Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Tis the Season in Jordan

It's interesting living here during this time of year. I feel so disconnected from that which has always been apart of my life, my culture, my being. Every so often I am jolted into thoughts and memories of what is that, which is everything back home right now.

First of all, I talked to my parents in Minnesota a few nights ago and they have plenty of snow and the temperature was negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit....did you catch that?....20 degrees BELOW zero! Well, here in 'sunny' Jordan the temperature is hanging around 55F. Do the math, that's 70 degrees higher than home (and I'll tell you a secret.....I am cold.....have I already forgotten what it was like to be whipped in the face with 20 below freezing wind and snow? Have I already forgotten what it's like to literally loose feeling in my fingers as I put the grocery bags in my car?).

Honestly, most days I forget that it is winter here. There is no snow here, although on occasion it will snow in Jordan. We have palm trees and the sun still shines most days. However, the days are short and the nights are cold. We do turn on the heat at different times of the day. I wish I could run the radiators more, but they are so incredibly expensive....In both November and in December we spent 150JD=$210 in diesel to run the radiators...ouch! (Yanal went out tonight to by a Soba (space heater that runs on propane) to help us keep warm without using the radiators).

Talking to my sister Sarah today, I remember the potential problems the car can have back home from the cold. Her heater is not working in her car....and it's only 7 below...brrrr! I can honestly say, without batting an eye that I am glad not to be shoveling my car out of the drive way, hoping not to get stuck or skid-out into the ditch on my way to work at 430am before the snow plows have gone threw our nighborhood!

Secondly, as you are all well aware, it's the Christmas season around the Christian world, but did you know that it's Christmas in Jordan too? Jordanian Christians make up 6% of Jordan population. They live together, Christians and Muslims side by side...yes, side by side...without conflict. Just to clear up the misconception out there that Christians and Muslims cannot live side by side without conflict. This is untrue today as it has been for centuries. Sure, there has been war between them from time to time, but really who hasn't been to war with each other? Most Christians and Muslims can and have lived side by side -in peace-.

Christians and churches are scattered though out Amman. They are decorating their homes and churches as in the US. It's fun to see the creative decor of lights they have around the trunks of palm trees and on their windows. My sister-in-law, Rasha, is from the town of Madaba, which has a large community of Christians (40% of the city). She was visiting her family last week and said the neighborhood is filled with lights and decorations. She told me stories of when she grew up in Madaba. Her and her family are Muslim and would visit their Christian neighbors and wish them a Merry Christmas during the Christmas holiday: just as her Christian neighbors would come visit her and her family to wish them Eid Mubarak during the two Eids. Sounds wonderful!
Honestly, I expected to see the lights and decorations on the occasional home around Amman, but I didn't expect to see all the decor around the stores. Nearly all the stores in the mall, the mall itself and the main street stores have Christmas trees, lights, decorations and sales to bring you into their store to shop. Even the billboards have been hit by the marketing of they were for the Islamic holidays...I am surprised by it all with only a 6% minority.

I haven't heard any Christmas music playing on the radio; however, they may be in Arabic and I may not be familiar with the music here. The TV tonight was play the Christmas cartoon staring Shrek, in Arabic.

So 'tis the season weather you are here in Amman, back home in Minnesota and elsewhere in the world. We hope you all stay warm and safe during this winter season and we wish you all a Merry Christmas from our family to yours.


  1. Christmas has always been a magical time of the year that we always looked forward to. I am thankful that you are seeing a bit of the magic half way around the world. Enjoy a taste of Christmas in Amman.

    Our tree is in the same place, as are the 3 snowmen that Grandma made. The lights, decorations, and gifts are nice, but it's God's gift of life that is the magic of Christmas.

    We miss you and love you. Mom

  2. Miss You Beth..especially around this time of year when we were always able to get together.
    Love, Linds

  3. Machallah, my hubby is from Egypt which has the largest population of christians in the arab world. So he is very familiar with X-mas as well he even calls Santa Baba Noel. I always get nostalgic this time of year as well.