Spring has turned the desert green

20160401_113645Friday mornings are kind of a ritual between Ahmad and I. We normally start with breakfast at Usra, our favourite little hummus place, before heading out for whatever it is we have planned. The last few weeks, however, we have not been able to leave the city for various reasons from work to weather and illness. Recently, we’ve changed it up a little bit with the lovely (and delicious) Hatouteh.

 

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On the Tourist Trail: Beit Sitti

We no longer have internet at home as we have apparently blown our way through 200gb in 3 weeks. The internet company told us the charge for internet per gig over our plan is 8 JD. To put that into perspective, we currently pay 38 JD per month for 200gb. Naturally, we refused.

So it is nearly two weeks later that I write about our experience taking a cooking class at Beit Sitti, something my flatmate and I had wanted to do for a little while. My flatmate’s friend from Germany offered us the opportunity as his way of saying “thank you” for letting him crash in our living room for a few days. It was very generous of him and I am very grateful. Continue reading

The World Scholar’s Cup, Amman Round

This year, 8 of my students participated in the World Scholar’s Cup in Amman, seven from sixth grade and one from seventh.

We arrived for the two-day competition early on Friday morning at the International Amman Academy (aka Queen’s School). The students were understandably visibly nervous but also very excited. There were at least seven of Amman’s top schools participating and all my sixth graders were new to the competition. Continue reading

Ayyam-i-Ha in Amman

Jordan is home to a small Baha’i community of approximately 1,000 people. After meeting a lovely Baha’i man in London at the House of Commons, I have learned a little more about the faith and he and his friends have always been exceptionally kind, welcoming, and interesting. It was he who introduced me to his niece here in Amman, a member of the Baha’i community and wonderfully well-traveled woman.

On Saturday, she invited me to join her and her family and neighbours for the Festival of Ayyam-i-Ha.  Continue reading

Off the beaten track: Dead Sea

I love Jordan. Every day I have a moment where I feel this absolute peace and think “I am in the right place”. Every single day since I moved here, 5 months ago.

That being said, one of the most frustrating things about Jordan is the fact that almost everything is privatized. You want to go to the Dead Sea for a day? The first thing people think of is “which hotel will I go to for day access?” Call me crazy, but I find paying a minimum of $50 for day access to a beach absurd. I also don’t want to spend a day floating in the Dead Sea and looking at a half dozen hotels and a lot of people. Continue reading

Snow in the Holy City

Now that I’ve been back in Jerusalem I have wanted to update my blog for a while… I never finished updating about my holidays because it began feeling a little like a chore.

I left the wild winter in Montreal on New Year’s Eve (though I am happy I stayed long enough to see the crazy, record-breaking snow storms in the Laurentians and in the city itself) and arrived in Tel Aviv shortly after midnight on January 1st. Nervous, but hiding it, I was surprised to have glided easily through immigration and I was out – back in Israel, back to somewhere I had been dreaming of for a long time. Continue reading

Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, immigration and border scrabbles, and Jerash

It has been a while since I updated my travel/life-in-the-crazy-Middle-East blog because we’ve been moving about so much and I’ve barely had a second to myself. So now, sitting in a kibbutz in the Negev in Israel, I finally have time to look back at what we did in Jordan two weeks ago and write a much-less detailed account.

Our trip to Jordan was cut rather short by some immigration issues I was having with Israel. I had applied for a visa extension a few months prior to leaving the country and I was still waiting for approval. The Ministry of the Interior assured me that, as I was in the system, I was still legally in the country. However, when I left to go to Amman on the 15th of December, the woman at immigration told me that I would need to visit the Israeli Consulate in Amman to get documents allowing my re-entry into the country. It seems the various computer systems are not well integrated. Frustrated by this bit of bureaucracy, we left Wadi Rum and drove back to Amman on Wednesday, knowing Thursday would be spent in offices in the city. Continue reading