We arrived at our hotel a little before 6 am. After a quick night's sleep (4 hours), we awoke to prepare for our first day at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), the host of our visit to Jordan. We met with the university President, the Dean of the Engineering program, and our faculty partners. Both presidents from CLC and Joliet Junior College gave presentations, followed by a delicious lunch of pita, humus, babaganush, rice, lamb, chicken and a honey almond type cake. I also got a chance to try Arabic coffee. Because it is so strong and concentrated, it is served very small cups. It is bitter and seasoned with cardamom.
While I very much enjoyed our visit to the JUST campus, I did find myself feeling very exposed in comparison to the sea of female students and administrators in hijabs. I didn't have a scarf with me as I did the previous day but I found myself wishing I had. Everyone was very welcoming and I was reassured that what I wore was fine, but I couldn't help but feel a little awkward at all the attention the presence of our group brought while walking around campus. I will need to give some thought to whether to wear the dress I planned to wear tomorrow.
After lunch, we had a tour of the spacious JUST campus, changed our clothes at the hotel, and then went to Umm Quays, which is a village in the north of Jordan that borders Israel and the Golan Heights. Umm Quays was formerly Gadarenes, which was the site of Jesus casting the spirits of the demon possessed man into a herd of pigs which ran off a cliff and drowned (Mark 5:1) into the sea. Knowing the history of this location only added to the exhilaration of our visit. We arrived about an hour from sundown which made some amazing views of the valleys and rolling mountainsides. The highlight for me, however, was laying my eyes on the Sea of Galilee.
After returning from Umm Quays, we stopped for some shopping and then headed back to the hotel and out for dinner. Although we had intended to eat at a local restaurant around the corner from the hotel, the size of our group was too much for the restaurant and so began our search for another suitable place to eat. After walking a bit, we ended up at restaurant where we at a variety of delicious family style dishes. By the time we finished, it was 11:30 pm. This is not a time I would normally be eating dinner, but surprisingly--like Spain--it is common for people to be eating so late. I do hope, however, that we do get to eat a little earlier tomorrow. It's 1 am now and I have a feeling that I'm going to have a hard time getting up at 7 am.