Category Archives: Random

Bow-tie Thursdays

Instead of TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) we have TAIT here in Jordan (Thank Allah It’s Thursday) with our strange (for me) work week ending on Thursday. I often have difficult Thursdays class-wise, with two classes after lunch, one in the last period from 3-3:45 pm, which luckily enough happens to be the section where all my rambunctious knuckleheads decided to conglomerate (they are incapable of virtually anything during this period). I’m always looking for things to try to get me through the day before I can crash for the weekend, and one of the things that has worked is Bow-tie Thursdays!

For those that haven’t been following the blog since the beginning, I decided early in the yearthat since bow-ties are such a novelty here, that I would become the bow-tie man. Soon after I started wearing them, I decided that it would be a nice treat at the end of the week – a bow-tie to get me through Thursday, perfect. And then some students began pestering me about the bow-tie, so we decided that we would start a bow-tie club and all wear bow-ties on Thursday.

I immediately tried to get the ball rolling (this was October) with the help of others at the school to try to get bow-ties with the school colors so they would count as dress code and be official. I sent off like 12 emails, people had the school had many meetings on my behalf, we looked at proposed designs and a few months later (ha) a sample came in. Unfortunately though, the sample was for a pre-tied, velcro stick bow-tie – the clip-on tie equivalent in the bow-tie world – bummer. When the suppliers came to school for a meeting, I offered up a few of my bow-ties as samples so they could see exactly what we wanted to order. But, apparently when they were unveiled at the meeting, the suppliers said something to the effect of “We have never seen something like before, we need to send it Indonesia.”

Now, I’m sure that’s not what they said, but that’s exactly what they did. They sent one of my bow-ties to Indonesia to figure out how to make them. The bow-tie I wore today for Bow-tie Thursday has been in Indonesia. I feel awful that this has been such a hassle for the great people in our school who have to deal with issues like this, but the bow-tie ball is rolling and aint nothing going to stop it now. We will get King’s Academy bow-ties, I will have a following that will wear them on Thursdays, and we will all find ways to help us get through those tough Thursdays…


Different Just to Be Different?

Okay, so I can handle the Sunday-Thursday workweek now, I’ve actually kind of gotten used to it. The idea of working on Friday sounds pretty miserable too me. And some other random adjustments aren’t too bad – for example, if you are in the States you may have had daylight savings about a week ago, but here in Jordan we don’t do daylight savings until Friday. So right now, we’re only 6 hours ahead of the East Coast for the rest of the week until we catch up.

But a really weird one for me has been Jordanian Mother’s Day. A few weeks ago, I started hearing radio ads talking about what to get your Mother for the big day and I was so confused because I didn’t think they could possibly be advertising a full two mothers early…. Well, they weren’t because Mother’s Day here was this past Sunday, March 21st (sorry Mom, I didn’t get you anything). In all of the Arab Middle East (15 countries actually) Mother’s Day coincides with the vernal equinox. Many other countries celebrate at different times of the year (India in August, Argentina in October, Russia in November, Norway in February etc).

WHAT? Why? If we’re all going to give in and celebrate a Hallmark holiday, why not pick the same day? Do jewelry companies and florists need to spread their profits at their international venues over the course of the whole fiscal year? This is one of these things I would have never known about had I not chosen to live abroad…

Google Voice Wrong Number

I have this Google Voice account (434-535-BOBO = 434-535-2626), which is a US phone number that you can call in the states and it will leave a voice mail on my computer, which I can then listen to and enjoy hearing your voice. It also does free text messaging, which is sweet. The fun part about the voice mails though is that it tries to transcribe what you say, which is usually absolutely hilarious. Examples:

  • Bowman, Mystery Mayhem make it if you were in my life
  • Cats are okay.
  • Anyway, I don’t know if you’re in the lot. Needs, forms, recently, for like, blah blah blah blah raw healthcare healthcare
  • Is your dad yellow businesses
  • I don’t have that the past time out of the bath. I haven’t
  • I wanted to send you a message. I mentioned Evergreen.

Google thinks my friends say the weirdest things…  Anyway, it’s USUALLY hilarious. I got this message in my inbox the other day

“Hey father hi madam a wash in the hospital. Could you call my number home now, but I know this treaty with you, 54041741611 See if you wanna one see you. Thanks, Dad.”

I scanned through and saw “Dad” and “hospital” and was pretty freaked out. I immediately listened to the message, and it turned out it was a wrong number. I’m apparently good at attracting random people with technology. I listened again and was then really sad – it was a guy who sounded pretty drugged out who was calling his Dad because he was in the hospital. I hope things worked out… eeeeh. I tried to upload so you could listen for yourself, but maybe it’s best that it didn’t work…

what is arbic pepole they smook

The blog site I use gives me a list of all the search engines terms that people used to find my blog. Here are my favorites.

  • thubbah community in which country?
  • fun waterparks
  • school boy shirt untucked
  • salt lake utah floating swimmers
  • beebsee
  • jane jetson (43 times… the third most popular one)
  • wrinkly disheveled dress for work pictur
  • bowman i’m arabia
  • And in Arabic… وادي الموجب
  • عيد مبارك

But the overall winner has to be…

  • what is arbic pepole they smook

(was some drunk Jamaican trying to find out where to buy a hookah and stumbled across my blog?)

So if you’re one of those people that used a strange thing to find this site… welcome?

Meeting up with Friends where East meets up with West

As I mentioned previously, I spent Eid Al-Adha ’09 in Turkey with one of my best friends from college, Sam. We spent 4 days in Istanbul and then decided out of the blue to go to a place that we hadn’t heard of before we got there – Cappadocia. We took a 10-hour overnight bus to this very strange place which turned out to be this other-worldly landscape where early Christians carved all these churches into these weird structures that people kept calling Fairy Chimneys – what?

Overall, an extremely interesting country that is on the bridge between East and West in almost every sense. The geographic is obvious; religiously, 98% of the country is Muslim but there is a similar secular feel to it as a European country, though you can hear the call to prayer booming 5 times a day; ethnically, Turks are nearly exact middle ground between Arabs and honkeys (for lack of a better term); landscape-wise, the country was a strange middle ground between a desert and a more lush; linguistically, Turkish sounded very Eastern European but had many elements similar to Arabic (but was ultimately completely incomprehensible – see DUR sign above)… I could go on – but it was interesting as a Westerner living in an Eastern country to travel in this strange transition land. Check out my friend Napatra’s post about East/West and everything in between. Experiences like this, and insight from people like Napatra, make me really rethink our broad generalizations of the world around us. I think they are more dangerous than they are useful.

Anyway, in case you found this post boring, my favorite thing I saw in Turkey (of many, many things that I saw) was a guy selling Cialis and pirated copies of children’s movies, most prominently Turkish Ice Age 3, at his little street stand. That sounds like a sweet afternoon. Christmas is coming up, Mom…

If you would like to see some of the actually beautiful and cool things in Istanbul and see the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, check out the Pictures page for my new album about Turkey (pictures taken by Sam though). I also added a photostich of the Hagia Sophia, one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul, which was just TOO TALL to capture with one image! Check it out, yo.

The Amman International Marathon

On Saturday, with a group of faculty and students from King’s Academy, I participated in the “Amman International Marathon.” Before you think I’m some sort of crazy intense marathon runner, there was a 10K race too, which is the one I did. However, now I have a bag, a shirt and some other merchandise that indicates I participated in the Amman International Marathon, no qualifiers, so maybe when I’m 70 that’s what I’ll choose to remember.

The race itself was really awesome. I feel like a road race is a somewhat western idea, so it was really interesting to see it happen here in Jordan. The Jordanian take was certainly a little different. Instead of every single person DECKED OUT in head to toe athletic gear even if they were just planning on strolling the course with their fellow 68 year old retirees, a lot of people ran in skinny jeans, a few even smoking cigarettes. No one was putting on any sort of show about their level of seriousness about the race, which I thought was a nice idea. Who cares about false pretenses anyway?

Then, during the race, there was rampant cheating. If you notice on the map of the course below, there are a few places where the course did a tight U-turn and then turned back along the same road – a lot of people just decided to do their U-turn much earlier than the rest of us. At first, I thought this was strange considering it was a charity walk and most of the people cheating were just walking anyway, but then I realized, hey, the result is the same for everyone. The Cancer Foundation gets their money, and they don’t REALLY want to walk a full 10 kilometers, so they’re not going to. Who cares about false pretenses anyway?

Still, it was frustrating to pass a lady pushing a baby stroller and a guy running in skinny jeans with a backpack on at like kilometer 7 almost 40 minutes into the race and think “I know i’m not running very fast, but seriously?? I’m not running baby-stroller-skinny-jeans-backpack-cigarette-smoking slow.” Overall, it was a phenomenal experience. I ran the 10K in 50 minutes, which isn’t great, but I guess that’s not really the point of these things. I’d be lying to myself and you if I said I cared about the time… and who cares about false pretenses anyway?

Proof that I am actually working in Jordan

Ha, check out my faculty bio on the King’s Academy website… I feel so important!

Arabic For Your Everday Life – Teneen (تنين) = Dragon

P8211127Amman is a city of cafes. A lot of people like to go out and smoke hookah (that’s the American word… actually called Argeelah, or Sheesha, or Hubbly Bubbly). I always feel like a Dragon when I smoke hookah though, thus I had to learn Dragon in Arabic. And now you know.

Dragon = Teneen = تنين

(I’ve decided to do a series called Arabic for your everday life, in which I will share Arabic words that are completely random but have somehow come up in my everyday life.)

My Mom Thinks She’s Jane Jetson

I love Skype. It makes living almost 10,000 miles away from home so much easier. My mom thinks it’s the coolest thing ever, and pretty much every other time talks about how she is like Jane Jetson video talking, which is actually pretty legit. Our grandmother thinks it’s absolutely amazing – when her eldest son was in college, she would call the phone in the hallway of his dorm and it would ring and ring and ring, and if someone finally picked up, she would ask for Joe, and that person would say “Okay hold on, I’ll try to find him” and then put the receiver down and Nana would wait a very long time (racking up the call cost) before finally getting Joe, or having the person come back and say “Sorry ma’am I couldn’t find him.” And that was really the only option besides writing a letter.

Oh how the times have changed.

Now my family and I talk face to face, in real time, across the Atlantic Ocean, through our computers for free. When you describe it like that, it really makes it seem like we are living in the world of the Jetsons. Now if only I could get a mechanical maid…

But if you don’t have Skype, get it now, and add me. I’m the only Bowman Dickson in the world I think, and I’m the only one on Skype (bowmandickson). If you just leave it on when your computer is on then we can chat Jetsons style sometime.

Russian Dogs Ride the Subway

This is necessarily about my life in Jordan, but I saw it on Colbert report and thought everyone should know about. Apparently, there are stray dogs in Moscow that somehow learned to use the subway system. They ride it every morning to the middle of the city where there is more food, and then take it back every night to where they live. WHAT?!?

ACCORDING TO A RUSSIAN BIOLOGY PROFESSOR: “They do not just go to the subway station, they actually board the trains. They seem to have learnt how long they need to stay on the train to leave at the right station. Sometimes they fall asleep and miss their stop. Then they get off take another train back to the centre.”

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