minute drive to the university, much less a 5-minute walk.

We finally reached our destination: a nice villa in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. At this point, the landlady came walking out of the house and told us that she would take us to the apartment. This was met with great relief by Jeremy and me, since we thought we’d been deceived as to the apartment’s location.

Eventually, we made it to our own apartment. It is indeed a 5-minute walk to the university, at least to the gates. From there, it’s probably another 10 minutes to the Language Center. The nice thing is that we don’t have to cross the major street to get there. Last year, the only way to cross over to the university was on a huge pedestrian overpass that made using the stroller almost impossible.

In other news, it basically feels like we never left Jordan. But I’m hoping that as soon as we visit Abdoun Circle and see that the construction is finally completed, that will be proof that time has actually passed since our last visit.


First words