Our First Week in Amman

We arrived in Amman just over a week ago, and we’re slowly getting into a rhythm for how we’ll spend our time here.  We flew out of Nashville to Chicago, and then had a direct 12 hour red eye from Chicago to Amman that went surprisingly well.  Remy fell asleep for about 6 hours on Greg’s lap, and we found various ways to keep him entertained the rest of the time, including some of these great ideas about traveling with a toddler.  Our attempt at traveling as light as possible came out to on one checked bag per person, our carry ons (with our study/work necessities included), Remy’s stroller, and of course, his potty seat;)jordan-blog05
When we arrived, there was a man waiting to take us into town, which is about 45 minutes away.  We piled into his small car and quickly realized seat belts were not the norm here.  Nor are car seats.  Remy rides on my lap anytime we take a taxi, which is usually at least once a day.  On the highway heading into Amman, we passed cars with children piled in the back seat hanging their arms out the window.  And then we passed an Ikea, and then a half dozen camels and a shepherd with his herd just a kilometer down the highway.  It was the perfect introduction to this interesting city.  To be honest, I knew very little of what to expect.  I’ve never been to the Middle East and all I carried with me were my assumptions about day-to-day life in an Arab city.  We chose Amman because it is the best option for Greg to be immersed in both the language and the culture, getting every opportunity possible to use his Arabic, and it is a safe city unlike other countries bordering us. What I’m quickly learning is that its a city of sensory overload.  So much to see, so much to take in.  We’re currently living in Jabal Weibdeh, one of the oldest districts in town with steep winding streets overlooking the city center.  Being in this area has allowed for us to truly get a sense of what life looks like for the locals. Our guest house was originally built for a member of the Ottoman army over 100 years ago and still has many of the original aspects to it, including these floors…
Maison Everett Blog | Amman, Jordan Maison Everett Blog | Amman, Jordan Maison Everett in Jordan, Maison Everett travels in Amman
It’s quickly becoming routine to stop for a cappuccino and fresh apricot juice at our favorite spot up the road, Rumi Cafe…
Maison Everett Blog | Amman, Jordan
The facades of most homes and buildings are white limestone.  Greg and I both agreed it reminded us of parts of Greece we’ve visited.  The city is built around various hills so in the evening as the sun sets, the homes built into the sides of the hills glimmer with light, and its so very beautiful to see.  We can walk down the winding streets to the center of downtown in about 15 minutes. It is there where you get the most authentic Arab experience from anywhere else in the city.  It is loud, busy, and full of people who will stop to look at you if you are clearly not from around here;)  And everyone, men and women young and old, stop to pinch Remy’s cheeks or offer a smile to him. There is a vegetable souq (market) where vendors yell back and forth with competing prices trying to get customers to buy from them.  There’s some of the best falafel and kanafeh you’ll ever eat in your  life.  And its all right off the street – nothing fancy but oh so very delicious.Maison Everett in Jordan, Maison Everett travels in Amman
Maison Everett in Jordan, Maison Everett travels in Amman
Another district up the hill opposite of us from downtown is called Jabal Amman.  It’s an area we’ve really grown to enjoy with wider streets and large side walks shaded with beautiful trees.  I didn’t expect there to be much greenery in this desert land but where they do have it, it is quite beautiful.
Maison Everett in Jordan, Maison Everett travels in Amman Maison Everett in Jordan, Maison Everett travels in Amman

There are things that remind me of home where I find comfort, such as the garden and grounds of our guest house, the cafe up the road with freshly made juices and coffee, the kindness of the people both here at the house and on the street, the American friends we’ve connected and gotten to spend time with so far. But there are challenges as well.  The language barrier is the most obvious, and Greg is doing a great job utilizing his knowledge of it wherever we go.  While he’s in his lessons, I often times feel helpless when I want to run into the grocery or stop by the market to pick something up.  And I don’t take taxis without him so Remy and I are limited to our little area of town while he’s away.  I’d say having a toddler is probably the most challenging aspect for us yet.  It’s our first time traveling out of the states since becoming parents, and we’re learning  that the way we used to travel without a little one isn’t necessarily the most practical way to travel with one.  We’re trying to figure out how our every day lifestyle should look so that we’re able to get the most out of our time here.  For example, we don’t have air conditioning (and the high today was 99 degrees!).  And we don’t have our own kitchen to be able to cook meals while Greg goes to his lessons for the late afternoon/evenings.  It means I am trying to figure out how to feed Remy and myself without eating falafel every single night;)  Not being able to speak or read the language leaves me with limited options (most signs in our neighborhood are only in Arabic, very little English).  So while we are truly enjoying this city and its people, it doesn’t come without its unique set of hardships that are growing and shaping us – and making us quite thankful for little things we take for granted back home.  Please feel free to drop a note or say hello if you’re reading this. It means a lot to hear from friends and family since that is an obvious thing we miss dearly from our lives this side of the pond!  Enjoy the day. xoxo, holly.

PS – follow along with me on instagram for day-to-day images of our time: @maisoneverett

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  1. Kyah

    Your pics are beautiful and I’m feeling for you particularly on the challenge of getting around when you aren’t with Greg… That would be the hardest for me…feeling a little trapped if i had to wait for Dustin to get back from his work so we could really get out and do things when we travel. Most of the places we go, there are a lot of English speakers (even Asia). But you are getting such an amazing experience! Try to remember that it all is incredibly romantic and many of us are lusting over the cool memories you get to make!

    1. Holly Post author

      Kyah, thank you for the kind words and encouragement! Yes, the language is the biggest challenge but the longer I’m here the more I’m realizing everyone is patient and kind to us…so for that I’m so thankful! Hope you and your crew are doing well in Nashville. xo

  2. Magan Cavalier

    Holly! Love reading your thoughts and seeing your beautiful pictures! Life overseas is definitely an adjustment, that will take time, but you will get used to. I’ve been in China 3 years now (and had my almost 2 year old here). I know just your sentiments of adjusting to traveling with a child…life is no longer just your own, but a shared experience with your precious (and weaker link) Remy. Enjoy the slower moments of afternoon naps and stock up on fruits and snacks for the house if you can! Lifting up your time, that it may be a great blessing and time of growth for each of you!

    1. Holly Post author

      Hi Magan, thank you for the sweet comment! I bet its been a big adjustment for you in China, but how incredible to have that time with your family. I hope y’all are enjoying it. And great idea on the fruits and snacks…I’ve found a great market that I can do just that:) Enjoy the day, xoxo

  3. Anna

    Hey holly! Just wanted to say I’m thinking about you and love seeing all the pics of Jordan! I made falafel and pita bread a few nights ago- you inspired me! I’m home with Frances this year so it’s definitely an adjustment but such a joy. I hope you can find an AC unit:-) have a great day!

    1. Holly Post author

      Hi sweet Anna! Thanks for taking the time to say hi:) I hope the falafel and pita turned out well. I’m going to make that a staple in our home when we return. They eat it for breakfast with fresh coleslaw, tomatoes and mint leaves here – it is delicious. Enjoy your time home with Frances. It is a transition but one you’ll appreciate so very much I know. Love to you and your crew.

  4. Jeannine Dixon

    I admire your bravery and frankness in this blog. It seems like you are championing through the tough times and appreciating the beauty of your surroundings. Stay safe. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Holly Post author

      Thank you for the kind words, Jeannine. I try to be honest and not pretend everything is perfect(because let’s face it – no travel ever is;) We’re really enjoying our time here though even with the challenges! I hope you are well back home. Enjoy the day, xoxo

  5. Vanessa

    Just read your latest update! I love hearing about your life adventures and appreciate your honesty and your perspective as usual. You are an insightful beautiful wife and mother that amazes me daily. Your love and dedication to your family overwhelms me. You are doing an amazing job. Continue to have patience with yourself and always listen to your womanly instincts:) Sending you love and patience! xo

    1. Holly Post author

      Love you, Vanessa! Thank you for the encouraging comment. I’m so glad to stay connected with you and the family through sharing our story. Keep me updated with how you and your crew are as well. We’ll officially be in Houston starting next June. I like to think that means we’ll see y’all at some point whenever you make it to visit Cassie! xoxo

  6. Brittany

    Hi Holly! I’m reading your blog from Morocco (although I’m from Alabama). I am in a similar situation (alone all day and trying to navigate the city), and I have found the Google Translate app to be a huge help. If I am looking for something specific, I can type it into the app and it will show the Arabic translation. The guys around here get a kick out of me holding up my phone while TRYING to speak Arabic .

    Stay strong and patient, and remember that the time will quickly so enjoy it! I look forward to reading about all your adventures!

    1. Holly Post author

      Wow, Morocco! I want to visit there so badly:) How long have you been there? How is it being from the South in such a new place? (so many more questions I could ask!). I love that you’re reading from over there. Anyway, the Google Translate is a wonderful tip…thank you for sharing! And thank you for the encouragement. I hope y’all have a great week. xoxo

  7. Brittany Comeaux

    Loved reading about your travels. I think I purposefully check in on your Instagram almost every other day to see how things are going (and live vicariously through you). I’ve been keeping you and your family in my prayers. And I hope the difficulties will soon fade into part of a beautiful and happy routine.

    Oh, and I love the juxtaposition of the Ikea and camels on the same highway. Sounds amazing.

    1. Holly Post author

      Hey Brittany! Thank you for your comment and encouraging words. I appreciate the prayers. We are feeling them from all of you back home. Hope everything is going well for you (and your pregnancy…not too much longer now, right?!). And yes, so many funny juxtapositions over here. Greg and I joke that we could start a blog just about that;) xoxo

  8. Debby Meeks

    Selfishly, I am enjoying the rocking chair view of your travels and pictures…I pray for your safety and enjoyment of this special time in your lives. It’s amazing.


    1. Holly Post author

      Thank you for the comment and for your prayers, Debby! I hope all is well at home for you and your crew.

  9. Charlie

    Hey Holly, so glad y’all are doing well. What a remarkable time, place, experience! Enjoy! -Charlie

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