Thursday, March 31, 2016

my trip, part 2 // Jordan

So if you read my last post, you'll know that last week I returned from a mind-blowingly amazing and crazy trip to Jordan and Israel! Monday's post was mostly about airplanes and the joy that is flying, because I have NEVER been on a plane before this month! Much excitement.

Anyways, that means today's post is ALL ABOUT JORDAN. Before I left, I told everyone I was going to Israel, because it's a place that everyone instantly knows (maybe you knew all about Jordan, but when I first heard about it I actually thought it was part of Israel. Not so.) But we ended up spending the majority of our time in Jordan before popping into Israel for a few days at the end of our trip... and surprisingly, I fell head-over-heels in love with Jordan and ended up feeling kind of 'meh' about all that Israel had to offer. Which is still kind of embarrassing, because HELLO, JERUSALEM. The Mount of Olives!! The Garden Tomb!! And I'm over here like, "yeah, but did you see the shepherds in Jordan? With actual goats? SO COOL AMIRITE."

So without further ado... Jordan.

look at how MUCH Jordan there is! SO MUCH JORDAN

the sky looks so much bigger after you've flown through it

this mosaic floor had a thin rope barrier around it so we couldn't get too close...

...but one of the boys said he took a piece from it the last time he was here, to his mother's chagrin

the hills looked like wrinkles in a blanket that had been hastily tugged to one side and not smoothed out afterwards

nice-looking but rather unspecific map that told us what we were looking at

March 14/16  around 11:00am

Learning a few Arabic words from one of the older boys:
Marhabah - hello
Shukran - thank you
Habibi (m) Habidi (f) - sweetheart, my beloved
La - no
Montez - excellent

Today we went up a mountain (Mount Nebo). As we were driving up, I was watching the road in front of us, the skinny sheep with silky hair instead of fluffy wool (found out later that the "skinny sheep" were, indeed, goats) and the red and brown stone houses with red tile roofs as we passed by. Then, partway up the lady we're staying with said to me, "isn't Jordan beautiful?" and I said, "yes, of course-" 
and then there was a gap in the houses and I could SEE; the earth dropped away into a valley, so textured and ridged and hills softly flowing into each other. You could see roads winding crookedly through more white-bricked houses just like the ones we'd driven through earlier - it almost brought tears to my eyes. The world is so, so much bigger than I ever thought possible! This doesn't feel real - it's like I'm living someone else's life! I can't wait to see it all...!

March 15/16  around 7:30pm

In the afternoon today we went to a Roman Amphitheater! Who knew they had those in Jordan?! I took lots of pictures and we climbed the worn, smooth (slightly slippery) steps all the way to the top. You could see so much Jordan - it looked like all of the houses were stacked on top of each other. 

these boys were playing soccer in the square, until a police officer took their ball and sent them all away
old amphitheater - new Jordan

so much CONTRAST (also, the stairs were really steep and I was like 82% sure I might die before I got back down)


March 16/16  around 7:00pm

We went to Jarash today, which is an old abandoned Roman city!

later, after dinner
I'm so tired and I keep getting distracted by what the kids are doing, but I want to write about the Roman city we saw today! It was so big, and so detailed, intricate brickwork just lying, crumbled down on the side of the road. There were two big amphitheaters, temples to Artemis, a big chariot racing circle, houses, and pillers absolutely everywhere. Today I walked down the same streets Romans walked thousands of years ago. The kids ran races past pillars and old stone churches, fought and made up again, fell and scraped their knees, and I thought - not much has changed. 
The city feels lonely now, out of place, because the people who walk the streets today are here to look, and then leave. They don't live here, and the city misses the people who did. Sure, the kids' voices all sound the same, but they're not the city's children. 

gate into the city (!!!)
one of my friends sent along a paper copy of himself and asked me to take him to fun places - so here he is in a Roman city!

a Bedouin shepherd just hanging out in Jarash with his goats

we walked inside what looked like an abandoned house and found...

THIS!!! the ground just dropped away from our feet - we were on the top of another amphitheater!
I'm not sure what this is but it's very pretty

March 17/16  at the DEAD SEA, around 5:00pm

Floating in the Dead Sea is unreal. It feels so oily between your fingers,and just as you walk in, it feels normal - but then when you get past a certain point, you go to take another step and the bottom just isn't there anymore! The water has picked you up and holds you out of the water to your shoulders! If you float on your back, it pushes your hips up so even your feet are out of the water!
It burned the dry skin on my hands, though, and when a little bit leaked into the corner of my mouth, it burned the sensitive skin on my lips! It tastes like acid if you get it in your mouth... ughh.

Driving down the mountain to get here, I was so overwhelmed by the beauty in Jordan. Being here is helping me to understand God's love and power and holiness - the world is so big and beautiful and yet God is EVEN MORE so! And out of all these amazing places He chose to create, He still loves me most of all?? HOW??

March 18/16  around 7:30pm in a hotel in Petra!

We left the Dead Sea this morning and drove for hours to get to Petra (I was navigating, which was a truly terrible idea that landed us on a back road up the mountain, because even with GoogleMaps prompting me every 3 seconds, I am totally useless with directions!) Anyway, we made it eventually. 

Because this is my journal, I'm going to be completely honest - Petra is not my cup of tea, even if it is one of the seven wonders of the world! We went in the afternoon, when the sun was harsh and hot off the sand, and it was so full of tourists (like me, but I didn't like feeling like a tourist!) I'd rather be left alone to wander, have the space to think about what I'm looking at - and I like the wild places! In some ways, Petra felt more like a grocery store. There were people with stalls set up all along the path and everyone was trying to sell you something... even if you say no, they'd follow you around, both adults and children, wheedling and haggling and trying to make a deal. 

We all laughed at the kids a few days ago in Jarash, because after walking through the entire Roman city, their favourite part was petting the horse we found wandering in the arena on the way back out! But then today, after the whole afternoon of Petra, we rode on horseback all the way back up to the car, and wow. I loved it. I haven't been on a horse in years, and then suddenly we were trotting along, looking at a mountain, and realizing that I'm in JORDAN on HORSEBACK in PETRA. It felt so natural... and I felt powerful and beautiful and serene. 


the gorgeousness as seen from our hotel room

walking in to Petra

so so beautiful - with the cave walls towering high above us

I have never seen anything like this before.

the buggies came CAREENING around the corners

we feared for our lives.

the Treasury

(like from Indiana Jones, which I saw for the first time TWO DAYS AFTER BEING IN PETRA)

another amphitheater!! they were everywhere!

the world is so big, guys. so, so big.

you can kinda see a few stalls set up in this picture (also, the random donkey)

And that was Jordan!!! Isn't life the craziest? Israel pics coming in part 3! 



  1. Oh my goodness! I've never really had much of a desire to go to Jordan, but you're sending me over the edge! Everything is so gorgeous!!

    1. Grace, it is hands-down the prettiest place I have ever been in my life!! Jordan is so, so gorgeous <3<3

  2. What an incredible trip! Thank you for sharing Jordan with us. I think it would be so cool to visit that region.

    1. Aiiii, it is SO NEAT to be there!! If you ever get the chance to go, please please do! And then blog about it and we can compare experiences, lol! ;)

  3. I've always wanted to swim in the Dead Sea. Your journal entries are fantastic.

    1. It was one of the coolest parts of the trip! (partially for bragging rights, but also because the floating experience was totally UNREAL!!)

  4. I just want to go so much and this is making the desire even stronger!!! Your perspective on the hugeness of the world and then the incredible dwarfing of God's greatness is such a beautiful and new insight into travel. I'm just loving these<3

    1. Eeep! Nina I hope you do get a chance to go before too long!! <3 you will love it, absolutely. :)

  5. Wow, that is so cool, Olivia. The amphitheaters look so neat, and I like your photos of Petra. The Dead Sea sounds like a fairly gross but interesting experience.

    1. The amphitheaters were SO COOL Danielle!! We saw several of them but they were still special... I keep thinking "people were HERE, sitting exactly where I'm sitting!" They gathered, talked, watched plays, whatever... so cool.

  6. I tagged you!

  7. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS THESE PHOTOS ARE SO EPIC AND COOL! It sounds like (and looks like) that you had an amazing trip. The rocks are such a beautiful colour red and the amphitheaters are truly breath taking.
    -Em (


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