A Goodbye letter to my second home; Jordan

Ibrahim Al Balushi
7 min readSep 7, 2021


Dated: 7 September 2016. A goodbye letter to Jordan originally published on my personal Facebook.

And so, my supposedly 5-day trip to Jordan ended after 5 years.

[disclosure: Goodbyes are hard. But must be done so you can fully leave a place and be fully present for the next chapter. I couldn’t delay my flight more as I usually do, so excuse me for not seeing everyone]

2011, it was Summer, my mother moved to do her PHD’s, and my father was coming here for a visit. They both graduated from Jordan 30+ years ago.

He asked if I wanted to join. I disliked leaving home (imagine!), but might as well see the country they blabbered about all their lives.
I made my father promise me; it was only 5 days we’re staying in Jordan. He said yes, “5 days, what else are we going to do?”. [It’s not like you decide to visit a country for a week and accidentally ending up graduating there, am I right?]

So onto Jordan, talking to their old friends here and there, we discovered GJU. Discovering that the thing I loved all my life is called “Design”; and it doesn’t exist at home. I already started Uni a year earlier in Oman.

We decided I’ll apply, nothing to lose, at the least I could escape my DAAD scholarship for IT in Oman. I can do my mind later.

I got accepted, while in Oman, and I felt it was a risk I should take; lose my scholarship and take a plunge to Jordan expecting nothing more than a semester (or max a year) then hopefully moving or winning another scholarship to a heavenly country like Germany or the US. It became the best blind risk I have ever taken.

One year led to another, one person led to another, and before I knew it I stand today 5 years later, on the very last day in Jordan, here at the airport. Mind-blown.

What was Jordan?

It was ugly. It was hell.

After the first few months, or a year, the euphoria starts to wear off and you fall head first to the smoggy weather, dirty streets, angry people, expensive everything, annoying teenagers, freezing winters, and traffic. Enough to say I was nearly assassinated in my own goddamn garage, and I still half-expect to see blood stains on my neighbours Prius (amen wa aman, ah?)…

Jordan was hell.

But it was 5 years of beautiful, gorgeous hell.

You see, I met people, I met humans, I met most of all strangers; who knew nothing about me yet trusted me. The corny police jokes, the paramedics who laughed at each other, the doctor’s humour in near death-situations, security guards who shared stories and wars from my own home country they fought in, people in cars twice the price of my car remarking loudly how rich I am because of my 8 year old car, the sarcastic mechanics, the taxi drivers, the Arab Community College lecturers (for some reason), and of course it all started with that one person in a black Charger who stopped for me after a bad day and after my car got punctured badly in Madaba and stood by my side all the way to the mechanic.

You see Jordan was all the people I met, that helped me and shared my memories both here and in cities I can hardly pronounce in Germany; making a country so huge feel so small. I’ll never be grateful enough for the people, friends, lecturers and strangers that I have met in those 5 years.

I have already lived 2 months outside of Amman and I know exactly what to expect. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up at home, and do you know what I’ll miss in the morning?

How Amman looks like Minas Tirith, how beautiful are the roads in Ajloun, how close yet far Palestine flickers in the night, how hard it snowed, how depressing the sand storms were. I’ll miss waiting for the taxi under the whistling trees in Tabarbour and Jubaiha, the cold juice after a long day of climbing stairs in Downtown, the warm coffee offered by a family in Marka (Allah yer7amha), the soft ma3mool in a cozy room in Wiesbaden, the curvy barren roads of Madaba, how long the bus rides in India were, the way my T-square hardly fitted in my old Subaru. I’ll miss those details, the small ones, when I used to walk or drive around Amman, which is a city I know now more than my home.

I know it would be slightly more difficult, not this week, but after a few months or years; when I start remembering even more of those little moments, of Fairouz in the morning radio, or an old Coldplay song playing on the way to Madaba, when a low-flying F16 passes by, when a howitzer is parked on the side of the highway in the darkness. Or when I pass by the various people who speak with dialects people living in Amman speak. The enchilada’s, Vapiano, the tasty burritos in the last rainy night in Munich. It would be painful when I see the same cars we used to share, the same we used to drive with, the same cars I saw people parking and the same cars we got ticketed by the Police. The Skoda we shared in Poland, or the stickered Ford in Frankfurt, the Audi I drove to Leipzig, or the BMW we nearly dropped off a cliff in Salzburg’s castle, or the convertible under a gloomy rainy summer day in Munich. Perhaps too when I see Frankfurt’s skyline in the news, of Berlin’s wall in a documentary, how the trees danced outside my room when I woke up in Leipzig, the creaky stairs of Markenbau, of the RedMix we received in a train in Mainz, everyone in Würzburg, that guy who sold us KitiKat ice cream in a petrol station in Wroclaw, and perhaps the most, how wet the roads were climbing in the chilly nights into Friedrich-Naumenn.

I guess I found out after all, Jordan was heaven.

Disguised as hell.

And if I were to sin to start again in Jordan, I’ll sin a thousand times.
I love to return the first day in Jordan, seeing all of you yet knowing nothing of your names, of your faces, of what you liked and what annoyed you and knowing nothing of your dreams. Knowing nothing of Jordan, trusting the taxi drivers to take me home safely. I love to return to the first day waking up with the music playing from the gas trucks. Ill always remember the first day in GJU, arriving late and sitting in a class with strangers I have no idea who and what they were in mid September 2011 (funny, I never could have imagined that those became friends I could never imagine living without). It was slightly windy, the birds chirped different, there were lots of trees, and ducks quacking, and an annoying accent barrier. I love and always remember the first time we set foot in Jubiha, Madaba or in SABE. I’d do it again, a million times with this same outcome where I stand today, with the same people and the same university and the same lecturers.

But alas, like all my favourite books, a day will eventually come that you realize it’s time to turn the last page, because there is always so much more than the page or chapter you are holding on to, that to have a happy ending you should end the book and move on when the time comes, so the memories will stay pure. I know after this we will fade out of each other’s life, of each others chapters, perhaps never to be on the same page again. But remember to me at least, all of you have a very special place in my heart, in my memory, in a place where I’ll even hate to admit how much you all mean to me; how you all challenged me and changed me. And taught me to love everything that is different. It’s not the future that bothers me; it’s the living, without seeing your faces and listening to your voices around me. It’s the small memories and perks we remind each other off. It is the flashbacks that will make me both smile and shed a tear.

I love how around me, I have seen many people starting new stories and finishing the dreams I knew they had a few years ago. I’m excited to leave Jordan, excited for the whole other world to live and write new pages in. It is time to leave this “home” I got very used to.

Home, as I found out, is a city you wake up and feel your mind, heart and soul roam in peace.

Sometimes, it’s OK to have two homes. Or a few more, small ones, scattered around the world.

You just have to live with that bitter-sweet pain, that parts of your heart are missing every night; in the right places, and in the right people

Until we meet again,

اللّهم إنّى أحمدك على كل قضائك وجميع قدرِك. اللهم أنت الأعلم بما هو خير لي.
والحمدُ لله رب العالمين.



Ibrahim Al Balushi

Industrial & Exhibition Designer. Ex-Traveler. Interested in Islamic aesthetics, languages, museums, culture, mental clarity and chai