SHAWARMA LOVER

I already discovered that I love eating shawarmas. This blog will keep you updated on all the fun new things I discover while in Jordan.

Susan and Tom came for a Middle East adventure during my last few weeks abroad- we drove all over Jordan, then crossed over the border to see Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Sha’an, and Bethlehem, then flew to Cairo for a few days before taking a loooong train ride to Luxor. It was a great (and tiring and hot and dirty) trip, and the perfect way to end my 10 months in the Middle East. The photos are of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Citadel in Amman, a fellucca on the Nile, and the Luxor Temple in Luxor. 

Today was my last day teaching, so the English department (pictured above) threw me a really cute party. My 5th grade class, also pictured, did not throw me a party but they did write me lots of love notes to take back home. This year went by very fast at times and very slow at others, but I am incredibly happy with the entire experience. Now, three weeks of traveling around Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt, and then back to the US!

Graduation Day at the Islamic Educational College- mabrouk (congrats) girls! Please note the enormous sparklers being used indoors…Jordan does not seem to have the same fire safety awareness as US schools. Add it to the list. 

My 5th grade students have been responsible for both my best and worst days teaching at the Islamic Educational College. They have great personalities, and I’m glad I’ve had the time to get to know most of them pretty well this year. I’ve really learned a lot just by working with girls in the 5th through 9th grades- it’s interesting to see how much they change each year, and is also interesting to think about how these changes are similar and different to US girls of the same age. The gender dynamic in Jordan is something always on my mind, and I am very glad that I had the opportunity to get to know so many Jordanian girls and women of all different ages in a male-free environment this year. 

The pictures above are of my 5th graders preparing a dance for the Open Day (end of year party), the animals they were selling the girls at Open Day (don’t get me started), and two of my favorite girls- Mira on the drums, and Mona in the traditional Circassian outfit. 

The beginning of the end….Ma salam Zayn, beshoofik enshallah!

The beginning of the end….Ma salam Zayn, beshoofik enshallah!

A few weekends ago I took a trip South with fellow Fulbrighters Grace and Trish. We wanted to check out Dana Nature Reserve which is Jordan’s largest nature reserve. The total reserve covers over 300 square kilometers and is apparently home to a lot of endangered plants and animals (we saw a few lizards, birds and turtles, tough to say if they seemed endangered or not..). We spent one night in the beautiful campground, hiked one trail in the evening and another in the morning, and enjoyed delicious dinner and tea made for us by the staff. I forget how much I like to get away from Amman sometimes, and this trip reminded me of how beautiful parts of Jordan really are. I have a few weeks left and am hoping to squeeze as many new experiences into the rest of my time here as possible!

Spring in Amman

Spring in Amman

For Easter, I went to a service/picnic held at Mt. Nebo (the place where God showed Moses the Holy Land). It was an amazing place to be for Easter- the pictures include a shot of me with the Hold Land (Israel) in the background, a map of the holy land, a picture of the post-service brunch goodies, and the stone memorial of moses. 

One of our Sudanese students invited us to his wedding last night, which was SO fun- although we never did figure out if it is customary for the bride to look incredibly angry, or if this bride was just not super into the marriage idea…

I haven’t posted in a while, so here are some overdue pics from the Fulbright Conference that took place this March in Rabat. I am very jealous of the Moroccan Fulbrighters who get to live so close to the ocean- that’s one thing I would quickly change about Amman. The conference was great, and it was amazing to hear the variety of Fulbright projects going on throughout the MENA region.