Fear, or, My Public Display of Ignorance

When Lyman got an email from King’s Academy about a history position, he asked me what I thought about pursuing a job in Jordan. My first response? “Absolutely NOT!” Of course, that answer came from what I thought was a place of fear, but really, it was ignorance.

I’ve traveled a lot, but mostly in Europe and Asia. All I knew about Jordan was that it was next to Israel, Syria and Iraq. Not places that give the Middle Eastern ignoramus the warm fuzzies. We’d already read about the school, which sounded amazing, but it was in Jordan. JORDAN! So, like the obsessive researcher that I am, I started reading everything I could find on the Middle East. I started with the news. That may not have been the best idea. Then I moved on to blogs. Better, but very limited. Lyman and I both read King Abdullah’s book “Our Last Best Chance” and it was an extraordinary eye-opener for both of us. We’ve bought and devoured every guide book on the area and are slogging our way through Pimsleur Arabic. We’ve talked with everyone we know who has lived or worked in the Middle East (and there are an amazing number of them).

Yes, the Middle East is volatile, but the personal experiences we’ve heard from countless friends and family is that Jordan is welcoming, lovely, rich in history, and, as far as the region is concerned, safe. Is it as safe as rural Vermont? Well, I suppose that depends on your perspective. My mother, during her 17 year battle with cancer, often told me not to live in fear because she could just as easily get hit by a truck while crossing the street as die because of cancer. When the boys worry about bombs, missiles, terrorists, what have you, I remind them that we could hit black ice on the way home from skiing and all die in a car accident. Perhaps not the best parenting, but effective. And true.

Will this move be easy? Probably not. Will it be life changing? Most definitely.

xo from VT

10 thoughts on “Fear, or, My Public Display of Ignorance

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you and Lyman and the boys are undertaking this new adventure. Anytime that we choose to leave our comfort zone, we open ourselves up to countless rewards and experiences. I have an aunt and uncle from Cape Cod who are currently working in Saudia Arabia, and they have told me about all the fascinating things they have learned.

    I will be in Vero Beach from April 10 to April 18; let me know if those dates coincide with your annual visit there, if so we can definitely connect.


  2. This sounds fantastic, Rachel! Such an opportunity for your family. And it’s great that you’ve set this blog up so we can have a glimpse of your experience–I look forward to it!

  3. Hi Rachel,

    I found my way to your blog from my blog, and I’m so glad I did! It’s so exciting to hear that you and your family are moving to Jordan! I’ve traveled a lot, but the Middle East (and Jordan in particular) has a special place in my heart. I lived in Amman at the end of 2006. I worked for the Jordan Times and actually covered the opening of King’s Academy for the newspaper. Will you guys be living in Madaba? I had another blog then. I thought you might be interested in some of my posts from the time I was living in Jordan. Here’s a link to something I wrote after visiting King’s Academy: http://stephanie-land.blogspot.com/search?q=i+saw+a+camel. I hope you’ll be blogging about your experience! Best of luck!


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