Friday, August 25, 2006


I was at the bank, talking to the accountant who knows me for more than 2 years.
Her name is Rani (a female name in India)

As she was checking my account she asked ,"Do do you have a green card now"
I replied ,"No, won't get it for a few years, probably never"
Rani , "Oh, so you'll never become a citizen?"
I said , "Don't think so."
Rani, "Does Israel allow dual citizinships?"
I was a bit surprised by the question.
"I don't know" I replied.

Rani after a pause..... "so how's your family doing in Israel?"
I said, "I'm actually from Jordan"
Rani, "Oh really, I always thought you were from Israel"

Two years ago ago in Miami, I was chatting with 2 young people in the street.

The girl asked ,"You have an accent , where are you from?"
"Is that Israel?"

She kept staring at me looking for more than a one-word answer.

I said, "It's close to Israel, very close"
"So it's Israel, it's almost Israel" and she started screaming in joy
"Jordan is actually a totally different country"
"But it's too close to Israel, it's almost Israel, it's where Jesus lived" and she started jumping.

She was very excited as if she has won the lottery, and I didn't want to spoil it, so I smiled and left, and she kept jumping in joy.


Last Christmas I received an email from a co-worker asking me to switch shifts.

He mentioned "I assumed that you don't celebrate Christmas so is it Ok if you do my shift on Christmas Eve?"

I replied ,"Actually I'm Chrisitan and I do celebrate Christmas, sorry!"

He called me saying, " are you kidding me? Jews don't celebrate Christmas"

And Probably all Jordanians in America had this situation at least once...

"Where are you from"
"Oh, your accent doesn't tell that"

I spent a few seconds thinking of what the accent of a Jordanian in America should sound like

then he added ,"my cousin lives in Augusta"

I kept trying to find the missing link, the connection between all of that, until he added, "Where from Georgia are you?

"Oh, I meant Jordan, I'm from Jordan"

"Ohhhhhh Jordan, cool, is that in Michigan?"

Neigbor talking to me ,"dude are you Mexican?"
"No, Jordanian"
"Umm, where is that?"
"The Middle East"
"Mid-East.... so is that Pennsylvania?"


I have to amdit that when I was in the Us before 9/11 very few Americans knew anything about Jordan, but now the majority of them knows that Jordan is at least a country, but you'll always have a few funny encounters from time to time.


Brian Ulrich said...

Before I went to Jordan in 2001, I stayed at a college friend's house, and his mother told someone over the phone that Jordan was part of Israel.

It's not just the Middle East. A woman I worked with thought Italy was part of France when I was going there.

Hareega said...

thanx Brian for visiting, all the Packers fans are welcomed here ;)

Was your friend's mother an Arab?

Brian Ulrich said...

No...but you have to remember, many Americans have only a vague idea of Canada.

Me said...

why should we expect the average Americans to know where Jordan is? they do not will not add any value to their knowledge or their minds. but i have to say, this was a funny/sad post in a way. thanks

ساري said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ساري said...

This reminds me of a similar incident that happened to me last month.
I was on a euro-trip to paris-London with my brother Hashem.
While in London, we entered a shop that sells tickets for musicals. I was discussing with my brother -in Arabic- which musical we should watch. After deciding, I turned to the English man and asked for 2 tickets for "les miserables".
While he was issuing them, he looked at me and said: "so, you're from Israel?"
I was stunned and fired back: "No, I'm from Jordan".
He replied:
"Ah Jordan, so you're next door to Israel".
And my -angry- reply was:
"NO, actually it's next door to PALESTINE".
He said:"OH.."
then there was a long.. really long period of silence with my brother smiling to me and whispering : "Well done!"

Abu Shreek said...

My friend Murad told me this one:
Friendly Native Texan: So where are you from?
Murad: Palestine.
FNT: Ohh Pakistan.
Murad : No No , Palestine.
FNT: Palestine… Pakistan I guess its all the same
Murad (irritated): Actually there is a huge difference. I am from Palestine.
FNT turned around and walked away….

Mala2e6 said...

I've noticed that most americans are not that educated about many international or even national issues ,I saw a tv interview once ,a man was asked who is the president of USA and he said:goerge washington"

Anonymous said...


My friend and I @ Universal Studios, Orlando talking to a gift shop clerk..

GSC: So where r u guys from?
Friend: Im from Egypt, he's from Jordan...
GSC: Oh cool, so you live in mud houses, around the pyramids???
Friend: heh no...we're 70 million - not enough space
GSC: (Naiively) Oh poor people..not everybody gets the luxury of a mud house in Egypt!!

Anonymous said...

On a trip to frankfurt a couple of years ago,the receptionist at the Sheraton was pretty pleasant and chatty.First day she recommended a few places to visit amnog which was the Jewish history museum.Since she recommended a few other places we really did not really think about this.When the next day she asked how our sightseeing went and recommended it again,and again and again,I realized she thought we were from Israel.We had to explain after she offered her sympathy for the holocaust and jewish suffering .

Omar said...

the other day I stumbled across an ad urging me to visit the amazing city of Petra in Israel !!

PALFORCE said...

Living in Alabama, this is what I get for the past 20 years.

AL: Where y'all from?
Me: I'm Palestinian.
AL: Oh Pakistian?
Me: yes Pakistan!


Anonymous said...

its why no one cares that america's in iraq, they think iraq is a rebellious town in south dakota.

Anonymous said...

- So where are you from
- Jordan
- West Jordan? (around Salt Lake City)
- No, South Jordan (also around SLC)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great laugh. Please, let me appologize for American's geographical ignorance. (Actually, Jordan is in Michigan, there's a town called "East Jordan", which is where my great-grandfather is from.)

Anonymous said...

Very funny. I don't get too much of it though, but I probably start carrying a map around to educate people.

But I gotta say Rebecca, I've lived in Michigan for 30 years and didn't know there was an East Jordan. Well ok, I may have heard of it once or twice but I forgot! What's the population, < 300? And you do know there's a Hell, MI dontcha?

Anonymous said...

The space shutttle that carried the first "israeli" astronaut broke up over the town of (palestine,texas) (pronounced palesteen). I drove over there and now I have a street sign that reads (palestine 15 miles) hanging in my room.

(Tealover) said...

That was a funny/sad post as Summer said ..
Why would the avarage Amirecan know about middle east more than that we still live in tents/ mud houses As Anonymous. said. after all Hollywood gave a great effort to plant this idea in the American's minds, & i don't think I am way too far from right , when i assume that most americans gained such knowladge about ME from it .

Anonymous said...

"palestine 15 miles"

the total amount of unoccupied land. oh the irony.

Anonymous said...

i was chatting guy from Colombia i said i am from Jordan,he replied:oh,where you tied woman by ropes on thier faces?!!

Anonymous said...

I hated when they said from israel. y3ni israel a small country which is not for her anyway more famous than Jordan !!
ishi be'3zi!
then iam sure mistake in USA schools...

Anonymous said...

That is really so funny man… try to hang a flag next time you go out, and a t-shirt ‎that says: I (heart) Jordan with a map on it

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. Very sad commentary on the mentality of Americans, but at least they are friendly enough to ask you, yeh? when people ask us, we tell them Jordan is between Iraq and a hard place".

I bet it wouldn't happen so much now that HRH Queen Rania has been on Larry King and Oprah. More people emailed us after that than any other news event Jordan was in. Kinda sad thing though, that their opinion of Jordan goes up because we have a beautiful Queen when there is so much beauty here.Hhmm.

Moey said...

hahahaha kinzi, owned

Anonymous said...

sorry I couldn't check replies until today..

summer, when americans realize that whatever is happening in Iraq and the entire Middle East is affecting their own daily lives and the threat on their families and financial situation, they'll start caring.

sary... yep many similar stories

Abu-Shreek, that Texan cannot remember the names of more than one place starting with the same letter, probably he never heard of Tennessee

mala2e6, LOL i wish it was him

anonymous... u reminded me of an old lady who thought we eat cats and dogs. Maybe i should tell her i eat them everyday in my mud house next to the pyramid

salam, germans get very defensive when it comes to the Jews. You should have told her you were a Jew maybe she would have given you a discount.

omar... maybe you should read the ads urging you to eat the delicious israeli falafel and humus

Palforce... yep same thing all the time

nas... totally agree, americans don't realize the price they're paying for the war in iraq and for their government's support of israel.

jameed. if you're in an area where people are very conservative then it could be south jordan, utah or the real south jordan

Rebecca, so is your grandfather an Israeli? ;)

Luai... i haven't tried the map yet, good thought.

tealover, it's amazing how even the smart and well-educated Americans still don't relaize what the true ME is. Sometimes it triggers my thought of conspiracy theories that it's intentional they stay ignorant about it.

red rose, when it comes to latin america don't expect them to know much about us. To most latinos i encounter, i am a filthy rich womenizers with hundreds of camels.

wedad what did u think of US schools?

hani... i'm afraid people will still say "nice to have Israel's flag on your shirt"

kinzi, i totally agree that Americans are nice and sociable and are usually interested in learning more about different countries and cultures. I think HM Queen Noor made some influence especially that she is American herself and she lives most of the time in the US now.

Anonymous said...

they should concentrate little on their education about such stuff :)

Fadi said...

very funny!
bs man at least u encounter such situations in the staes..
I often hear people saying to me:
"at first we thought u'r israeli"
"if u'd go to Israel they wont recognize u'r not one of them"
"You really look like the ones we see aound their embassy in Rabieh" (Jesus! I even live there..I'm really starting to worry about my safety ;D)

the funniest thing happened when a british guy wanted to tell a joke about Jews and then he suddenly stopped to ask me :
"u'r not jew..are you?"
(BTW my nose isn't that big ;P)

Anonymous said...

looooool whats with isreal and jews? inno how did that come up 2 their mind?
lol 3adi once i've been asked wheer r u from? jordan, where is that? middle east. where is teh middle east??!!
but its ok if ur in the US. i read an article about a geographic survey, very very interesting what americans know, or think they know.

Rami said...

i had a good laugh reading this...

people here are like.. yes, i know where jordan is.. its in africa!then again, all non-glowing whites here are considered black..

Anonymous said...

fadi and lammoush thanx for your stories! it's funny everywhwere

Rami at least Sweden doesn't have hundreds of thousand of troops in the Middlea East I don't blame them much if they don't know about it

Anonymous said...

I was in Tucson and some one asked me where Jordan was ! ... I just continued my lunch and said it was like 60 miles north of Phoenix. He smiled and told me that he has once been there ! I just grinned and nodded !