Saturday, February 4, 2012

Final Day in Jordan

We had a few hours of free time both nights that we stayed in Amman. Too much time on a bus and the prospect of a new, unexplored city led us to make the most of our free time. The first night we walked to a main street of Amman, where we found some boys our age or so rollerblading. We decided to stop and watch for a while, and we were not disappointed in our decision. What we at first thought was just a group of kids messing around on rollerblades, turned into a full on production for us complete with one of the boys jumping objects eight or nine feet high. (If you read this Morgan, think JSRF :) We were really impressed, and enjoyed spending time with people our age. We talked to them before we left, and found out that the boy who had been doing most of the tricks is actually sponsored by Red Bull, and competes in all the competitions in Jordan! So that was a cool surprise.

The guy who's sponsored by RedBull is in the white sweatshirt. The girl who's horrible at rollerblading is in the yellow one.
The second night we consulted the concierge for things to do in Amman. Sadly, there weren’t many options available at 8:00 pm on a Wednesday night for honor-code-abiding students. However, he told us of “Rainbow Street,” where we could find shops and good ice cream. It didn’t take much more convincing than that, and we had a splendid night exploring the most tourist-y of tourist shops and antique stores. As well as our ice cream, which did not disappoint.

After our night on the town, waiting for our taxi.

On our final day in Jordan we visited a Roman Theater, which was an extension of the Roman citadel we had visited earlier in Amman. This theater was huge!

Really, really huge.

While there, a bunch of us girls cheoreographed (possibly an overstatement, as this process took less than two minutes) and performed “What Dreams are Made Of” from, yes, the Hillary Duff movie. She sings it at the end of the movie in a theater similar to the one we were at, so we saw it to be fitting. Dr. Huntsman caught it on camera, and the link is below. Look for the girl in a yellow sweatshirt in the upper right hand (stage left) corner.

After our riveting performance, we moved into a smaller theater to sing hymns. We sing hymns at almost every sight we go to. As everyone reading this knows, I really enjoy singing, and thus I appreciate how much we incorporate music into what we’re doing. Not only because I think it’s fun sight-singing the alto part, but because music has the power to bring a whole new spiritual aspect to a setting. There’s a lot of power in ninety people singing lyrics in praise of our Heavenly Father. I’m also learning to actually concentrate on the meaning of the words we sing, rather than just getting through the words. For instance:

“And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in. That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, he bled and died, to take away my sin. Then sings my soul! My savior God to Thee – how great Thou art.” Looking at the lyrics like text make them all the more powerful. “My burden gladly bearing…” is probably my favorite line. Because it’s true- I scarce can take in the love God and His Son has for each one of us.

After eight hymns we left the theater, and were lucky enough to enjoy a miracle. Or just about. For lunch, we got KFC and Pepsi!! They drain all the blood out of the meat here to obey the Mosaic law, so none of the meat is very good. Thus, getting a little taste of home was a real blessing. My first caffeine in a month was also more of a blessing than I’d like to admit. :)

I think the pure joy is evident on my face

Finally, tragically, we had to make our way home. But before leaving Jordan, we stopped at the Jordan River to see the baptism site of Jesus Christ. This land is full of surprises and breaking down assumptions, and this was no different. Whenever I’ve imagined the site of Christ’s baptism, I always imagine a large, blue river. The Jordan River is no such river. Perhaps it was 2000 years ago, but today it’s a small brown river that wouldn’t seem significant, had such an important event not occurred there. So we sang more hymns at the site and then got some time to read our scriptures and do our own contemplation. Those are some of my favorite times. We usually have fairly tight schedules when we’re on field trips, so moments to do our own self-discovery in our own time become treasured. I used my time to go through each of the Gospels and read their respective accounts of the baptism. It was a beautiful experience. 

Studying the scriptures by the river (Thanks to Dr. Huntsy for the picture)

Standing in front of the Jordan River. Excuse the weird expression on my face. Do, however, notice how brown the water is. Different that you'd expect, eh?

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