Week 4 has been one of the most incredible weeks of my life, but also ended dramatically. The first day of the week, Sunday, was February 14th… Valentine’s Day, Single Appreciation Day, Galentine’s Day; call it what you may but for this year for me was Reincarnation day. This Valentine’s I actually had someone I wanted to be super obnoxious with and share the stupid Hallmark Holiday with, but I am instead thousands of miles away in the Middle East; pretty good excuse to miss Valentin’s Day right? But on this day, the world had a different surprise for my friend Rukaya and I.
After class, Rukaya and I went to Books@Cafe to grab a bite to eat and chill. It was there that we met our new friend Raji who was there celebrating “Reincarnation Day”/. To be honest, I was extremely frustrated and in a negative mental space. The cultural show and constant language barrier was really getting to me. I am usually not one to get homesick,, but I was. I wanted all my ridiculous problems back home and for my time abroad to be over. After meeting Raji and his family, I felt weirdly re-energized and re-inspired. We all talked about life, religion, politics history and philosophy… swapping life stories and thoughts over tea. They were kind, hospitable and genuine. They welcomed us with open arms. It was honestly one of the first times I felt so comfortable. It was like I was in America.
The following week was pretty incredible. I had a total of three days of school and the weekend started a day early! My program planned a very nice overnight trip to Petra and Wadi Rum for us. The first day was spent exploring Petra. We saw the Treasury, walked through the gorge and had delicious food before getting some time to explore on our own. My friends and I hiked out way to the top of the Sacrifice. We were told that it has the most incredible view and has less steps than the Mausoleum. It was a hard climb especially with a belly full of food. The view was spectacular though and worth the pain. The more ruins I visit that involve stairs, the more I realize how scared of going downstairs I am… But somehow I forget until I am at the top. That evening was spent in Wadi Rum at the Captain’s Bedouin Campsite. The night was filled with good food and lots of dancing. I wish I were a better dancer. The Captain’s camp was stunning and had great amenities. I got eaten alive by mosquitoes, but slept like a baby from the exhaustion.
Friday was spent exploring the deserts of Wadi Rum via camel and 4×4 trucks. I loved every minute of the camel ride and wish I had one as a pet. The 4×4 tour was also a hoot. We got to see the Lawrence gorge and where both the Martian and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed. The desert truly does feel out of this world. We then had a Bedouin tea making competition where we even had to build our own fires! My team did not win, but had the best pit by far!
As the trip ended and we made our way back to Amman, I could not believe what an incredible weekend (and week) I had. I was on cloud nine. I spent the bus ride back looking through all the pictures I took because it felt so unreal. I still cannot wrap my mind around how magnificent Petra and Wadi Rum are.
That evening, my friends and I decided to hit the town when we got back. The night started out on a very strange note and ended with my phone being stolen. The middle 95% were great and a blast, but Friday was the first time that I truly realized how crucial it might be to have a male friend with after 8 pm. I had never gotten so many overt stares or racial “slurs” yelled at me. In Jordan, making eye contact with the other person does not stop them… which is the opposite as in the US.
Losing my phone was one of the most frightening moments of my life. I was not in any physical harm, but in that moment I lost complete control. Trying to control every aspect of life and not being able to cope with uncertainty is something that I have struggled with all my life. I was always told to have a million backup plans and to be prepared, which has manifested into a complete beast some days. Because of this, I would like to believe that I am an extremely careful person and only take extremely calculated risk. When I lost my phone, I felt so helpless and powerless. I am almost certain I remember the moment I was pick-pocketed and the person who took my phone, but there is nothing I can do about it now. It is gone. Immediately after losing my phone, I called and Skyped my parents, who then told my sisters. Losing my phone made me realize that materialistic objects are just things. They hold sentimental value, but are not the end all, be all. More importantly, I learned how lucky I am to be alive and have such a great family. We might have our issues, but at the end of the day, I am blessed to have them.
Anyways, the racism here is a whole other post and losing my phone was an awful feeling, but I am alive and have both my kidneys. I think that might be my new saying, “I’ve got both my kidneys.”
Here are some more pictures of my time in the desert: