Jordan Expat Profile – Laura Rihani, Amman Jordan
The Expat: Laura Rihani
What is your blog url?
Where are you currently living?
Amman, Jordan, Middle East
Going on 4 years
What’s Your Story?
I have been married for 11 years, have 2 childeren (twins Anthony & Alexis) who will be 4 years old this month.
I am self employed, I have my own travel business call Discover Jordan Tours.
I was born in Chicago, Il USA and have lived in serveral countries around the world before landing in Jordan. including London, UK, Amsterdam, Holland and now Jordan.
When and where did you get the idea of living in Jordan?
With my love for traveling – I left the US nearly 12 years ago for a gap year. After experiencing the world and returning to the US life just wasn’t as rewarding as I remember it to be.
About 1 year later I moved to Amsterdam the following year I was offered a job in London as an Events Manager.
I spent the next 8 years in London working as an event manager, but the long hours, high taxes and congestion I new I wasn’t going to last forever!
The turning point was my pregnancy. In Dec 2007 I found out I was pregnant with Twins; for my husband and I (after the shock) we were delighted! It was happy news after 8 years of marriage! But I knew I couldn’t stay in London the thought of raising 2 children in such a big city was frightening!
Call it crazy but I have always loved Jordan. I visited many times and fell in love with the warm and welcoming hospitality of the people, over 300 days of sunshine and food is divine! It was just what I was looking for a more relaxed, family orientated and cultured way of life for my new family.
Within in months, I quit my job in London, got on a plane and came to Jordan. Months later I gave birth to my twins in July 24 2008, in Jordan and have not looked back. I was amazed at the quality of care and hospital facilities it surely surpassed any hospital I have seen in the UK or bill I would have paid in the states!
We have been living in Jordan for almost 4 years. Now I am proud to say I have Jordanian Citizenship.
How’s your Arabic?
It’s improving. I would say I am 80% fluent in Arabic. The problem is that in Amman everyone speaks English, so you get a bit lazy.
Like most Americans, I only spoke English and learning a second language as an adult is much harder. I am greatful that my kids will grow up learing 2-3 languages. They are already fluent in Arabic & English.
It is not important to speak arabic to come to Jordan, but it helps!
What do you do?
My husband and I have property in the UK which we rent out and this allows us to live in Jordan without working.
A couple of years ago I started to get the itch of going back to work, my past experience as an event manager was going to be difficult as my language skills are not 100%. So I thought what better way can I share my passion for this country than through tourism. I opened Discover Jordan Tours in 2010.
How do you find the cost of living?
The cost of living is very low compared to the west. For me & my family our lifestyle has improved 100%. You can actually afford full time-live in help, which means you spend more quality time with your family. Food here is great; most of the meats, fruits and veggies are organic, fresh and locally produced.
What do you love about Jordan?
Life is great!
Postive things are more time with family, better quality of living, over 300 days of sun- very good schools- safe for childern- friendly people.
Of course, Jordan is located in the Middle East which never gets good reviews in the media. But Jordan is an oasis of clam and peace in the middle east. In its history it has always had strong ties with the west and good leadsership. The Monarchy is loved by its people and has always been known as people of peace. Every traveller I meet falls in love with Jordan and its beauty. If only the news reported postive things!
Jordan is very safe, I consider it to be one of the safest places to live, especially for kids.
Check out ex-pat blog or contact me for good advice.
One of my favourite places to hang out is Rainbow st in Amman, with its lively coffee shops and markets it always a great place to meet for a coffee.