Sunday, December 16, 2012

City Mall

Possibly, the nicest of all the Malls in Amman.  It has lots of great shops and a Carrefour.  We were here this weekend to watch The Hobbit.  There is a great big movie screen so it was wonderful to see The Hobbit on a good screen.  We did of course miss the Embassy, but we were grateful that we got to see the movie in a peaceful, clean, smoke free movie theatre.  No cell phones went off which was really nice.  In Taiwan, cell phones would always go off and people would chat away :-)  We were expecting the same etiquette here and are happy that it is not the case.

There is another movie theatre in Baraka Mall, a small mall in Sweifieh, our neighbourhood.  It is not as good as the City Mall theatre.

Babies in Amman

Children are a big deal in Jordan.  Children are adored!  On 12/12/12, my friend and colleague had her first child, Madyson.  She is adorable!  The couple who have had the baby said their experience of being pregnant and giving birth was top class service, best doctors, best facilities and best care.  That is quite nice to know if you are considering starting a family here.

The rooms are like hotel rooms.  There is one main room with a TV, fridge, sofas and then there is this kind of room for family and visitors.  There is also a spotless bathroom!

Jordanians make a big deal of births as you can see by these display of balloons.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Intercontinental Wine Night

In Amman, there are quite a few hotels.  The Intercontinental is one of them and it is here that boasts a wonderful evening of food and wine.  This month, the wine came from Chile and the food was directly imported from France and Chile just for this event.

Wine in Amman is OK, not the greatest, but not the worst.  However, there isn't much variety so it is lovely that there is this one night a month where wine loving Jordanians and expats have the opportunity to diversify their wine drinking experience.  The next wine evening is January 14th - we'll be there!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Bazaar's

It has been a great week filled with everything Christmassy!!  I love being here at this time.  I love being so close to the Holy Land.  The Christmas Story always enchanted me as a child with Mary, Joseph and the new baby boy.  I would love to be able to pop over to Bethlehem this Christmas....maybe next year :-)

I have been to 2 bazaars this week.  One at school and one at an Orthodox Church.  It was wonderful.  There were so many goodies and unique crafts there.  I even found the ear rings that I LOVE!  In New Zealand, there was this shop where I used to get all my ear rings for about $12-$15, but here they cost 2JD!!!  That's so cheap - I bought 3 pairs!

School Bazaar

Amazing art work

We loved this stall!!!

This was at the Orthodox Church's Bazaar in Abdoun.  Crazy to think that this event took place about 2 hours from where we are now.

The lovely Kate, Hayden and Lindsey.

For my mum's who both love Santa :)

I never expected Amman to be so Christmassy and I am so glad it is because I love this time of year.  It is cold outside, yet the sun is still shining.  It is just lovely!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Amman - special city

I took a walk to the mall - Taj Mall.  Tis quite a big mall with H&M, Monsoon and even Marks and Spencers (which will open shortly - inshallah).  It was a beautiful winters day, although, it wasn't really like winter.  It was warm and sunny, with a little chill in the air.  More like a summer's day in Wellington.

As I wandered through the streets of Amman, I stumbled across a Second Cup!  Where am I again?  A Second Cup, in Amman?  That's a Canadian coffee shop, right?  Yes, a Second Cup - how cool is that!

 I also walked past the American Embassy.  I was just about to take out my camera to take pictures when I was confronted with a massive sign reading NO PHOTOS!  Oh well.  I was thinking of ways that I could be sneaky and stealth like, but realised that no matter how sneaky or stealth like I could be, it wasn't worth messing around with the American Embassy folk, especially as they had the big guns and I only had a snappy, happy, clicky fujifilm  -they had the upper hand.

Now, I had no idea where the mall was.  I only knew it was in the direction of the Embassy, so I kindly asked one of those guys with the big guns.  He kindly directed to the mall and wished me well.  I wish I could have taken a photo of him because he was so sweet and kind -  like a happy granddad with bad, yellowing teeth!

Further along my journey, I saw some interesting sights that started me thinking how Amman is a special little city.  It was lunch time so the call of prayer came on, cars zoomed by and I could hear the shouts of men in the distant.  They could have been farmers because there was a cow and some goats in an open plot of dry, rocky, littered land.  I saw also saw the mall and right next to the mall where these apartments that looked very run down.  I couldn't help but think, 'how do all the features co-exist'? There were the farmers, the animals, the cars, the mall, the apartments and the faith all in one pocket.  I thought it was amazing.

this was right by a main road - a cow, by the main road??  Never seen that before!

Another cow - I've just noticed the one on  the left :-)

Going out for random walks with the camera is a lot of fun.  I can imagine that if I did it regularly, I'd find some interesting things to write home about.  I did see this car.......

If I could drive, I'd drive this, paint it purple and paint a massive white daisy on the bonnet :-)

The Mall - Taj Mall a boring place with lots of shops.  I wondered around it for an hour and didn't buy anything apart from lunch.  It has some shops in it, like H&M, but after what happened in Bangladesh, I refuse to buy anything from H&M, GAP or Walmart ever again!  Which is a real bummer cause I liked H&M and GAP!  Because they were cheap!

My lunch - shredded egg, some minty dip, tomatoes and pine nuts, grilled haloumi cheese (best I've had ever!), olives and a selection of breads!  Delicious!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shanghai Restaurant

Heehee, yet another restaurant to write home about ;-)  Yes, The Shanghai Restaurant is the best Chinese restaurant we've eaten at in a very long time.  The food there is so good!!  Our favourite is hot fried green beans and lemon chicken.  OMG, the hot fried green beans are delicious, so, so, so delicious.  They must be putting MSG on their beans because they are very moreish and I do dream about them.

The atmosphere in here is always very calm and they play the best 80's music.  I guarantee that they will play Heart - Alone.  They also have a massive fish tank with very happy looking fish swimming inside.  The only downside to the atmosphere is the smoking!  Jordan hasn't quite grasped on to the smoking ban.  Therefore, whenever we go to a restaurant, there will always be a smoker puffing away.

Those fried green beans are divine - absolutely divine!

Korean Gardens

Another restaurant that we love!  Robert and I eat out, a lot!  We don't have time to cook meals.  Sunday, we eat out, Monday, our maid cooks, Tuesday, eat out, Wednesday, left overs, Thursday, pizza, Friday, I might cook, Saturday, eat out :-)

So it's good to have a bank of decent restaurants up our sleeve.  The Korean Gardens is one, and we've become good friends with the owner/waiter.  He'll always give us extra.

The food is very good and always fresh.

Side dishes of kimchi, veges, seaweed, little fishes, soup, leaves and salad.  Main dishes are Koren Kimchi Pancake and Bulgogi and rice.


School life

It's busy.  Very busy.  Sometimes it is all consuming, but it is fun and we love it.  Otherwise, why would we be doing it?  I find that I am just working though.  I really would like to get out more, meet other people and explore Amman.  Finding the time and the energy is the challenge.

Today Robert is at a soccer tournament.  His last one.  Thank goodness!  He has been totally consumed with work and coaching.  When I asked him if he would coach again, he said he would because he loves it.  He loves the enthusiasm his girls have for the game and he said it is rewarding to see them improve.  I have my fingers crossed for victory today, but he is not bothered if they win or lose, it's all about participation for him and that's the message he gives to his girls.

For me, I am busy preparing for a Christmas concert.  The students are singing a Hawaiian Christmas song.  The lyrics are Hawaiian and English.  Hawaiian reminds me a lot of Te Reo Maori. It is really nice to hear that sound again, especially in Amman!

Hula dancing :-)

Just to update this post - Robert and his girls football team won!!!  It is the first trophy the school will receive this year.  I am so proud of Robert.  He is so dedicated!  A great coach and an inspirational teacher - I have parents come to my room to tell me how wonderful he is because he has inspired their child to take Chemistry or that Chemistry is an awesome subject because Mr. LeBlanc teaches it :-)  I couldn't agree more.  I think those kids are so lucky to have him as their teacher.

Christmas in Amman

We have a tree!  A real-life tree!  When I started to see signs of Christmas in Amman (tinsel, lights, angels, stars etc), I could not believe it, but it seems, Christmas is observed all over the world.  Even we we lived in Taiwan, Christmas was big and shops would sell decorations.  Of course, Starbucks is here, there and everywhere and always begins selling their Christmas mugs after Halloween.

Robert and I are happy that we can celebrate the month of Christmas here. We were worried that it would just be over looked.  Today, I will go to the local mall and just hang out, listen to the Christmas tunes and watch people doing their Christmas shopping.

A little bit of NZ on our tree.  It was a past Xmas present from my old principal, Janice.  I cherish it.  I

I love our apartment in the evening when we can light candles and put the tree lights on.  It is so cosy!

I bought these from Safeway - I couldn't resist.  They are tealight holders.  Very cute!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

School surroundings

Above is the local mosque right by our school.  The call of prayer is heard 3 times a day whilst we are at school.  I love the one that goes off at lunch time when the children are playing outside.  I think it is great that young, international children are being exposed to such a different way of life.  One time, I was on duty and I saw a little girl go on her knees and pray. It was super cute.  When I asked a local Jordanian what she was doing, she told me that it was unusual to see children pray as they haven't grasped the idea of Islam or religion just yet or they are not 'into it'.

One thing that is slightly annoying about the mosque is the noise level.  They CRANK it up!  But it is still nice to hear.

I saw this herder and thought I'd take a snap shot, little did I know that he had a whole herd of goats with him!  I don't know how normal it is in Amman to have so many goats, but this shepherd had lots.