It’s been about two and a half weeks since I arrived here in Amman. I had planned to start blogging immediately, but we just got internet in our apartment for the first time yesterday! It’s been a long, unplugged wait and I’ve realized my total dependence on an internet connection. I did get access at school and church, enough to email and chat with family, but I realized how much more I can get done at home when I’m not online! Hopefully I’ll keep that in mind as I head into a week facing homework AND unlimited internet access…
Needless to say, quite a lot has happened since I got here! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. But might as well start from the beginning! We kicked off my trip to Jordan with an awesome going-away party. This was a combined effort in trickery and manipulation to keep me in the dark and out of the house so my awesome friends and family could pull off this great surprise. Credit goes to my sister Kelli and good friend Matt B for pulling it all together and to everyone else for some ingenious sneakiness. Also, I’m told that the process of making this cake was a seven-hour battle of wits and endurance carried out by Kelli, Matty B, Sister Blakemore, and sort of Conor. Obviously, the result was well worth the effort. Thanks guys 🙂 The party was such a fun surprise, and it felt so good to see everyone a last time before going. You’re all the best!
So I flew out on Monday, August 29, dressed in baggy clothes appropriate for our program dress code. I probably looked like a hobo. My flight left Seattle headed for Amsterdam, where I would make my first ever landing in a foreign country! It was interesting to watch the sun set and rise all within my 9-hour flight. I had the window next to me closed from the beginning so I could watch movies without a glare, and it wasn’t until sometime between my second and third movie that I opened the window again. The view was awesome! I could see the sun just beginning to rise on the horizon over Greenland. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was right then that I got a real shock of excitement over traveling. I listened to music and just watched the sun rise over Greenland and the North Sea.
Later I landed in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport and waited for my Royal Jordanian connection to Amman. I spent several hours wandering around the airport just listening to people talk and trying to guess what language they were speaking. I bought some European chocolate, of course. And I really wished I could go explore Amsterdam! It looks like a really amazing city from the air. It’s definitely on my Europe travel list. Then I boarded my flight and slept for the entire five-hour trip to Amman. I did manage to wake up just in time to catch this first sight of the Middle East, somewhere on the west coast of Israel. I found it really exciting that after all the time I’ve spent studying and talking about the Middle East, I was finally seeing it with my own eyes. From here it was only about 30 minutes until my landing in the Amman airport. This airport is extremely small… at least what I saw of it looked like the Tacoma Narrows airport. From there we were taken in cars to our apartments, just as the sun was setting. For the hour drive I was constantly looking out the window, noticing all kinds of new things. It’s not really comparable to anywhere I’ve ever been, but the kid riding with me said that it looked a lot like some places in California. Desert, palm trees, scrubby bushes (before we got into the city), LOTS of trash everywhere, hazy atmosphere. As soon as the sun sets here a really nice breeze starts up and it’s nice and cool… not even nearly as hot as Utah was in July this last summer.
Anyway, I got to my apartment and loved it immediately. It’s huge! I’m planning on posting more about it later with pictures, but just for quick description’s sake, it’s the biggest apartment I’ve ever lived in. We’re on the top floor of a building in a pretty nice neighborhood full of buildings that look mostly the same. We’ve got a great view from all our windows and a lot more square footage than I’m used to in an apartment. I’m rooming with four of the coolest girls in our program, and we’ve had some adventures discovering and trying to solve all kinds of problems with our new apartment, but it’s been fun. More to come on the apartment.
In arriving to Jordan I’ve learned all kinds of new things about myself and the things I didn’t realize I was dependent on in the US, like a limitless supply of running, drinkable water. There are all kinds of new things to get used to because everything is different – transportation, everyday interactions with strangers, buying groceries, etc. Culture plays such a huge role in how we conduct our everyday activities, and in a completely new culture everything has changed. I hope to shed some light on those differences and how I’m doing as I work on getting used to them in my coming posts. But for now, I’m off, so everyone have a great Friday! Love and miss y’all!