When we first arrived in Jordan, almost two years ago, I was in awe of this country. Everywhere I looked was a feast for the eyes and I couldn’t soak in enough of it. Everything was so exotic and I wanted to taste and feel and see it all. This feeling of awe lasted for about six months. Also during that time, I was trying to get my feet under me; figuring out where things were and how things worked. It was frustrating at times, but it was so much fun! It felt like we were on the adventure of a lifetime. I loved those first six months in Jordan.
Then things changed for me. I knew, more or less, how to get around. I had discovered my favorite shops and markets. I was more comfortable with my surroundings. I was settled in. But for the next year, every day as I drove around Amman I would think to myself, I can’t believe I get to live here! I can’t believe I get to experience this country on a daily basis! I’m the luckiest person in the world! I loved that time in Jordan.
But around the year and a half mark, things changed for me again. That feeling of awe started to dissipate. I no longer thought of Jordan as exotic. Those feelings were replaced with a feeling of complete peace and serenity with my surroundings. Jordan had become home. Ironically, I’m still illiterate and I still can’t understand the majority of what people around me are saying. Nevertheless, Arabic is now home to me. So is the call to prayer, hummus, and the constant dust that settles on everything. They are every bit as home to me as the mountains, Five Guys burgers, and chirping robins of Utah.
Jordan is my home; and I have to leave it in 24 days. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to Jordan. I went through the exact same process and timeline in Taiwan and as a Mormon missionary in Italy. I’m still mourning both of those countries–both of those homes. And I’m starting the process of mourning Jordan.
And I’m pretty sure that in three years from now, I’ll be mourning South Africa too.