- Don’t fill up on bread. Drink and appetizers will be out momentarily. This is a pretty standard rule for any country, honestly.
- Don’t fill up on appetizers, even if they look like a full meal. Look around, if you’re the only person going to town on the baba ghanoush and mutabbal, I think it’s safe to say there’s more food coming out.
- Don’t fill up on the entree, because dessert and tea are a must.
- Desserts are sweet. Sweeter than sweet. So sweet, that you can probably skimp out on the sugar in your tea. I promise you won’t need it.
- Try everything, especially if you don’t know what it is.
- Related to that: Learn how to say, “I’m allergic to soy and pistachios” before you chow down. Eating in Jordan is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable event, not a hospital trip.
- If you don’t know how to pour tea without is spilling everywhere, enlist help, I implore you. Don’t be that guy.
- Feel free to just c h i l l. There’s no need to rush through your meal. Chat with your pals and enjoy being there. Get arguileh if you’re into that.
- The garcon will be by with the check. They understand that that is part of their job. There is genuinely no need to yell, “THE CHECK? THE CHECK PLEASE. GARCON, THE CHECK” over and over again.*
*This may or may not be from personal experience.
I just want to sit with you
I like being around you and
I like seeing your teeth
They remind me of jokes
They remind me that I am happy
I want your hand and my hand together
I want to walk with you to class
I want to study with you
And study you
I think that you are really nice
That was dumb, I’m sorry
I don’t want you to think I’m dumb
I just want you to think I like you a lot
As anyone reading this may already know, my name is Kenechukwu. It’s an Igbo name from Nigeria which means “Thanks be to God” as a shortening of the phrase “ekene dili Chukwu.” But even with this truly amazing meaning, I’ve never really liked my name. It was always so difficult for people to pronounce so I have always chosen to simplify.
In order to avoid using Kenechukwu, I hoarded a collection of nicknames. A few gems include: KC, Kaz, Kennie/Keni, Kiwi, Kasia, Chuks. I’ll spare you the more cringe-worthy ones.
In December, I was in the process of getting ready to travel to Jordan. I was making my blog, I was sending my resume out, and I was applying for my University of Jordan student ID. The one question on all of these, naturally, was “What is your name?”
I had to sit on that question for a while.
I’ve never felt that what people referred to me as defined my identity or who I was, because I knew that at the end of the day I was always Kenechukwu. But I did have that nagging feeling that I should be Kenechukwu. It just felt more real.
I figured that I was coming to a country where I knew no one and no one knew me: it the perfect chance to reinvent myself and decide what I wanted to be called. So instead of digging into my arsenal of cute/terrible nicknames for myself, I “settled” on Kenechukwu.
I started to realise how cool my name was when I thought about how unique it is in the States. It hit me even more as I began to hear it on people’s tongues for the first time. People were very casually calling me Kenechukwu with no mispronunciations or hesitations or stutters. We were all getting used to it.
This is just one tiny step towards me becoming the Kenechukwu my mother named me to be.