January

It’s only the end of the first month of 2022 and there’s already so much to share about my continued adventures here in Jordan. After brining in the New Year to Amman, I’ve hit the ground running with studying and I’m now well into the second term of the academic year – it’s scary how fast time flies!

Of course, studying hasn’t been the only thing occupying my time, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been on two hikes this month. The first was a ten kilometre hike starting at Jesus Cave and ending at Pella. Jesus cave lies five kilometres west of Umm Qays, near the northern city of Irbid, and is named after Christ as local residents believe he stayed there while travelling to Umm Qais to convert the residents from Paganism. After hiking through the lush green, though sometimes muddy, terrain we reached the spectacular ruins of Pella. Known as Tabaqat Fahl in Arabic, this complex of ruins was once part of the Decapolish alliance of Hellenistic cities, though archaeological evidence suggests the stie had been inhabited many centuries prior to this. Today you can see the ruins of churches, temples, and houses.

The second hike was thirteen kilometres between Wadi Malaka and Umm Qais. This again was a very verdant hike and our guide enthusiastically described different edible plants and their supposed medicinal properties along the way. We had awesome views of the Golan Heights, their rocky slopes standing in stark contrast with the foliage around us.

It is somewhat miraculous that I’ve been able to go hiking as the weather has been rather dramatic. When people told me in November that the Jordanian winter would be cold and wet, I shrugged it off thinking that as someone who group up in the north of England I knew what a cold winter meant and that Jordan couldn’t possibly offer anything colder than that. But how wrong I was! The weather has been frightfully cold – partly because Jordanian buildings aren’t designed with the cold in mind – and we’ve even seen the highest snowfall in five years. And when it snows or rains in Amman, everything comes to a halt, as the infrastructure is not designed to handle the wet weather and commuters at the same time. Although it has been cold, the rain has been welcomed with open arms by Jordanians as Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countreis on earth. So while a good rain is something taken for granted in Macneshter, it means a lot to the people of Amman and really reminds me just how precious water is.

January 18th – 25th was the global week of prayer for Christian unity and we celebrated it with flare here in Amman. No less than 11 denominations1 joined together at Al Fadi Arab Episcopal Church to pray, sing, and reflect together on how Christians of all denominations can work together both in the region and around the world. It was a really special event and it was amazing to see so many people from different Christian denominations gathered together to focus on what unites us rather than divides us.

In what feels like a flash, January and another month in Jordan is already over. I am still having an amazing time here in Amman (despite the weather) and I can’t wait to see what adventures I go on in February!

1The denominations represented were: The Latin Church, Roman Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Maronites, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Chalcedonian, Lutherans, and Anglicans.

Read more about my year abroad:

Hiking in Shoubak

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