Monday, November 28, 2011

Week Fifty One. One day at a time.

The following post covers two subjects: The Weather and, to a lesser extent, how I feel about pre-Christmas in Jordan.
You might want to skip this post due to its lack of excitement. I don't want you to fall asleep over this.
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Can you believe yesterday was the first advent?
Another five weeks and this year is over. I find this thought rather scary.
It makes me a little sad.
2011 has been a good year, more or less.
It's been over so fast.
It wasn't supposed to be like that.

Being in Jordan for the first time during Advent (do English natives refer to the four Sundays before Christmas to Advent or is that a German/European thing?!) makes me feel very out of place and not only because this is a majorly Muslim country.
There are Christians (around 6 per cent?!) and they have their shops with Christmas trees and decorations.
There are advertisements all over town for Holiday specials although, last time I checked, the big Islamic holidays everybody could be shopping for are behind us. They must refer to Christmas.

We have nothing in the house that is remotely Christmas-sy (except for our maid who keeps saying "When this month is done, then it's December, then Christmas and then Happy New Year!" (she is Sri Lankan and therefore Buddhist so I really don't know why she is so obsessed with New Years Eve.). We have no string lights, no wreaths at the door, no calendars counting down the days, no mantle pieces and no Advent wreath with four candles.
(We might have a gingerbread house later this week but only if I actually get around to do it and can muster the patience to tolerate both my stepchildren in my kitchen at the same time.)

Before I moved here I always had string lights on my windows, baked some sort of Christmas cookie(s) and no matter how broke I was, single or in a relationship, I had an Advent wreath. I loved this weekly ritual of lighting a new candle.

It's difficult to get into the right feeling for Christmas in a country that feels one month behind, weather wise. For me, with my middle European origin, October is the golden month. The light is amazingly beautiful, the leaves change color and the temperatures, if we're lucky, are getting lower but still give some warmth. While November is, traditionally, grey and dark with barely any sunshine. In Berlin, November is usually annoyingly wet, cold and windy and altogether rather unpleasant (which is why, newcomers to the city who rave about the city in summer are always invited to come back in November and say, if they like it just as much as November and Berlin is rather tough love). In good years, Decembers are amazing in Berlin. Blue skies, some clouds, cold but bearable thanks to the sun and maybe even dusted in snow.
I am a little obsessed with the weather and seasons in general, I know.

Jordan is, weather wise, a little like the movie Groundhog Day - every day is the same. True, the temperatures have been dropping and it did rain a while ago but most days are more of the same: sunshine and barely a cloud in the sky. Most of the year, Jordan has this almost blinding and relentless sunshine. For the past weeks the light has softened and it has felt increasingly autumnally.
But this is my trouble: my inner clock is not in fall mode anymore.

I wake up every morning hoping the sky is overcast and it's raining to justify not only staring at cookie recipes but actually bake cookies. I will take some to my parents for Christmas not matter what even if the weather is not cooperating to get me into the pre-Christmas mood.

{Fifty one down, one more to go.}

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