Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Last days in Amman

It has been quite a journey and I cannot believe it is coming to a close already... I will miss the wonderful people I have met and the cool places I have visited on this trip.

From going to cafes for late night argila, to walking through the souks, to traveling around the region, Jordan has been full of fun and learning. It has been so wonderful to spend time with my cousin and I am forever grateful for her letting me crash on her couch for the past 2 weeks. :) Also I want to say a huge thank you to my host family who welcomed me into their home as a member of the family. I will miss hanging out at the house, cooking with Rose, talking with Faten watching the news with Waseem, and playing with lulu and tutu :) If you guys ever come to Amreeka please know you are welcome to stay with me.

Tomorrow I will be heading back to the states!! Cant wait to see my family :)

As for tonight we are planning to go to a Lebanese place for one last dinner all together.

Ma'selema and shookran (thanks) for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

El Quds pics

The Church of All Nations:

Garden of Gethsemene and the ancient Olive trees

The words below are parts of the Our Father Prayer which was printed in over 100 languages in the courtyard of a church on the Mount of Olives. 

This is the church of the Ascention. There is a stone that shows Jesus' footprint inside the tower which marks the place where Jesus ascended into Heaven. 

street view inside the Old City while on our tour

Graffiti celebrating a person who has recently gone for Hajj. The picture shows the start of the pilgrimage: The Dome of the Rock and the destination, the Kabbah. It is a very special journey in a Muslim person's life and in the Old City the entire neighborhood celebrates the completion of this journey. 

The Western Wall (Wailing Wall) in the daytime. No cameras are allowed during the Friday evening prayers (This is when most of the Jewish community comes out to dance, sing and pray at the wall)

It is a tradition to write a prayer or wish and leave it at the wall. It is a direct line to God and many people come from around the world to touch the wall and to experience the presence of God at this important religious site. 

El Quds

So this past weekend we headed for the Holy City.

The border crossing was quite an experience we took a taxi then a bus then stood in 3 diferent lines only to repeat the process on the other side. Meanwhile we were asked to show our passports, walk through metal detectors, and answer questions as tothe nature of our visit.

But once all that was over we were able to really enjoy Jerusalem. We spent our first night in the old city in a quaint little hostel off Mark's St. we walked through the Muslim quarter and the Armenian Quarter exploring the souks and restaurants. Later in the evening we went to Ben Yahuda St. to check out the nightlife. We found a cool outdoor cafe where we people watched and sang to some american music :)

The next day we visited a conservative Jewish neighborhood and also took a tour of the old city. One of the coolest things we did while in Jerusalem was to visit the Wailing Wall on Friday evening (Sabbath). People were dancing, singing and of course praying at the wall. Families brought their children and it was cool to see such a vibrant community come together to worship.

We also took a tour of the Mount of Olives which included the garden of Gethsemene. the olive trees int he garden are over a thousand years old and the church next to the garden (The Church of All Nations) is built to emulate the story of Jesus in the Garden. Inside it is dark with small windows in the ceiling to look like stars, the columns are tree like and there is a beautiful mosaic depicting Jesus in prayer in the garden on the night before he died.

More to come...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We had a blast in Beirut, from the landscape to the people to the vibrant mix of french and arab cultures the trip was amazing!! It was so fun to be there with my cousin and for us to connect with our heritage in the "Waton" (Homeland). We met up with some guys from my program who were in Beirut for the weekend and we had fun touring the city and seeing the sites with them.

Here are some of the highlights:

Jeita: These grottos are thousands of years old and are located on the outskirts of Beirut. It is quite a treck to go see them but even the drive was interesting because we got to see more of the lush green forests and mountain terrain of Lebanon. The caves are giant and are filled with impressive stalagmites and stalagtites. The upper grotto was over 50 feet tall and was miles deep. The formations of rocks inside the grotto were so intricate and beautiful. The grotto has been forming since the end of the last ice age!!!! there was a cross section of a stalagmite to show the aging/formation process and only the newest inch and a half has been formed in since the birth of christ. Time passes so differently in the natural world. We were not able to take pictures inside but I did purchase some postcards :)

The lower grotto was an underground lake!! We took a boat ride through the grotto which was so fun!

Corniche: Beautiful walkway right along the Mediterranean Sea. It was so nice to see families and groups of friends walking along as well as people excersizing, fishing and selling souveniers. Beirut has such a different feel than Amman. The beautiful ocean, unique architecture, and green trees everywhere definitely got me feeling inspired!

To be continued...

Monday, July 18, 2011




The National Museum

The Corniche

Hariri Mosque 



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

These are some pictures from the King Houssein Mosque in Amman. It is a giant mosque built to hole up to 5,000 people. It can be seen from most of the city and has become a major landmark. It is surrounded by a garden free to the public which includes soccer fields, tennis courts and walking paths. Many families come out after the sun goes down to have some hookah, go for a walk or just simply to enjoy the nice weather.

Durring the hot summer months the city hosts a festival called Amman Summer. Last night Reem took Kate and I to the festival and we had a great time looking through the bazzars and watching the performances.

Reem works for a microfinance organizations that helps women in Jordan start their own small businesses. The women had booths last night and were selling jewelry, soap, food and all kinds of handmade things.  It was really great to see how their businesses were growing and hearing about how their small businesses were employing other people in the community as well. :)

More later...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Kaneesa Latina

These pictures are from the Catholic Mass we attended in downtown Amman.

A group of us form AMIDEAST went together and had fun meeting the congregation and hearing the mass in Arabic.