We have now been in Amman for one week. Here are a few of the highlights:
Our first view of the Jordanian flag at the …
…beautiful Queen Alia International Airport in Amman.
July 28th, the day we arrived was Elizabeth’s 9th birthday.
We barely had time to put down our bags when members of our new branch (Mormon congregation) had a birthday party for Elizabeth. Seriously, how cool is that? We have made fast friends in just the short time we have been here, both from our church group and the embassy community. It has been amazing!
Here is the American Embassy from a distance. We’re not allowed to take photos up close. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it is a beautiful compound. Americans can be proud of our presence in Jordan.
Our apartment is in a four story building …
…on this great little street, in a quiet part of the city. Now when I say quiet, I should probably say that it is quiet during the day. In the evening, the place starts hopping. We’re currently in the midst of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. As you probably know, most of the locals in Jordan are fasting during the day. They only eat between sundown and sunrise. Because of this, things are pretty quiet around town during the day. Many fasters switch their schedules and sleep during the day and are awake and active at night. Consequently, the city becomes a bustling center of activity at night. We hear all sorts of activity throughout the night, including young children playing in the streets.
Also this week, local high school students learned whether or not they passed their exams known as Tawjihi. Students have been partying in the streets, lighting off fireworks and quite often shooting guns into the air. As a result, we have heard a lot of loud bangs throughout the past few nights, not knowing if the sounds were from fireworks or gunshots. Last year, a number of people were hit by stray bullets around the city. As you can guess, we’ve tried to stay inside after dark.
One of the highlights of the week was when our air shipment from the U.S. arrived on Thursday. We didn’t expect to see if for a few more weeks, so for a a few hours it was like Christmas.
Unfortunately, with our shipment came my first offense to members of our new country’s predominant religion. The gentlemen who delivered our shipment were so courteous and incredibly efficient in unloading our boxes. I wanted to show my appreciation, so when they finished I offered them a drink.
“Oh, no ma’am. It’s Ramadan. We’re fasting!”
Oops! My bad. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I’ll offend someone in the Muslim world. I should consider myself lucky that “infidel” hasn’t been spray painted outside our apartment building yet. There’s still time.
Now on a serious note, we have had a number of people express concern for our safety in light of the recent reports of potential terror threats in the Middle East. Rest assured that we are fine. Our embassy was closed today, and we just received word that it will remain closed for the rest of the week. We are confident that the State Department is doing everything in its power to keep us and all diplomats throughout the world as safe as possible. But please keep the world’s peace process in your prayers.
Now, to close out this post: in case you haven’t had your fill of Jordanian sheep for the day, here you go: