Friday, January 31, 2014

It does snow in the Middle East

First, let me say that I have sympathy for those who are struggling with the large quantities of snow and cold temperatures at the moment in the US.  It is only 65 here today, so I know cold.  Believe it or not, Shanna is extremely jealous of the weather you are having.  I am not.  Shanna will complain on a day like today, when it is 65 and sunny, longing for "real winter" as she calls it.  I don't complain when it's 65 and sunny in January.  Two different perspectives, who is right?

Yes, that was our car.  Stuck.  
We had our fair share of snow and cold temperatures right before our Christmas Break.  The city literally shut down.  Cars were stuck everywhere, snow plows nonexistent (like Jordan does not own a single snowplow), and snowballs were flying.  It's a Middle East thing, but everybody gets out and throws snow balls at cars driving by.  In fact, we ended up having six days of school off.  Now this was not the Atlanta debacle, where two inches caused a nightmare of epic proportions.  We got at least 12-18 inches over a couple day period.  

Here is a view from our front window out into the olive grove.

Ryker hanging out in front of our apartment.  At least a foot of snow!

It was nice that the snow days came right before Winter Break, but I would have much preferred being able to get out and head to our destination for the holidays.  I feel like holidays are the hardest time to be away from family.  You miss all the traditions, the games, the food, and ultimately the time together. There is a void there when you can't celebrate with the people who have been in your life the longest. We were fortunate to have Shanna's parents come and visit us over the break.  Ryker especially loved having Gma and Grandpa here to play with and spoil him.  We celebrated Christmas a few days early as we were heading to Israel for a week with them.  Shanna enjoyed that they brought along many of her maternity clothes and protein bars that cost an arm and a leg here.  I think now more than ever, we are grateful for family that supports us, cares for us, and loves us.  

Our Christmas tree.  Trust me, we had gifts. 

One of the many gifts Gma and Grandpa brought for Ryker!  

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Little Update

To all my faithful readers, I apologize for the delay since my last post, life has gotten in the way.  It's certainly different when you are are living somewhere as opposed to visiting it as a tourist.  You may view things in similar lenses, like sharing emotions of awe and wonder at experiencing something for the first time.  However; tourists and short-term trips predominately display the location in a positive light.  When you are a resident, you begin to experience the positives along with the negatives.   Shanna and I were talking about culture shock a few nights ago.  Here is a chart explaining the progressions of culture shock.  Most people think it happens immediately when you step off the plane, but that is usually the time when everything is so new that it is exciting and awesome.  You start getting into the everyday life, and you begin to experience each of these symptoms, consciously or subconsciously.  I think we fall somewhere between 3 and 4.  Isn't it crazy that you have culture shock as you head back to your home country as well?  I experienced that after moving home from Hungary as well.  It's like everything that used to be "normal" and "accepted" is no longer "normal" or "accepted" in your mind anymore.

So you may be wondering what Shanna and I have been up to since Norway.  We've been on a few excursions in Jordan, but mainly just hanging out with new friends and doing the day to day stuff that we have to do in the States as well.  Some are simple here, some are a little more difficult.  Sometimes a bit frustrating, like seeing fresh blueberries in the store, but realizing they are $10 for a small package. 

Anyways, one of our day trips was to a place called Jerash.  Jerash is famous for it's Greco-Roman ruins from around 100 AD to 600 AD.  Many say that these ruins are some of the best outside of Rome itself.  They are certainly considered some of the best preserved in the entire world.  Here are some pics of our adventure.

I do realize it is after Christmas and I am posting from before Thanksgiving.  I will share more soon about our adventures in Israel over Christmas break!