Study Abroad 2016 Weeks Ten through Fourteen!

It turns out that I got very far behind on these posts, and it all stacked up until now. Rather than go back and try and sort out events into individual weeks, I figured I’d keep it simple for myself this time and just share some of the highlights of the last few weeks. SO, starting from late October, here’s what we’ve been up to!


No, not the table variety. before Amman became the most populous and central city of Jordan, a relatively small mountain city named Salt was originally the capital of Jordan (though only for a short time). The first Emir of Trans-Jordan, Abdullah, wanted to set up his government in Salt, but after a schism with some local leaders he decided on Amman instead. It’s a good thing, because Amman had a lot more space in which to grow! Salt is fairly unspectacular in general, but I always loving visiting it because it has some beautiful Ottoman-era buildings, a small-city culture, and a really good roasted chicken restaurant on the main street!

date night

Joy and I have been fortunate to have a few students babysit our kids from time to time here in Jordan. We try and arrange it so that they aren’t missing out on a particularly good speaking opportunity, but they are always willing no matter what. The kids have always loved being babysat (i.e., they are over-tired of us), and we got to enjoy a great date night out on the town this time. We went to a concert of an American band that was doing a cultural exchange with local musicians through the U.S. Embassy in Amman, which ended up blending their modern Spanish sound with a classical Arabic feel. Cool! Then we topped that with some Arab ice-cream at Bakdash. If you haven’t heard their story, take a look here.


While Amman and everything southeast of it is very dry and desert-like, the northwestern parts are actually quite beautiful, especially once the rains come in the Winter. Ajloun sits up in the hills of northwest Jordan and is home to olive orchards, olive oil presses, a forest preserve, and a castle built by Saladin forever ago to protect against crusader incursions.

life with toddlers

The last few weeks have been rough on our two youngest. Gideon has started potty-training, and as a reward for going poo in the potty (!) Joy decided to go get ice cream with the kids while I was at work. They initially walked to a store just a couple blocks from our apartment, but they didn’t have any. On the way to another nearby store, Gideon  took a nasty tumble downhill onto the sidewalk. The effect was pretty gnarly for a while! Mayra’s story is equally sad. We took a large tour bus as a group to a local expat member’s house for a big Thanksgiving meal, and as we arrived and started to file off the bus, Mayra tumbled off of a step and whacked her face on the foot of another seat. Ouch! Fortunately, these guys heal quickly, and their faces have almost fully recovered already.

winter is here

It has been getting cooooold here in Jordan. We have broken out the space heaters, long underwear, and jackets at last, and now we’re wishing for the heat of Summer again. Our house is spacious, which is great during the summer for air flow, but the cold tile floors and the tall ceilings make it hard to heat! We spent a lot of time closing doors to extra rooms and playing around space heaters. The kids are smart enough not to get burned, even Mayra, thank heaven.



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