Yalla bye, Jordan!

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Jamel ride

I think it will always be the case that arriving in a place and leaving that place will feel surreal. At least that’s definitely how I feel about living in Jordan. Tonight is my last night in Amman, and I’m sure getting on that plane tomorrow will feel as strange as it felt on my way here. Just three and a half months ago I was escorted out of the airport, driven into the city and shuffled into a supermarket with four other students who I didn’t yet know. I remember not knowing what to buy (I think I got a loaf of bread and some juice) and feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially when people kept cutting in front of me at the check out and I didn’t want to be rude and cut in front of them. But today I went to that same supermarket, got exactly what I needed, and didn’t let anyone in front of me. I still stood in line forever of course, but that’s عادي — normal. And those four people who I met the first night here, along with eleven others, have become amazing friends. Saying goodbye to them was extremely hard — Jordan is not the same without them here. Still, I’m definitely ready to go home. I love Jordan, and there are many things I will miss about living here, but I think I will also appreciate the things I love at home more now that I’ve had this experience.

Since my last post, we went on our two last excursions: to Aqaba, then back to Wadi Rum. Unfortunately I was bogged down with work after those trips, and it turns out finals week is not fun even when you’re studying abroad. So sorry for not posting sooner!

Here are some photos from our time in Aqaba, which is a resort town on the coast of the Red Sea in southern Jordan. There we went on a “glass boat” tour, which sounds pretty explanatory but it’s basically a boat with a window on the bottom, so you can see the underwater life below. We also had the chance to snorkel, which is easier said than done — the water in the Red Sea may not be quite as salty as in the Dead Sea, but it is still abnormally salty, and therefore pretty gross to swallow.

The other half of our group was in that boat

In the glass boat tour

A great look on me

The white building marks the border between Israel/Palestine (right side) and Egypt (left)

Sunset in Aqaba

 

And finally, because camel selfies were not enough, I got the chance to actually ride a camel when we went to Wadi Rum the second time. We also had a pretty spectacular view of the sunset.

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First camel ride!

Climbing up a surprisingly steep sand dune

Look at those tourists

One of the best sunsets I’ve seen in Jordan

 

We also went on a few other adventures, including visiting the city of Salt (السلط) twice, both times with our beloved Arabic professor, Balqees. There we participated in a “wedding,” or at least a simplified version of a traditional Salti wedding (BTW there is a song for Salt, which you can listen to here) with two people in our group as the bride and groom. We also helped make and eat a delicious desert that is essentially a pancake filled with cheese. I think it might even beat kanafa for best Jordanian dessert I’ve had!

The city of As-Salt

 

The ceremony

Dancing to wedding music!

I’m not sure I’m doing this right…

The group — with Balqees!

 

Jordan has given me so many experiences that I can’t begin to count. Like I said in my final exam in my intercultural development class, when asked if I’ve changed during my time here, I think there are a lot of differences I will notice once I get home. And while it will be nice to buy cereal that doesn’t cost $10 and and not risk my life every time I cross the street, home doesn’t have falafel sandwiches and I won’t be surrounded by Arabic all the time. I can already anticipate culture shock from reentry into America. And I’m sure I will miss even the things I find ridiculous here!

Until next time. Yalla bye, Jordan!

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