If I were to describe myself, coordinated or athletic are not words that would make the list. This week, my program set up two great cultural events for us to participate in. The first was playing bubble soccer with our fellow Jordanian PSUT students. The second was a cooking class at Beit Sitti, which translates to Grandma’s House. The bubble soccer game was the most fun I have had in quite some time. If you have never heard of or seen bubble soccer, it is probably one of the most ridiculous new inventions of our time. Every player wears this gigantic inflatable bubble as a suit and plays soccer. These suits allow for people to bump into each other and knock people over. I never really played soccer growing up, or was ever very good at it, because of my asthma. Any sport that involved extensive running (or lots of equipment) was usually not my parents’ first choice for my sisters and I to participate in. This logic was also applied to other extracurricular activities. My parents clearly knew that my sisters and I were too fickle to ever truly stick with one hobby. Read more “Amman: Week 11 // Bubble Soccer, Broken Glasses and Beit Sitti”
Most of the things that I have experienced while abroad have been pretty predictable and reasonable, but this past week I walked through hell and came back. The week started off on an incredible note with a fun belly dancing class where we all ate Mansaf and got beautiful Henna done. It was probably the most beautiful henna I have ever gotten done. I was (and still am) weary about the black henna the artist used, but her craftsmanship was beyond stunning. She started by writing my name in Arabic and proceeded to freestyle an amazing piece around my name. It was the first time that a piece of henna truly felt like mine and what I would image anyone who gets a tattoo feels about their piece. I had always romanticized the idea, but not understand that the romanticism is true. I felt as though she understood my soul and displayed its beauty through this piece of art on my skin.
The rest of the week was not as positive as this event… Read more “Amman: Week 10 // Henna and Healthcare”
This past week has been one of the most difficult weeks abroad. After coming back from Egypt, I was so physically and emotionally tired that I got a fever and pounding migraine that lasted two days. I think my body knew that I needed a mental rest day to myself. I also have been struggling to find an internship this summer. I not only got a couple rejections this past week, but was stood up for a phone interview and later told that I was passed on an interview because it would be too difficult to coordinate something while I was abroad.
I had originally planned to go to Israel this weekend, but after last week’s attacks and the just terrible events, I did not feel up for it. Weirdly on Wednesday evening, less than 24 hours before we were leaving, I changed my mind and within 20 minutes booked a hostel and decided I was going. Read more “Amman: Week 9 // Easter and Purim in Jerusalem”
Where do I even begin? Egypt has always been one of those places that I just accept I would never go to; but also somewhere I thought I knew so much about already, which I feel like was why I was content not going. I thought I knew it all. There is only one HUGE pyramid called the Great Pyramid of Giza, a Sphinx and the Nile which is a river surrounded by reed where baby Moses was found in a basket. Laugh all you want, but tell me if you’re knowledge of Egypt is really that different. I spent 10 days in Cairo and did a day trip to Alexandria. This trip was full of firsts. It was my first time in Africa first time seeing the Mediterranean Sea, a first time seeing an ancient wonder of the world (even though it is technically the only one still around), first time staying at a hostel, first time hiring a tour guide… the list goes on.
We landed in Cairo Airport and immediately realized how different of a city Cairo is compared to Amman. Just figuring out how to purchase a visa and go through passport control was a ridiculous process. We were then greeted by our tour guide Ramez Salama who picked us up and completely saved us from being eaten alive and lost in Cairo. The next four days were packed with long days and wealth of Egyptian history.
Here was out itinerary: Read more “Amman: Week 8 // My Week(ish) in Egypt Full of Firsts”
I am officially at the midway point in my program (give or take). This week is midterms and I am completely swamped with test and projects In addition, next week is Spring Break so there is much too much that I must figure out. I have kept this pretty hush-hush, but I guess I can’t keep it a surprise anymore… I will be traveling to Egypt for Spring Break! I have always wanted to see Cairo and the Pyramids, so why not now? I will be spending a bit over a week there and will hopefully see a majority of the place on my list. I would love the opportunity to spend more time, but settle on a picture with the Pyramids!
Wish me luck and I can’t wait to let everyone know how it goes!
The longer I am immersed in Jordanian daily life and learn about culture here, I feel more informed and knowledgeable. I also feel like I am informing others at the same time. This week I had a meeting for my Gilman Scholarship that made me reconsider my approach to life. As a Gilman recipient and American abroad, I am a representative of the US for Jordanians and might be the only American they have a genuine relationship without on the flipside, I am also not eh unofficial spokesperson for Jordan to the rest of the world. With that intrinsically, I have become the spokesperson for the entire Middle East, Arab World and Islamic Faith (which by the way is very diverse). In America, I always felt like there was this constant defending of my interest in the Middle East and want to learn Arabic. But while here, I have only been welcomed with open arms. I have never felt more comfortable speaking Arabic in my entire life, honestly that partly might have to be because if I do not I cannot communicate with anyone. There seems to be no judgement, yet of all the people in the world, they have every right to judge because it is their language and culture that I am completely butchering!
It is also crazy how biased and ethnocentric the American approach to World History is. I have never felt to uninformed regarding modern history in my life. To be able to see the actual significance and impact of important historical events that I can only recall as a fact I memorized to pass an AP test is absolutely insane. From the British and French colonization of the region to the Sykes-Picot agreement and Oslo Peace Treaty! I see it all every day.
But this week’s trips and adventures have further opened my eyes to how skewed American media and understanding of things are.
This week I visited these sites: Read more “Amman: Week 6 // A+ For Effort”
This is a post that has been long overdue… identity in the Jordan.
Before studying abroad, I knew that there would be major changes in my lifestyle and adjustments I would have to make for the culture, but what I did not realize was how much mu identity meant and how my personal identification may be significantly different than how others would identify me. And sadly, this is even a problem I have in the US.
This week I got to understand the Jordanian culture from multiple perspective.
Here are the events I attended this week: Read more “Amman: Week 5 // Identity”