Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Birthday and Happy International Peace Day

Happy Birthday to Mom LeBlanc in Halifax!!!  We will skype later.

It is also International Peace Day

We observed this yesterday at school by creating 'Pinwheels For Peace' and making our own Peace Book.  Check out our Grade 2 Blog for updates of what we are doing in class.

One of my students made this wonderful page.  It was so creative and out of the box which is what I love to celebrate in my classroom - divergent thinking.  I love it.

How cute is that!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Taipei Restaurant

We were looking for a lamp store because we need lamps and most of the lamp stores sell tacky, gaudy looking things!  On our adventure looking for the most perfect lamp, we found the Taipei Restaurant!  What a stroke of luck.  We weren't even aware that there was a Taiwanese restaurant in Amman.  I love discovering new places!  Plus, it's always nice to find something familiar.

The food here is fantastic!  So far we have tried three different Chinese restaurants and this one is the best.  Of course, we asked where in Taiwan the chefs came from and they aren't from Taiwan, they are from Shanghai. Heehee, so not a Taiwan restaurant at all!  No one was from Taiwan!  Haha, but at least the food was good.  We will go back.

Amman Orphanage

What a weekend it has been in Amman and throughout the Middle East.  Thankfully, we are safe in Amman and the protests that happened here were peaceful protests.  Nothing to worry about.  However, we were advised not to travel to certain places on Friday.  Robert and I stayed in and watched the events unfold on Sky and BBC news.

On Saturday, I took a trip to the Home of Love -   an orphanage for severely disabled children.   The school encourages the students to clock up to 10 hours of community service.  There is a variety of activities and projects that the students can choose from.  My colleague organised this one and needed chaperones.  I volunteered my services.  So for 3 hours, we hung out with these BEAUTIFUL children who have been abandoned by their parents because they are disabled and can not look after them.  There were two nuns and two full time volunteers who look after about 15 children aged between 1-7.

There was a little boy, aged 5, who was in his buggy, his legs and arms all twisted behind him and a tube coming out of his nose.  He looked like and sounded like a baby.  He wouldn't stop crying.  The nuns say he never stops, he just sobs and wails.  I sat with him and stroked him, sang to him and spoke to him.  He stopped crying!  Then I picked him up - he was stiff!  When I picked him up, he smiled :-)  He was beautiful.

There was another little one, aged 2, who had the biggest, most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen.  I called her 'Butterfly' because she looked one.  She was also so stiff!

I will go back there next month and make this a regular trip for me.

The surrounding area of the orphanage.
A sunset in Amman.

Robert is a great driver!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


School, home, school, home, school, home.  That's been our life for the past few weeks.  School has dominated everything we do.  I'm not complaining about it.  In fact, we have really enjoyed it.  Starting off in a new school is tough as there are many things to get used to.  Everything is so different from our last schools and it'll take some time to adjust to all the new systems and expectations.  But we'll adapt quickly.  As long as we are enjoying ourselves, then we'll be fine.

So we've been in Amman for almost a month and I said to Robert, "We need to get out of the city and do something fun that is not work related."  We drove 50km north of Amman and we found Jerash - an ancient Roman city that is beautifully preserved. We had no idea what to expect. We didn't read up on Jerash, we didn't know how to get there, we had no idea.  So imagine our surprise when we approached the old ruins to  see this.

Hadrian's Arch (Triumphal)

We were amazed at how well preserved everything was.  You can even see old Roman writing on the stones.

Jerash was one of the Decapolis of the Roman Empire.  It was part of a league of cities that served to unite Roman possessions and to enhance commerce in the region.  Wandering around, you can sense how this place may have been a bustling trading centre.

Jordanian people are the nicest people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting!  Because we randomly found this place, we didn't have a clue where to buy a ticket or even if we needed one.  So when we entered the site, we were stopped by guards who asked us for a ticket.  We told them we didn't have one and asked them where we could get one.  Robert started to talk to them about the price and apparently if we had a residency card, it only costs 1JD and without one it costs 8JD.  We don't have our residency card yet so we told them we were new to Jordan, working here and that our card should arrive soon.  The guards then said to us, "Welcome to Jordan.  Please, go in.  It is a gift from Jordanian people, to you. Please, you are welcome here.  Enjoy."  Robert and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces.  At first, we didn't take them seriously, but they were genuine, kind and sincere.  We thanked them for their kindness and we shook their hands, although one man wouldn't shake mine because he was married and apparently, it's not culturally acceptable to shake a married man's hand.  He just touched his heart and smiled - so sweet!

Stray cats are everywhere in Jordan.  We though this kitty was amazing, just wandering around ancient ruins.  Lucky kitty.

This is known as the Cardo Maximus.  It was built in the 1st century AD and used to consist of 500 columns that lined the street.  This would have been the 'high street' of the city and thousands of chariots would have scored the original flagstones.

As I said before, we knew nothing about this place before arriving.  We had no idea what to expect so as we kept walking around and discovering more, we were more and more impressed and then we found this amphitheatre and we just thought, 'my goodness, this just gets better and better!'  It was tucked away behind a hill and as we entered, it felt like we were going inside a building.  I was expecting some kind of museum, but no, we got this amphitheatre which was built in AD 165.

As we sat and pondered what life would have been like 2000 years ago, the call to prayer came on and echoed throughout the site.  We hear the call to prayer everyday, 5 times a day and it is always very magical.    But when you are sitting in ancient ruins and hear the call to prayer, it is even more powerful.  I sat there and I listened to the sounds of the man singing from the Koran. I thanked Allah, God, The Universe, my parents, their parents, all of the people that have gone before me and all the people that are present in my life right now who have supported me, guided me and loved me.  I am so grateful to be here right now and grateful to have amazing people in my life.  Every time I hear the call to prayer, I stop and take a moment to say thank you.  You are always in my thoughts.

Some of the seats are inscribed with delegates who voted in the city council.  Robert is enjoying sitting on ancient seats.

As we wandered around, Robert was in absolute awe.  He loves history so this place blew him away.  He even said it was the best place he had ever visited.  Robert is a man of the world and has seen many wonderful sites such as, Ankor Wat, Macho Picu, etc so when he said that this was the BEST, I was amazed and so happy for him.  It made me realise what a wonderful adventure we are having and I feel so lucky that we are here, in Jordan.  Sometimes I still can't believe it, but here we are and loving every minute of it.

On the drive back, we noticed all the trucks selling pomegranates.  Look at how they are presented. 

 We really are loving this place and we are excited to discover it further.  We may drive down to the dead sea next Friday and we are looking into a trip to Petra and Aqaba for when our friend, Spencer comes to visit us.  What an amazing country and the people....the people make this place even more special.  I can't stop smiling!

Here is a video we took of the Azan - call to Prayer.  It isn't the best view of Jerash, but you kind of get a sense of what it is like.  Although, watching it on video isn't quite the same as the experience, but I hope you get the general idea.