I guess it can be taken as an experiment. What else it can be, when you take Estonian mentality and put it in Jordan and tell “this is your life now”. So, the following will reveal notes and the results of the observation “Estonians in Amman”, which has been carried out in between December 2014 – April 2015.
First of all, let’s observe the unknown (unfortunately) Estonian mentality.
Estonians are considered as very reserved nation, who express only basic emotions in the world (mainly being hunger and tired). Of course, embarrassment may occur as well, but there are only few situations, when this can happen. Either they are running late (meaning: if an Estonian isn’t 10 minutes earlier for the meeting or appointment, they are already late) or they have to ask someone’s help. Two main-known situation, when you can see an Estonian blushing and sobbing quietly (only to lecture themselves for being late or being weak). We considered this to be connected to the old saying of Estonians: “The one, who has more things at the end (when they die), is the winner”.
When it comes to love, they like to keep it simple. When expressing love, an Estonian bunches other Estonian’s arm while saying “I hate you less than others”. This is, of course, performed with absolutely no enthusiasm or emotions. But what else could you expect from a country, where the weather is throughout the year described as “Sh*tty skiing weather” (this is how their summer looks, ha-ha). This probably explains also the well-known fact about Estonians favorite food – another Estonian.
The only way to fully understand Estonians is to go through the website, created only for that purpose – Estonianmoments.ee .
Now, let’s take the Estonian mentality and place it in Middle-East.
During the first weeks, the observed Estonians were constantly confused by the idea of always having time. No matter what, Jordanians always had time for a tea or time to prepare and eat the lunch. This, as observed, caused a lot of confusion. As this is something Estonians are always lacking – time – it is understandable, why it confused our subjects. Yet, it was confusing for the other side of this experiment – Jordanians. Constant rushing and planning, measuring everything 10-times seemed to be a strange idea.
During the experiment, the subjects showed less confusion and more relaxation. To describe the situation, they used words like vacation, pause from life and etc. They also showed some signs of weakened Estonian mentality. It didn’t seem to be an issue anymore, to arrive to the meeting at the exact time as scheduled. The 10-minutes earlier rule seemed to be vanished. Still, after five months in Jordan, they are never late. Even though everyone around them seems to be.
The first more or less shocking moment came with the first experiences with the traffic. As Estonians are probably the best ones in the world to crash their cars (it can be drunk driving as well as stupidity) against other cars, trees or even pedestrians, it was nearly impossible for them to understand the systems of traffic in Jordan. Well, okay, there aren’t any systems or what so ever. Still, after two weeks of, what they called as absolutely insanity, we can say that they adapted the situation and by now … as they said … they even enjoy the traffic. No matter how crazy it seems, you can always cross the street or squeeze your car through the intersection. Of course, after five months they know only one basic rule of traffic in Jordan – in traffic, whatever you want to do and whenever you want to do, just place your hand out of the window and you’ll be good to go. And of course, peep as much as you can. Doesn’t matter if it is needed or not. By the end of our experiment, they have changed their first impression completely. They share their amusement of the safe traffic and no car-accidents and how easy it is to find your way between the cars.
The next field of this experiment is rather sweet!
The subjects of this experiment found it absolutely astonishing, how much sugar you can find in Jordanians’ tea. As they said “you literally drink sugar with tea, not the other way around”. But let’s admit it; it was only a matter of time, when our two Estonians would start to appreciate the sugar in their tea. Of course, you say it’s because they got addicted to sugar, but we say that Jordanian tea is just that good! No questions asked.
The most important part of this experiment was food. After enormous amounts of food, it is agreed that both – Jordanians and Estonians –are absolutely in love with food! The portions of food served in Jordan are the best examples of saying known also in Estonia: you don’t stop eating when your plate is empty or when you don’t have anything left, you stop eating when you hate yourself! And this is an every-day phenomenon in Jordan, as the trays are full of absolutely delicious rice and meat. The biggest success in this area was that the subjects of this experiment started to take time to eat. This is very unusual for an Estonian. They like to have their meals behind the computer, while working for a next huge project. But in Jordan, it has chanced and this can be considered as one of the biggest victories during this experiment.
These are the results of the experiment found during the experiment. We still haven’t finished with the tests, so there are not the final results. Still, to measure the results during the process, we asked our subjects to think if their mentality has chanced somehow. Both of them found some major chances within themselves. Mainly, it was about the time and taking time off. They have noticed that people actually do have time for tea and maybe it is not the best idea to always work and earn money. Even if it might mean that they will not be the winners at the end. Maybe it makes sense from time to time have a break, enjoy yourself and the company of your friends and family with plates full of Maqluba!