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Doubts - Is moving to Jordan something that you regret?

Was your move to Jordan a sure thing, or was it accompanied by doubts?

How do you see it now, what makes you stay even when you would rather leave?

Or has it become your home sweet home ?

To be honest, before I moved I had very few doubts. The first few months were great. Everything was new and an adventure. But as the weeks flew by the newness wore off and reality set in. It's hard to live here. Salaries are so low and things are expensive. I worry about the future as its impossible to save anything when rent takes most of your salary and the rest is barely enough for food.  Coming from the US where I didn't have a huge salary but was still able to put some away in my retirement account this worries me. My father died last year and now my mother is sick and I wish I could be there for her and see her instead of her sitting alone in a nursing home. It kills me. I've gone back and forth a few times but plane tickets are not cheap. I'm also extremely lonely he re at times. There aren't the social activities here in abundance to meet new people.  I moved several times in the USA and never had trouble making friends.  Here other than my husbands family I have zero friends. I miss having girlfriends i can truly vent to. I miss in the USA how we had neighborhood BBQS and game nights and the like. I couldnt pick my neighbors out of a line up now if i tried. I miss going out to dinner with other couples.  I don't think Jordan is a bad place. There are beautiful places and the people are nice. It's just hard for me to find my niche. I feel like the quality of my social life and career possibilities are limited here. I do have a wonderful family here which is more important than a job and stuff and I am so thankful for them. Do I regret moving here?  No. But if my husband would agree to moving to the USA I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Yes, true. Making friends is difficult and is also depending on the area where you live.
Social life is family and I'm not keen to be in touch with short period expats who have most of the time a different view about friendship, it's so hollow.
Fluency in Arabic is a must if you want Arabic friends as they don't speak English at all or very bad.

@kip98
How come you didnt know about the difficulty of life here when being married to a local?

I can answer that easily: you will know how it is when you actually live in the country. Knowing is totally different than experiencing.

:/

@primadonna
Why is knowing that salaries are low and life expensive different from experiencing? Why experiencing when knowing? I would be greatful if somebody tells me so I wouldnt have to experience! I guess there are other reasons...

You refer to low salary and expensive life(style)??? :unsure


Ah, there you go. With all my respect to everyone, low salary doesn't necessarily  mean you have to be unhappy. It's the lifestyle you're after which you can't afford.

You can read as much as you want about an country, it's economy, people, traditions, culture and so on but to know how it really is you have to experience it. Not visiting as a tourist or short term in a fancy area but to live as a local.

But here we are talking about knowing, not reading. We are not talking about tourists or foreigners who need to experience first whether true, but as kip had stated locals who should know daily life since living here.

I just left Jordan after many years living there happily. I didn't have a family there as we were both expats.  The pull back to the UK comes from family ..... A new grandson and ageing parents.

I understand how difficult it can be for expats on low incomes but the country is immensely beautiful and so are it's people. For me the major problem was getting out and about in the heat and a tendency to take little exercise in the summer but right now the weather in the UK is like winter so want to stay in the warm!!!

I can sincerely say Jordan is a little gem .... Long may it remain so

Very well said, Primadonna-
I have lived in the Middle East a number of years and it never ceases to amaze me how many people have opinions about places they have never been or only seen through the eyes of a very expensive week's vacation-

I didn't say I didn't KNOW that salaries were low before I moved here, I did, and it's not just that issue. THere's so much more that you don't realize before you move here, and even if you think you know what you are getting into, living it everday for the rest of your life is different than someone telling you about it. I didn't say that Jordan isn't a beautiful country and that most of the people aren't wonderful, they are.  But it's not all wonderful all the time. And you can't plan for things like parents dying and getting sick and having to make many trips back and forth because you're the only child.

And pretty much everything I said could pertain to living anywhere abroad. Though, when I lived elsewhere abroad unlike here, I lived with other expats and I think that makes for a different experience (some good, some bad)

You're so right. I thought I was very well prepared before moving until the settlement. Than the real life starts. Unexpected situations, events you never heard before it's coming on your way, sooner or later.
Some good, some bad.

@JO/EU: most of the time you know something about something is to read about it. It's been called knowledge. But to experience the knowledge you have to be there to FEEL how it's like.

To answer the question :

Do I regret?
With my ten years living here I can truly say that Jordan is indeed a gem in all its aspects but it's not perfect. Just like any other country.  Everyone who knows me better on this forum and in my social circle, knows I have a love /hate relationship with Jordan. Even when I decide to go back or move forward, I know for sure I'm going to miss it. There are some strings attached that keeps me here.

Did I had doubts?
The hell I had but I kept telling myself that the first two years it can be difficult and this was the time I'll give my self to adjust.
Even now and then I ask my self what I am doing here. I considered this as a life adventure that I couldn't miss.

From your posts I understood that you are married to a local and I assume with a wonderful family you ment his who should be able to give both of you all the info you need in order to make a right decision when expatriating. Many times this subject has been brought forward on this page and everyone is just giving a opinion. Ofcourse everybodies experience is different, some good others less or even bad. You should consider nothing personel as we all dont know who is writing and why. What tastes good to you could be different to others. Some find people wonderful others dont. Keep in mind everything written on the web is being monitored, reason enough for some just to praise which could be the reason for others not to enjoy their stay due to incorrect info. On the other hand one can be as lucky to meet only great people and great everything. The country itself with its nature despite of its small size is definitely amazing...

To be honest  to be married with a local can be a big problem.
Living in the western world before coming to the middle east can be a trigger as the men mostly changes in a negative way.

I know for sure that if I was not married with a Jordanian and I decide to live here, my life and thus my experiences, will be the opposite of the life that I have now.

Primadonna you so get it; I'd hug you right now if i could. I think living in Jordan as an expat and trying to live as a Jordanian so to speak as an expat are two different worlds.  They both have their ups and downs, just different experiences.

Kip98 :

Primadonna you so get it; I'd hug you right now if i could. I think living in Jordan as an expat and trying to live as a Jordanian so to speak as an expat are two different worlds.  They both have their ups and downs, just different experiences.

:par:
I'll give you a virtual one.

Hi,

Thought I'd add my two cents. I'm British, been living here for 2 years and I personally love the place. I haven't really had the experience of some other commenters; I find making friends here very easy, and my social circle is much bigger and more active than it was back in the UK. The actual activities on offer can be a bit limited, but in my experience, Jordanians from Amman are outgoing, quick to socialise, and quick to invite you to places. If you're prepared to leave the capital, there's loads and loads to see and do. Arabic is not a must in plenty of social circles (both wealthy and working class) and I almost always speak English to my friends... I don'y know many expats here.

Finding a job here can be difficult but not impossible, and I'm extremely lucky to have a decent salary (it would be extremely low by UK standards but its fine for here). Most western luxuries are off-limits but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying life. Forget the car, its a waste of money when taxis are so cheap.

There are plenty of problems that would stop me recommending Jordan to some friends and family however. Western women could find Jordan challenging, as some attitudes to women are medieval and men on the street can be unbelievably rude to my girlfriend. This does affect her desire to want to travel the streets on her own, which has obviously changed our lifestyle quite a bit. Having said that, she is adamant she wants to stay for another year so it obviously hasn't been a dealbreaker for her.

Do what youre doing, read up and go in with open eyes. I hope you enjoy it!

Primadonna that isn't true, I have met a lot of Jordanians that speak English fluently. English has been taught in schools here for years. My husband speaks perfect English and is very fluent, in fact he sounds better then me and I am British.  Not everyone speaks English, but I don't think that expats really have to speak fluent Arabic to be able to socialize or make friends.  Even HRH King Abdullah is half British.

Sometimes depending on the area you are living or visiting, language can be a little more challenging, although this could be where a bit of language exchange can be fun.

Primadonna :

Yes, true. Making friends is difficult and is also depending on the area where you live.
Social life is family and I'm not keen to be in touch with short period expats who have most of the time a different view about friendship, it's so hollow.
Fluency in Arabic is a must if you want Arabic friends as they don't speak English at all or very bad.

Why do you say that you are not interested in "short term expats"? Is there something wrong with them?

I find that whether people have moved here for the rest of their lives or are just here for a week makes no difference, If we spent our lives being so choosy then we would all be very lonely.

Also calling people hollow just because you find they have a different view about friendship to yours is rather a childish statement to make.

Expats in Jordan are certainly not required to speak fluent Arabic to be able to communicate with non Arabs. Most Jordanians cam and do speak English very well , it is  their 2nd language and is taught in most schools.  Do a bit of research, there is quite a lot of Arabic members on here from Jordan that are communicating with us using English too   :cool:

Primadonna :

To be honest  to be married with a local can be a big problem.
Living in the western world before coming to the middle east can be a trigger as the men mostly changes in a negative way.

I know for sure that if I was not married with a Jordanian and I decide to live here, my life and thus my experiences, will be the opposite of the life that I have now.

Just wondering why being married to a local man could be a problem? in what way. share your experience with us.

I'm Married to a local man and feel the opposite, We share our cultures, I never expect him to live my way of life and he never expects me to live by his. I find this works great for us, but have seen others that have had problems varying from feeling trapped and controlled by their husbands family or just wishing they had never set foot in Jordan for other reasons.

I have now been in Jordan 5 years  and still find that once the novelty of moving here had worn off and the places to visit had ran out, it becomes really  boring. so i'm not going to sugar coat the truth. Besides a few overpriced tourist locations that have little to offer, shops that can double their prices at free will within a matter of hours  dry hot dusty weather during the summer and road infrastructure that has no rules, where people will gladly run you off the road and kill you for a bit of fun then I guess Jordan could be exciting lol.

A lot do speak English fluently and a lot don't. Some do understand english but are shy to speak it back, especially to a native speaker. Some speak no English except "Hello".  This can make for some awkward social situations. There was one time my husband brought me to a neighbors house for a visit with his childhood friend and his friends new wife. I believe she was from a small village and didn't speak any english. As often happens the men sit in one room and the women in another; we kind of sat and looked at each other and smiled for the better part of 2 or 3 hours while our husbands caught up on the last 10 years of their lives in another room lol. Eventually we just watched TV but it was rather awkward.  Usually when we have visits with others there are usually at least a few kids who hang out with us ladies and love to practice their English they are learning in school and aren't shy about speaking it. I love that.  Plus I can practice my arabic and the kids love to play teacher as well. 

While I don't think you have to learn the language to survive here, it immensely helps you become part of the family and the community.  This is why I think for me at least, i feel that I really need to learn arabic.  I think it depends on your situation whether it is a must or not - where you live, why you're  here, are you here permanently, etc.  If I were here under different circumstances, say a two year work assignment or something, I wouldn't see it as a necessity for living or a social life.

Just my two cents....

As far as being married to a local, I don't think it is a "problem" it just makes your experience here different than say someone who is single and here for work or study or someone married to another expat. Especially I think with your "social life".  If I put on a little black dress and said to my husband hey its the weekend I want to go to out dancing he'd take me to have my head examined (after changing my clothes of course lol).  Not that all are the same but that's just my experience. We don't have dinner dates, BBQS, birthday parties with neighbors, friends, and other couples like we do in the west. I think if I was married to an expat and had a lot of expat friends we would probably do those things here.  Here, those things are mainly restricted (maybe expected or accepted is a better word) to doing with just family members. At least in my family. Of course I know all families are not the same.

Not that I'm forced to do anything, in my situation it's just expected to conform to certain social norms. Like here, I am not going to go out jogging alone in my neighborhood. I've only seen one man jogging in this neighborhood in the last year and a half.  I love running so as a solution my husband got us a treadmill.   Last time we were in the USA for two months we had plenty of outings with friends and couples and I went running all the time outside alone. When we are together in the USA my husband conforms to what's generally accepted there, so it's a mutual thing with each other.  Of course we each have boundaries with certain things and we respect those in each other no matter where we are.  I think the "problem" Primadonna is referring to is maybe people aren't as honest about what those boundaries are with each other beforehand whether or not they can accept each other's boundaries.

As we discussed earlier, you really can't understand what it's like to live a certain life until you actually do it.

I won't sugar coat it either.  It's 10 times harder living here than I expected, even though we talked about it for two years before I came and I had come to visit here beforehand.  Mainly boredom, loneliness and loss of independence.  When I say loss of independence, it's not because I'm not allowed to do things independently, it's just I don't know how to accomplish a lot of things here.  I wouldn't have signed a contract completely written in Arabic for an apartment or been able to do things like drivers license, residency permit, etc without my husbands help (and by help I mean him doing virtually everything and me just riding along in the car).  As someone who lived alone and took care of everything myself before getting married this feeling of near helplessness is one of the most difficult things for me.  Like today the drain is backing up from the laundry room into the bathroom and since we don't own any tools we need to call a plumber.  If I was back home I'd first try to snake it myself and if that didn't work I'd call someone to come fix it. Here I just have to wait for my husband to come home and call someone. I just feel nearly useless here sometimes.

Ok I've nearly written a book, I'll stop now. :)

ladyluck13 :

Primadonna that isn't true, I have met a lot of Jordanians that speak English fluently. English has been taught in schools here for years. My husband speaks perfect English and is very fluent, in fact he sounds better then me and I am British.  Not everyone speaks English, but I don't think that expats really have to speak fluent Arabic to be able to socialize or make friends.  Even HRH King Abdullah is half British.

Sometimes depending on the area you are living or visiting, language can be a little more challenging, although this could be where a bit of language exchange can be fun.

As I stated in my previous post, it depends on the area where you live.

In my neighberhood almost no one speaks English and on top of that, the most women lives behind closed doors. That makes it very difficult to build friendships as I hardly see these women. I was many times invited for tea but if you only can stare and smile to each other and struggling with the language than it stays with this only once in a lift time experiences.

In the areas around the circles one to eight is the highest concentration of expats living there.
And in these areas the majority can speaks English. You are a fool if you cant deal with expats as they will go to another who can.  If you go out these areas then you find less people who do speaks English.
Exceptions for those who lives and works in touristic places.
So agree what Kip98 has written: if you are an expat living here for a short time, you don't need to speak Arabic, maybe a few phrases, as the majority of the locals can speak English in the area where the most expats lives. If you have the intention to live here longer, and you are not an expat, than its hardly recommend to learn the language. After all, if you lived back in your home country and a foreigner comes to live next to you on a permanent base, you expect that he speaks your language too after a while.

From the kindergarten til the final year (tawjihi) students gets one hour English on a daily bases. That is 14 years!!!
And yet, most of them aren't able to speak it. Why? They simply not care!
The focus is on the writing and reading skills while the speaking part is underdeveloped.
Something must be very wrong if still the majority of the people aren't being able to speak English, even its the second language.

ladyluck13 :
Primadonna :

To be honest  to be married with a local can be a big problem.
Living in the western world before coming to the middle east can be a trigger as the men mostly changes in a negative way.

I know for sure that if I was not married with a Jordanian and I decide to live here, my life and thus my experiences, will be the opposite of the life that I have now.

Just wondering why being married to a local man could be a problem? in what way. share your experience with us.

Kip98 wrote an excellent post so I have nothing to add.

They used to only take english from 5th grade on, as that is what my husband did in school at least and he's not yet 30, soo it's more of a recent thing starting so young I believe.  I myself took French from 5th grade through two years of college, and now a days I can barely remember it. So I really can't fault them not remembering much english!

ladyluck13 :
Primadonna :

Yes, true. Making friends is difficult and is also depending on the area where you live.
Social life is family and I'm not keen to be in touch with short period expats who have most of the time a different view about friendship, it's so hollow.
Fluency in Arabic is a must if you want Arabic friends as they don't speak English at all or very bad.

Why do you say that you are not interested in "short term expats"? Is there something wrong with them?

I find that whether people have moved here for the rest of their lives or are just here for a week makes no difference, If we spent our lives being so choosy then we would all be very lonely.

Also calling people hollow just because you find they have a different view about friendship to yours is rather a childish statement to make.

Expats in Jordan are certainly not required to speak fluent Arabic to be able to communicate with non Arabs. Most Jordanians cam and do speak English very well , it is  their 2nd language and is taught in most schools.  Do a bit of research, there is quite a lot of Arabic members on here from Jordan that are communicating with us using English too   :cool:

I never said that people are hollow because their views on friendships, its their friendship which they offer, I find it hollow. And not every expat is the same. If you can find someone who are willing to have a coffee with you now and then, to shopping with, dining out or playing tennis together, its fine. But it doesn't go deeper. Most, and I repeat, most of expats lives in areas which others can't afford and build their social network from work and in the area where they live. Heard many times that when you are not in the same area, you live "outside and to far to visit"
Mainly of the expats I spoke too, they told me they are not into deep relationships because they hate to say goodbye and leave a good friend behind. And expats changes places a lot so from their point of view, I can understand. To many times I had the experience: out of sight, out of hard. And when they left, within a short period, you'll will never hear from them again.

Foreigners who are married with a local and planning to live here "permanently" they have most of the time a different lifestyle and views about living  here. They know what it is to struggle sometimes with the daily challenges, they know how it is to live with an Arabic husband, to deal with his family and the list goes on and on. Short term expats have no idea, if you are lucky they can symphathise with you but you feel heard and understand if you can share with those who have been there too. The bad and the good.

Depending on how you definite friendship and what you're looking for, it depends on the person: if you have a click than you go for it. And then it doesn't matter if it is an short term expat or some one who stays "for ever". And that is the most important thing. Every friendship is unique and valuable if you know what to expect.

Kip98 :

They used to only take english from 5th grade on, as that is what my husband did in school at least and he's not yet 30, soo it's more of a recent thing starting so young I believe.  I myself took French from 5th grade through two years of college, and now a days I can barely remember it. So I really can't fault them not remembering much english!

My oldest had the final exam (tawjihi) and she told me that the most students cried because they didn't understand anything on the English exam.
Just saying...

So if it is recently they start to give English from kindergarten, then over say, 25 years, we'll see the differences.

Primadonna :
Kip98 :

They used to only take english from 5th grade on, as that is what my husband did in school at least and he's not yet 30, soo it's more of a recent thing starting so young I believe.  I myself took French from 5th grade through two years of college, and now a days I can barely remember it. So I really can't fault them not remembering much english!

My oldest had the final exam (tawjihi) and she told me that the most students cried because they didn't understand anything on the English exam.
Just saying...

So if it is recently they start to give English from kindergarten, then over say, 25 years, we'll see the differences.

I think here it depends on the students, not on schools or ministry... a lot of people in Jordan are educated and speaking very good English

I totally agree, especially on the independence part, Had to smile when you mentioned visiting your husbands childhool friend and practically sitting there for a couple of hours with his wife just smiling at each other, I've been in that situation and felt really awkward, I don't drive so have to depend on him to take me shopping etc, something that I would have always done by myself back home.

It makes us realize how such small things we took for granted such as the drain backing up, now that is something I would have gladly tried to fix myself in the UK, but no way would I try here, I mean yuk they have bigger critters here that would give me heart attack if one touched me lol so I leave well alone.

I think one of the things I find the most frustrating is that  some things are just not available here and we have to have them shipped to us, our patience can really be put to the test.  Not sure which area you are in, but just thought I'd mention that I've seen quite a few women jogging alone around the 7th circle area near to where Cosmo is. That area seems to be full of expats so I guess they feel more comfortable doing things there that they normally do back home.

I really haven't noticed many critters at all here!  I mean other than all the stray cats and dogs in my neighborhood I haven't seen any furry critters.  it's very rare I even see a bug in my house.  It's surprising too as my neighborhood has a lot of trash around and on the empty lots next to me especially. I guess the cats keep them away.

We only have one car which my husband takes to work so sometimes I don't leave the house for days. It drives me nuts that I can't just run to the grocery when I run out of something.

I've never had anything shipped from the usa. I pretty much can find everything I need here or a substitute, albeit sometimes at a high price.

I have seen people running in West Amman. Unfortunately where I live I am the only expat and it would be scandalous lol.

i moved here 4 years ago with my Jordanian husband, and I had my doubts before moving, I wasn't ready to leave my home, family, friends, pets and a great job in Bay Area. But I did it any ways, hoping for a more relaxed lifestyle. It hit me once I got to Jordan ( what am I doing here) I cried for months..then I got pregnant with my first baby and after her arrival I felt a bit at ease and she is still my distraction. Not a day goes by that i don't miss home.  I also have a love and hate relationship with Jordan.  I just miss the simple things which I was used to:  Waking up and having breakfast with mom, taking my daughter to group activities, dinner and movies with sister and kids or go to gym/ yoga, trail running or hiking or heck even running errands or driving a car. I even miss green grass lol or anything to do with outside and nature.  I chose not to drive here cuz its crazy at least in my opinion. The main issue for me is I live in Irbid which makes it a bit difficult for me than living in Amman. I'm sure living in Amman I would have more of a positive experience.  I feel living here has turned me into an introvert whereas I was very social and outgoing back home. sometimes I feel restless and suffocated..my hubby tries to get us out and about but its just not the same and i cant seem to find my happy place..tho meditation is my number one go to when I feel down. Not much to do in Irbid besides malls and shopping and Hasan Youth Center.

Tho living here has given me the opportunity to raise my child myself, having the experience of stay home mom, picking up hobbies that I couldn't get to when i worked all the time back home. The fresh produce, olives etc and his family especially my father-in law who I absolutely adore!!!!!

Overall my reason to move was for my husband, and as planned we will be moving back home in 10 months!!! wooohooo! I am anxious... I am sorry i sound so negative about my move ( everyone  has their own experiences i guess) but somewhere deep down I know I will MISS Jordan and the down time I had.

Good Luck

Roz

MsKali79 - Don't apologize, everyone in your situation has the same experience. Not everyone is ready to admit it to themselves, or out loud, yet. Jordan is a beautiful country to visit. I am glad you are returning home with your little family, you will appreciate it more than you ever did before.

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