An Excerpt from Michelle Jones’ Blog: A Sojourners Heart (Azusa Pacific University, California)
It’s crazy how quickly a couple of weeks can pass. Tomorrow, I will have been living in Jordan for a full month. So much has happened, and the semester is in full swing. I was partly hoping that I could spend all of my time here drinking delicious coffee and exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, but alas, I am studying abroad. But even with the endless academic workload (which I am grateful for), there is still a bit of time for some adventure.
Two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Petra! Its name literally means “rock,” which is fitting, as Petra is a city of rocks. It is also one of the seven wonders of the world…no big deal. I had visited for a short time on a previous trip, but was only able to see a tiny sliver of all that the city has to offer. Petra is so much more than The Treasury (the famous facade featured inIndiana Jones and The Last Crusade…I actually spent a lot of the time imagining I was Dr. Jones himself) – while it is beautifully grand, there are also mountains to climb and caves to explore and bedouins to drink tea with. Just about the most refreshing and exhilarating thing for me is to find a quiet cliff with a beautiful view, and I was delightfully surprised to experience this in what I previously thought to be a busy tourist destination.
In addition to quiet cliffs and beautiful views, a couple of other refreshing/exhilarating things up there for me are 1. hopping around on rocks and 2. playing in water (I attribute this to a childhood full of rocks to hop around on and water to play in). I found these things at Wadi Mujib, which is a hiking trail in a long canyon with a waterfall at the end…which means the whole trail is full of water. On the way up, you are basically spending all of your strength on trying not to be knocked over by the current, but at the same time trying to look up at the beauty engulfing you. After arriving at the waterfall and chilling under it with some fellow hikers, I was able to float on my back and let the water carry me for much of the way back down. This day left me with the same blissful and contented sleepiness that a day at the beach usually gives me…very much needed after being land locked in a desert climate for nearly a month! All that was missing was a good San Diego quality burrito.
I am thankful to have weekends full of wanderlust satisfying activities…these sorts of things are what help me get through the week of late nights studying Arabic and reading up on challenging subjects, one of which is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I came into the semester with very little knowledge on this subject, which is actually working in my favor. I think it is helping me look at the conflict with an unbiased perspective; I am not learning about the situation in order to support a position I already hold on it, but because I really just need to learn about it. It is also a topic that carries so much hurt on both sides, which makes the long lectures and readings all the more difficult. The emotional challenges and complexity of the subject, however, are what make it so rich and engaging.
There is so much more I could write, but my time and wifi are limited.