Another two weeks have flown on by, as I continue to design, workout, cook, and enjoy the warm sunshine during the autumn days in Jordan. I do love the fall because it is such a festive time. In September, I remember feeling excited because a new school year was starting *** I was a nerd. Then, the leaves start changing, people start apple picking, and marks the beginning of the fall festivities. When people aren’t getting into the mindset of Halloween and re-watching Casper or Halloweentown, then it’s all about pumpkin patches, warm colors and giving thanks, and then Christmas hits like a bomb. It’s pretty magical because it’s an ongoing season of festivities, at least for some Americans.
I am guilty in always partaking in such festivities, because I am a festive person by nature.
It’s fun and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. But, Halloween was different this year. This was the first year I didn’t dress up or go anywhere. Having only Jordanian friends means they don’t usually celebrate Halloween. And, I didn’t feel like paying lots of money to go to venues that were hosting a Halloween event. This year, I carved a pumpkin, blasted Michael Jackson’s, “Thriller” and that Ghostbusters song, ate lots of chocolate, and watched a scary movie. It made me happy I was able to do at least a few
Halloween-ish type activities. (My costume was going to be Jason, but maybe I can save that for next year… wherever I am.)
On a lovely Friday morning, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a trip, since the day was beautiful and he also had his work car. We decided to go to Ajloun Castle, I place I had yet visited. As we were driving, we decided to take a longer route, to stop by a mountain side with a view, and to pick up his cousin so he could join the adventure. First, we stopped in Tal-Al-Rumman, a small quiet, suburb. We drove to a dead-end, and to my right was a postcard view! Wow, I must have spent 20 minutes taking self-timer pictures, running down some stairs, into what seemed like a painting.
Then, we reached Ajloun Castle, and walked the around aimlessly, taking pictures. Each room in the castle, had another room inside of it. And the mountainous area around the castle was full of green trees, and more postcard views.
Last night, I took a spontaneous night trip to Irbid, just 70 km north of Amman. Irbid has the highest population density in the kingdom, and is just 25 minutes outside of Syria. You can call it a college town– since the area is home to at least two large universities. This means there are lots of local businesses that cater to university students like cupcake shops, cafe’s and gaming centers. It is much more conservative than Amman, as most of the foreigners usually live in Amman. When Peace Corps was still active in Jordan, they would serve in Irbid, because of its prominent population of refugees and lower-income population. Now, people continue to live their lives in the refugee camps, as their whole lives have been there, and some, as refugees from the Arab-Israeli war.
I do like this city, as it doesn’t feel as crowded as Amman, but particularly I love some of Irbid’s public spaces.
>>>>For example, Irbid has really large and cool roundabout sculptures. Each one unique, and some more colorful than others. Some of them reach at least 8 meters high (imagine four Vanessa’s stacked on top of each other vertically). Also, Irbid has beautiful public parks, that stretches out farther than a football field, which in Jordan, is huge for a park. Parks are not really well-designed or cared for here, which is ironic because so many families go on picnics on the weekends, and choose a small patch of grass on the side of the road to rest on. How doesn’t anyone see Jordanians need their parks?! Anyway…One park I visited, there was a great variety of children’s swings, slides, even a giant giraffe slide! There was a turf field, lots of benches, lots of garbage cans, and security officers. Even, there was a mixed range of people at the park, not just groups of young guys. This park made me really happy and I want to come again!!
I’m excited to start thinking of what to pack and what to do while in the states again. Just a few more weeks and I’ll be seeing my family again. Grateful to have stuck to my workout routine, that the days still have blue sunny skies, and my new-found respect and appreciation for icon design.
Thanks for reading the update! See you in 2 weeks!
Peace from the Middle East!