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Posts by Lydia Shippen

Surprises in Jordan: Rain, Cold, and Scuba

Lydia Shippen is a student at University of North Carolina, Wilmington and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with her Arabic professor at UNC Wilmington. Lydia is currently studying in Amman, Jordan on a Fall 1 program.

This is a sunset in on the Gulf of Aqaba.

Up until the past two weeks, the weather in Amman has been fairly predictable: sunny, dry, and warm.  Things began to change in a drastic way within the last two weeks.  It actually started to rain!  Along with the rain came the sudden cold weather.  My roommates and I find ourselves frequently quoting Al-Kitaab (our Arabic textbook) as we say “Baarid jiddan” (It’s very cold).  The voice from the book will forever be stuck in my head. Read more

Discovering Amman’s Hidden Colors

Lydia Shippen is a student at University of North Carolina, Wilmington and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with her Arabic professor at UNC Wilmington. Lydia is currently studying in Amman, Jordan on a Fall 1 program.

As I mentioned before, at first glance Amman is a city built of cream-colored buildings.  They seem to be stacked upon one another as you scan the horizon.

This is a view of Amman from Jabal Weibdeh, one of the artsy neighborhoods.

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Middle Eastern Hospitality: Tea, Dessert and Dancing

Lydia Shippen is a student at University of North Carolina, Wilmington and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with her Arabic professor at UNC Wilmington. Lydia is currently studying in Amman, Jordan on a Fall 1 program.

Before coming to Amman, many people told me that Jordanians are some of the most hospitable people that they have ever met.  Following that news, I came expecting people to be nice and welcoming, but I honestly did not expect the sheer amount of hospitality that I have experienced!  Within the first few weeks here, my friends and I met a man who owned a hotel in downtown Amman.  He invited us over for tea and we enthusiastically accepted his offer.  The night turned into one of the best nights in Amman as we drank tea on the roof of his hotel that overlooked the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater.  Then we went downstairs where he hosted a Dabkeh dance party.  The Dabkeh is a traditional dance from Jordan, Syria, and Palestine.   Below is a YouTube video of the guys showing us their skills.  Later they taught us all how to dance and we continued the festivities late into the night.

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Jordanian Values: the Individual vs. the Family

I am used to living in a place where, even as a woman, I am encouraged to live and travel on my own. A question that I often receive is “Are you alone here?” The fact that I am a woman traveling without family is mind-boggling to a lot of people.

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In Jordan, Food has Spirit

Lydia Shippen is a student at University of North Carolina, Wilmington and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with her Arabic professor at UNC Wilmington. Lydia is currently studying in Amman, Jordan on a Fall 1 program.

Food is an art here in Jordan.  There is even an Arabic phrase, “Akul Al-Nafas” that means “food of spirit.”   This is used when someone cooks their food with a lot of spirit, love, and character.  A tremendous amount of time and care is taken throughout every step of the process, from washing the food, to cooking it, and then finally to eating the meal.  The passion behind cooking is something that I have seen and experienced in the United States, but in Jordan it takes on a new meaning.  The spices are plentiful, the fruits and vegetables are fresh and organic, and in my opinion everything tastes richer.

This is the ISA students with Balqees, our Arabic professor, enjoying our home-cooked family dinner!

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Tetris, Taxis, and Fairouz in Jordan

Lydia Shippen is a student at University of North Carolina, Wilmington and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with her Arabic professor at UNC Wilmington. Lydia is currently studying in Amman, Jordan on a Fall 1 program.

Amman is a very unique city.  In your first glance you will see tall cream-colored buildings that are built out of stone and cement.  You will experience the chaotic traffic and be afraid of crossing the street, but then you will soon realize that it functions in an organized chaos that can be likened to a game of Tetris.  Even with the pieces moving quickly and fitting into their spaces at the last second, it is surprisingly safe to cross the road.  In addition to the traffic, you will be amazed by the extremely talented taxi drivers.  Many of them multi-task with ease; they can smoke a cigarette, talk on the phone, and drive a manual car while somehow successfully navigating through the traffic.  A simple ride through the city can quickly turn into an adventure.

A picturesque view of Amman and the Jordanian flag.

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Jordan: A Country of Religion and Tradition

Lydia Shippen is a student at University of North Carolina, Wilmington and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with her Arabic professor at UNC Wilmington. Lydia is currently studying in Amman, Jordan on a Fall 1 program.

Salam!

Before arriving in Amman, I had a lot of “book knowledge” about the Arab world but I had not experienced any of it first-hand.  It did not take long after my arrival to Amman to experience the importance of Islam in the Jordanian culture.  On my first night, I unpacked my bags and collapsed, exhausted and jet lagged, into my new bed.  Around five in the morning I was pulled out of my restless sleep by a beautiful and eerie voice floating through window.  It was the morning call to prayer, something that I had only read about in books.  As I lay there listening to the extraordinary voice singing verses from the Quran, I was struck by the devotion that enables one to wake up early to pray and then to repeat the action four more times during the day.

This beautiful white and blue stone mosque is called the King Abdullah Mosque in the center of Amman.

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