So. It’s been a little over six weeks since I’ve published anything, and while my instinct is to simply dive back in to recent events happening in and around the Jordanian landscape, this is one of those rare moments where I feel a need to recap my hiatus – if only to help me catch up on what’s been going on. It’s kind of like the first day of work after a long vacation. The mental jet lag is so dizzying it needs a moment of review for the sake of one’s sanity. And I’ve actually experienced some re-entry problems when it comes to getting back in to the online game. I am no longer constantly tapping away at my keyboard or refreshing my Twitter app on my iPhone, which I suppose is a good thing in the sense that I know I am physically and mentally capable of quitting without having a seizure.
So. In the past six weeks the following has happened.
First. Yes. The rumors are true. I got married. And yes, to the one and only Mariam, who is, legally-speaking, my favorite Jordanian blogger. The process of getting married in Jordan is a topic that requires several blog posts of several hundred pages length, and can essentially be defined as a journey towards a rapidly receding hairline. The one thing I’ve really learned from this experience, other than the obvious fact of it being incredibly expensive, is that weddings in this country are completely for “other people” – and not for the bride nor groom. This is especially true if you have tribal origins. The process is completely consumed with the fact that this is an event that is designed pretty much to please others. Which is fine I suppose, but someone should put this down in a manual somewhere. Might help a few souls.
Second, some interesting digital accomplishments seem to have taken place while I was away, which I am grateful for. CNN recently listed the Black Iris as one of the top ten must-read blogs in the Middle East. And what better way to live up to that title than to disappear for a month, eh? Also, 7iber ranked third in the global BoB awards amongst the Best Arab Blog category, which was a sweet surprise and I am personally grateful (along with the rest of the team) to everyone who voted for “us”. And I use air quotes here simply because we’ve always felt 7iber belonged to a community rather than to a group of specific names – or at least this is part of our definition of citizen media.
One of my favorite digital accomplishments lately, comes in the form of a Muppet…
Since May kicked off, I’ve been focused on work at 7iberINC and preparing for a boatload of projects that will be keeping nearly every day of the summer season packed. Water visualizations, digital media camps, refugees, storytelling, cameras, and a dash of oral history – not a bad way to spend a summer, locked in creative mode. Meanwhile, at 7iber, things have been colorful. The Hashtag Debates seem to have been generating some useful conversations and I was glad to see HRH Prince Hassan stop by and join a recent debate at the WANA Forum.
Lastly, travels have filled up the empty pixels of recent weeks. Rome, Venice, Amman, Cairo, Amman, Casablanca, Amman. I’ve actually discovered more and more that I’m not crazy about traveling as I once was. The romance of flight has been extinguished. BUT it does offer a breath of fresh air from the Jordanian bubble. There are times one gets so frustrated in this country that they need to get out a bit just to get some perspective; some contrast. And I think anyone who is Jordanian and reading this probably knows that these days, the need to break through the suffocating and take a gulp of fresh air is very, very, needed.