You know you live in Jordan, when....

7 random fact about Jordan

Slowly but surely, after 1,5 years, we are understanding life in Jordan better and deeper :) Some mysteries could be solved and cultural questions answered. We feel so so so homely in Amman and adapted to to the new culture, took over Jordanian habits and in some ways also the lifestyle. I would like to share 7 things, that still make us smile...And I ask you to read this article also with a smile, and do not take it too serious :) Tamam?


7 things, you only know when you live in Jordan....

1. You know you live in Jordan, when you finally understood all meanings of the word "Inshallah".

Literally "Inshallah" means "with God´s will"...In Jordan, this word is very helpful and has much more meanings. My analysis and observations continues to understand the logic and the connotation in each situation better, to fully grasps which meaning is used now. :)))))) So far it became clear that Inshallah also means:

  • yes
  • no
  • I don´t want to
  • I will try
  • I´ll promise
  • I don´t think so
  • It will never happen!
  • I tell you "yes", but I mean "no".

2. Kindergarden is preschool and nursery is kindergarden


So, this point made my life complicated for a month. When I didn´t know where I have to sign Johanna up for. And I got so confused with the terms, because apparently we in Germany use the words in a completly different way than Jordanians. In Jordan your child

  • goes to nursery up to 2 years
  • goes to preschool up to 4 years
  • goes to kindergarden (KG) up to 6 years
  • goes to school from 6 years onwards

Now, that´s not all: Kindergarden is considered as part of school already, where kids actually learn maths, reading and writing. Some centers just offer exclusively nursery child-care and then you need to change again. Other centers offer everything from nursery to the first years of school.


And why I was confused in the beginning is easier to understand if you compare the German wording for the same age-groups: Kindergarden, pre-school, school.

Start or Preschool with one of her friends
Start or Preschool with one of her friends

3. Turn indicators in traffic are used innovatively


Well, you use your left indicator before turning left and your right one before turning right? You won´t survive in Jordan! Let me share how it works here.


  • In a roundabout: You use your left indicator to stay in the circle and you use the right one to leave it
  • While driving: You use your left indicator to tell the car behind you to overtake
  • Before turning left or right: You (mostly) do not use any indicator
  • While driving wrong-way on the highway: use both indicators


4. You cannot order a ´normal´ coffee


In Germany, a "normal" coffee is widely known and means simply a black coffee without sugar or milk. In Jordan, there are just too many variations of coffee and none of them refers to "normal". The main choice you have to make: Is Turkish or Bedouin coffee and then you specify if with/without sugar and milk.

5. When you hear Beethoven´s "Für Elise"


...you can either buy a new gas bottle from a truck or have your old electronic devices and metal picked up :)

This melody, seriously, it doesn´t go out of your mind anymore. It´s loud and it´s everywhere at any time ;) In the office, we even hear it with closed windows.

6. Sidewalks are made for trees, not for walking


Interesting fact: each owner of houses are responsible for the sidewalks in front of the house. As a consequence, sidewalks are not even, and mostly people extend their garden by planting trees and bushes and palm trees. Walking with a stroller on sidewalks in Amman? No chance.

Easiest way is to walk on the street
Easiest way is to walk on the street

7. When you fight for the bill


Paying the bill in Jordan: science!


When you go out with Jordanians, they want to pay the bill. But it is a competition. You cant just accept the invitation. In order to follow the local custom, you will be very creative in trying to pay the bill too. For instance, paying it while saying you go to the bathroom....But then your friends will be very creative too and the discussion for payment can take some time.....Splitting the bill is rarely accepted. Women, who join the dinner without male company, are excluded from this culture: They are always invited.

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