Amman, Jordan


Here is the most important thing to know about Jordan:

The people are among the friendliest in the world.

This is a good thing, because guidebooks?  They bite.  Perhaps there is some value in them for someone who is bouncing about like rock getting skimmed across the ocean, but for the person looking to dig in for more than a few hours?  Not so much.  For the information you need to live, to play, to figure out how to get water in your bathroom, and shades raised and lowered, and light the stove, and identify which number is taxi fare and which is distance, and pick out which carton represents milk from a cow and which from a camel — for these sorts of things, you must simply go out and ask others.

Preferably in Arabic.

In other words: we are having a great adventure in Jordan.

I spend workdays working in the office/clinic(s)/community center.  Paul is with the kids.  He brilliantly balances kids activities, his own work, and figuring out logistics (read list above, but add: mobile phone purchases, car rental, petrol station location, etc.)  Here are some photos he took of our local digs.

The park a few blocks away where the kids go to play.



In this park, they’ve met other children, who, being Jordanian, are in the running for the title World’s Nicest Kids.  Also being Jordanian, the kids speak to my kids in English, French, and if they can get my little Franco-American tots to comply, Arabic.  One of reasons they have met lots of kids is because the park holds a soccer field:



We picked up a soccer ball at a local mall.  Ball + Will + Field in play park = KID MAGNET.


Kate likes the park, too!

This is our street.  Like most English translations, the phonetics of Arabic mean that it’s possible to spell things in our alphabet several different ways.  So, depending on where you enter, it could be Torrah Street.  Or Turah Street.  Or Tora Street.

A colleague also lives in the building and helps us immensely.


This is our building.  If you were driving (and if you were anyone but a crazy American, this is what you would do… no one in Jordan walks!) you would pull in around the building to park underneath.  A doorman lives by the parking spaces and acts as a maintenance/errand/assistant/helper/fix-it/late-night-entry guy.  Everyone in the building pays him 30JD (JD = Jordanian Dinars; .70 cents USD = 1 JD) a month for these services.   Our guy is super nice and we’d love to use his services more… if only our Arabic could express more than our names, thank you, and my personal favorite “sema azara” (blue sky).


And here is our front door.  Welcome to our Jordanian home!