This first Christmas in Amman, we retained some of our previously held traditions, and enjoyed creating new ones. For example, after Thanksgiving, Daryl explored the attic storage closet and, low and behold, discovered a Christmas tree and various ornaments and decorations! So following a long standing tradition, the tree went up, and our living room was once again transformed by the soft glow of multicolored lights.
As in many previous years, we hosted a staff Christmas dinner in our home complete with turkey and all the fixings. It was wonderful way to celebrate this special season with our MCC colleagues.
One evening we attended a party with one of our coworkers at Church of the Redeemer. It was a delightful time of singing carols, giving gifts and Christian fellowship. We experienced the hospitality for which Arab culture is well known.
But of course, the highlight of this season was a visit from our sons, Holden and Jeremy. After delayed and canceled flights, and many frustrating hours in airports, they arrived in Amman on Christmas night. What rejoicing that was!
Along with experiencing life and sights in Amman, we traveled to southern Jordan along the Dead Sea Highway. For two days we explored the port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Holden got some great pictures of ships in the port, we rode in a glass bottomed boat to see the amazing coral and fish on the ocean floor, and Jeremy was even brave enough to go in for a swim. We enjoyed an evening stroll on the “board walk.”
En route back to Amman, we stopped at Petra which is an amazing ancient city carved in the rocks of a gorge. It is like stepping back in time; there was so much to see and explore. It is easy to understand why it is listed as one of the official wonders of the world.
One more highlight of Holden and Jeremy’s stay was a visit to a Jordanian friend’s home for a traditional meal of “makluba” — a special dish of rice, chicken, cauliflower, and spices. Once again we were showered with warm Jordanian hospitality.
As you can imagine, the week passed all too quickly, and we were back at the airport to say farewell. We all agreed a family Christmas in Jordan is a good tradition to keep, and we have a visit from our daughter Jessica to look forward to in 2008!