Today, in downtown Amman, we visited The Roman Amphitheater. What I thought would be a typical, albeit beautiful, visit turned into an afternoon with friends. But you thought I didn’t know anyone in Jordan, right? Well, I really didn’t but four local girls sat and chatted with me as if they’d known me my entire life.
If you do know me, and I mean truly know me, you’d know that I’m rather shy and meeting new people causes me distress. I ramble because I don’t know what to say; I shy away from first introductions; I say stupid things; and I assume that I’m not going to meet new people because I find it so difficult to put myself out there, which continues the vicious cycle. As a child, like every child, it was easy to meet new friends. Walk over to the park, sit on a swing, and start talking – you’ve just made a friend for life. Now, though, all that courage is gone. What I’m left with is awkwardness.
I entered the theater and thought about what it would be like to perform on that stage before thousands. That’s so much easier than creating conversation with people you first meet. You usually have prepared lines or a speech or something cleaver to say or else you wouldn’t be standing there. I welcomed the thought of being part of a Shakespearean play and I ran through all of the lines I could remember from theater classes.
After my imaginary performance, I made my way up to the steps and sat down for a different perspective. Four girls were sitting a few rows behind me and I politely said hello. All four of them returned my hello and smiled simultaneously. There was something about the way they looked at me that made me feel like a child on a the swings again. It was comfortable, easy. I got up from my seat and approached them. The middle girl made a gesture for me to sit down and before I knew it, we were immersed in conversation like old school friends.
I didn’t second guess my words or worry if I had just said something stupid. I relaxed. We talked about school, work, life, family, dress, and even culture. I was given some great recommendations for places to visit and things to do.
When it was time to leave, I gave them my email address and we said we’d stay in touch. Normally I’d assume that it was just talk and it would end there, but Jordanians are so beautiful, inside and out, that I truly believe that I will hear from them again.
I’ll keep you posted!