40+ volunteers, staff members, JBU students and alumni are in Northern Jordan for 4 weeks at the Abila Archaeological Project.
Earlier this week, our excavation crew traveled to base camp in Harta, a village in northern Jordan. Gradually, our bodies are adjusting to jet lag, late nights of talking on the rooftop, and waking up at 4 a.m. to excavate. With the help of afternoon naps and Turkish coffee, we’re finding our rhythm.
As a returning staff member, I enjoy seeing JBU students encounter Jordan for the first time. They approach each experience with a certain sense of magic. Their thoughtful questions and energetic comments bring back memories of why I first fell in love with this place.
Watching students gaze up at Corinthian columns and crawl into tombs reminds me how exciting it felt to touch pieces of history I’d only read about in textbooks. Standing in line at shawarma shops reminds me how savory my first bite of chicken tasted. Hearing students yell “yalla” as they pass soccer balls to neighborhood children reminds me how rewarding it felt to pronounce new Arabic phrases.
Although I can’t replicate my own first experience in Jordan, these students have given me a weighty gift: a lesson in how to see a place freshly, how to live in awe of this beautiful world and its ordinary moments.