Monday, December 30, 2013

Mom and Dad LeBlanc visit

I write this as Robert is dropping mom and dad off at the airport.  I am feeling so sad that they have left, but so grateful and happy that they came to see us and to see our life here in Amman.   It is always so nice when family come to visit.  Their visit was 11 days and boy did that fly by!  We had such a great, fun and relaxing time with them.  We shared lots of conversation, parties, laughter and food.  Here are a few pictures of our highlights of their trip.

We drove out to Madaba, a lovely town about 30km away from Amman.  Its attraction is an ancient mosaic map that is believed to be the oldest map of the Holy Land in the world.  It truly is a fantastic, well preserved piece of history.




Mum and Dad by the map :)



Because 25% of Jordan's population is Christian, Christmas is celebrated here.  We have all been surprised at how Christmassy it is here!  Supermarkets, shops and malls all play Christmas music.  Stores and restaurants are decorated.  Here is Mum with Santa at our favourite restaurant in Jordan, Haret Jdoudna.  Here is the website so check it out because when you come and visit us, we will take you here:    http://www.haretjdoudna.com





And of course, Madaba is quite famous for its rugs.  Thankfully, we didn't buy one this time round.  We have lots of rugs now.  Although, Robert says we could always have more.


We took Mom and Dad to our favourite fast food joint on Rainbow Street - Fatatri.  


We had 3 Egyptian pizzas, oooh, and a desert Nutella and banana one.  We were all very full and satisfied with what we had eaten.




We stopped off to buy some gifts.  We got our nieces and nephew our favourite camels from this shop.  Mom also bought the kids some Azeeza the Anti-Litter Goat books.  Our friend's mom is the author of these books and an environmental activist for Jordan.


Christmas Day was such a fun day!  We shared the cooking between two families.  We made the ham, veggies and yorkshire puds and the Tate's made the turkey, stuffing and gravy.  Theron's dad made some delicious appetizers and Robert's dad provided the wine!  It was a great day with everyone contributing something.  



The fire was going all day and the place looked lovely and Christmassy.



Our apartment became so festive thanks to Mom who is the expert hostess.  Her attention to detail was amazing and I could not have done this without her.  We had so much fun decorating all the statues with hats and ribbons.


We even added people's names on to the Christmas tree balls :)




Our family away from family, Theron and Lindsey.  Such lovely people and great friends.


Theron is a great chef and he took great care of the turkey!  He makes an awesome one :-)


Haydon is their 2 year old son who is just delightful!  He really enjoyed chilling in front of the fire with the Ipad.  He is one of the best kids I know.


 Here's a very pregnant me.  Still in good spirits considering I had been on my feet all day!







The Tate's and The LeBlanc's 


On Boxing Day, Robert took Mom and Dad down to Petra.  I didn't join them on this trip on doctors orders.  On the way, they stopped off at Karak Castle,  which is an ancient crusader castle built in AD1142.  


There's the castle on the hill.  They didn't get to explore it due to the time, so we will save it for their next visit.


They arrived in Petra quite late.  They checked into their hotel and went out for some food.  Then it all went pear shaped.  Robert and Dad ate something spicy that was bad so they both had a tummy bug.  Also, the hotel "La Maison" was very noisy so no one got a good night sleep.  Needless to say, everyone was so tired the next day.  I spoke to Robert over the phone and encouraged him to stay one extra night in order for Mom and Dad to see Petra.  I thought it so sad to go all the way down there only to come back without seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world.  Thankfully, they moved hotels and stayed one extra night.  Mom and Dad got a guide to take them into Petra and Robert rested at the hotel as the tummy bug had hit him hard.  The next day, they returned to Amman with a stop off in Shobak (another Crusader castle) and the Dead Sea.  It was too cold to go in the Dead Sea so they didn't get to experience the floating, but next time, they will.

Shobak Castle was built in AD 1115.









The Dead Sea Museum is such an interesting place to visit.  It is free to enter and always devoid of people.  There were 7 people here this day and that included Mom, Dad and Robert.


These stencils illustrate how the Dead Sea is shrinking so my advice is get to Jordan quickly before it shrinks entirely and you never get to experience such an odd, but fun sensation!



I ADORE this picture! 


  And this one :)




If only I was on this trip, I would have asked this young boy if I could have sat on the donkey and posed for a Mary and Joseph shot.  It would have been next years Christmas card picture :-)


Goat herder on the the King's Highway, one of the world's oldest highways and is even mentioned in the bible.  Check out this link for more information on the King's Highway: 




A lovely picture of Mom and Dad by the Dead Sea.



Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Mom and Dad in Petra so I'll have to wait until they can send me a few.


On Our final day together, we took Mom and Dad to a nice restaurant overlooking the Citadel.  One of my previous posts is all about Wild Jordan, the shop.   I said we'd eat in the cafe one day, and we did with Mom and Dad.  The food was pretty good.  Although, Dad, Mom and I ordered something with avocado and that wasn't very good.  I haven't had much luck with avocados in this country, which is a shame because I love avocados!

Here are Meme and Pepe with their 5th grandchild.




Look at those lovely LeBlanc smiles!!!!  We love you Mom and Dad xxxx Thanks for coming to see us xxxx







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