First of all, I've had a lot of questions about my last post. My friend passed away a few hours after I posted that. Ashleigh was an incredible example to me of what true charity, patience, and love is. We had planned to be roommates this summer after I got back and before we both started our careers. I can not possibly imagine what her family is going through. I know that this experience has taken a toll on me and I am so far removed from it here and surrounded by constant reminders of Christ and his atonement. I consider myself so blessed as I deal with the sadness of losing a good friend, removed from the support group that has formed in Provo, to know that Christ came and willing laid down his life so that we can have not only an existence after this mortal journey, but a life surrounded by loved ones. I know that our Father wouldn't have called her home so suddenly if she hadn't completed her mission here. I had the opportunity to visit the pool of Siloam right after I found out. Christ healed the blind man here, and it was so poignant to me as I sat there how in control Christ and our Father are. Ashleigh could have been healed, I'm sure of it. But I'm also sure that it wasn't the Lord's will and I'm going to trust in that knowledge.
Ok Petra = mind blowing. Camels = wicked cool! Ellie = exhausted!
The day after Petra found us in Amman, the capital of Jordan. We got an incredibly early start to go see the sights around town. First stop - the citadel of Amman, basically the old city. When we got there, I honestly had no idea what I was looking at: a couple cool ruins, some big signs in Arabic, some touristy walkways. We meandered through with Eeah pointing out highlights. Finally we turned a corner and I was looking at a real Roman temple... well what was left of it. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the magnitude of the temple. I'm such a sucker for ancient beauty. The Temple of Hercules. I couldn't get enough... but believe it or not, that was only small potatoes compared to what was to come the rest of the day!
I think the next place we went was the Jordanian Museum. Honestly, so much has happened since the trip, it's a bit blurry. At the museum we were greeted by the curator and set free to explore. It was very similar to the Israel museum, on a much smaller scale. And lots of pottery... it makes me sad that ancient pottery is literally becoming an everyday phenomenon to me. But it's true... one of my professors said the sights literally bleed pottery and he couldn't be more right!
Next up - Jerash - the oldest, best preserved Roman city. Words can not describe the feelings I got there! At first it seemed like every other Tel, plus a cool gate. Our guides decided to pit the two buses against one another, and I was elected (despite my aggressive protesting that I have no speed, just distance in my short lil' legs) to run a race against the other bus. Thankfully, there were 2 of us representing and the other girl pulled through for our bus! After the racing we went to the amphitheater. Wow. That's all I can say! There were bagpipers playing the tune of Praise to the Man as we walked in, and pretty soon our group had taken over the stage. Heather sang, and then a couple groups sang, and then the bag pipes started again... and soon we were dancing all around the stage! I danced and sang in a Roman Amphitheater!! I'm pretty sure that life does not get more surreal than that! The rest of exploring Jerash was incredible... I don't have time or attention span to get it all in. But just imagine a city the size of 2 BYU campuses probably, covered in columns, elaborate carvings, and the ghosts of the people who inhabited the streets lurking around the corners.
|This was in the colonnade circle... just like in Hercules!|
Next day real quick. We went to a mosque... I can't remember which one, but they had made special arrangements for us to take a tour. Eeah was so wonderful at explaining what happens and the Muslim view of different things, I think my entire group was in reverence of the thoughts of mosques. Plus, we got/had to dress like Muslims out of respect. That was quite the experience! I'm never complaining about Mormon modesty again!!!
Then we went to the River Jordan where Christ was baptized. I won't spend a ton of time describing it, it was an incredibly spiritual experience for me! But as we were reading the account in the scriptures, just as we were talking about the Holy Ghost, sitting on the banks of the river, a flock of doves flew overhead. What a neat experience. I'm sure they are kept there for the tourists... but it was a wonderful effect and one I will never forget!
|I took a bit of a dip in the River :)|
Ok, there are the very briefest of highlights from the Jordan Trip. It was an incredible experience and I am honestly in love with that country!! I'm beginning to think I would not mind spending a few years in this region on a work assignment. I might have to work towards that!