At the end of March, I returned to Jordan for the first time since leaving Peace Corps. It was a whirlwind few days, but I am so happy I got to see some of the most important people to me, even for only a short time.
I arrived late Thursday evening and spent the first night in Amman. Friday morning I spent wandering Amman and reacquainting myself with surroundings that used to be so familiar.
A couple of other Jordan RPCVs were also in town, and we all met up for dinner on Friday evening.
Saturday morning I got up early, rented a car, and drove south to my village. I did not tell anyone that I was coming, and so I was just hoping that everyone would be there. I surprised myself by knowing the way and pulled into my village less than 2 hours after departing from Amman.
A roadblock along the way.
My friend Irena, who is Russian but married to a Jordanian, had built a new house out in the country, outside of town. The perfect reintroduction to village life was the immediate attention the foreign woman driving around town attracted – and the fact that I pulled up to a couple of strangers asked where Irena’s new house is, and instead of telling me, or pointing me in the direction of their new home – these men got into their car, and led me to her house. That is true Jordanian hospitality at its finest.
Irena was home and was shocked, but happy, to see me. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening visiting and catching up on life over the past 5 years. One of the best days of 2014 so far.
In the five years since I left Jordan, her family grew by an additional person! Baby Maya is now 10 months old.
I couldn’t believe how much the other children had grown. Mira, who was just 3 months old when I finished Peace Corps, is now in Kindergarten.
In the afternoon Irena and I baked some Russian desserts while catching up. I just loved being back in her kitchen and spending time together – talking about Jordan, America, Russian and Ukraine.
And ate delicious homemade Jordanian food.
Sunday morning I woke up early, and after having tea and breakfast with Irena, I headed to my old center to visit the teachers and students I had worked with for over two years.
Teachers and students. So many memories.
Sunday afternoon I got back in my car and drove back to Amman. In the evening I met up with my friend Reem for wine and sheesha. We spent more than 5 hours catching up. A perfect last evening in Jordan.