Before arriving in Jordan, everyone told me how hospitable and kind Jordanians were. And in the last month or so I’ve really witnessed that from strangers inviting me in to their homes to share meals with their sisters, nephews, uncles, cousins, and brothers to the guy that works at the snack stand at school giving us an extra cup of coffee every so often. Even the multiple Ahlan-wa-sahlan!’s (welcome!) I get on a daily basis make me feel like I’m living in the most welcoming place on earth.
But I witnessed a new level of hospitality and kindness when one of my professors invited us to her brother’s wedding earlier this week. At the beginning of class, she casually mentioned that her brother was getting married that night. And after several rounds of enthusiastic questions from Katrina and I, she invited us to come see for ourselves.
Which is how I found myself in a polka dot dress on the outskirts of a circle of giddy people clapping and drumming and singing around a Russian bride and a Palestinian groom. The girls were dressed in everything from the styles you saw at your senior prom to more modest dresses and hijabs (some girls even broke out their fancy wedding hijabs with sequins on them).
The wedding itself was an interesting mix of cultures. Between the Russian mother-in-law, the first dance as a married couple to a one hit wonder from the 90’s, the sparklers, cutting the cake with a sword, the drumming and singing, and dancing to Arabic music at the end, I almost didn’t know what country I was in. But such is the beauty of bi-racial marriages :)
Of course the part I enjoyed the most was busting out my belly-dance moves on the dance floor with some old friends and new friends after the bride and groom were married and the cake was passed out. Nothing quite beats dancing with strangers who’s smiles are too wide for their faces.
You can follow Elika’s other adventures abroad on her personal blog www.elikaa.blogspot.com.