Ever since I arrived in Jordan, the other students in my program would exclaim, “You’re spending your last semester abroad in Jordan?!” And I would always respond, “Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the time.” And, really, it did. I had considered going abroad earlier, but something always came up. Either I was cast in a show that I just couldn’t miss or there was a core class that was only offered during a certain semester. So, finally, my senior year rolled around. There I was, with no more excuses left. It was time to head to the Middle East.
Today I sit here, on my bed, having finished my last class ever of my undergrad and I can’t help but wonder, “Was I crazy?” Why did I leave everything comfortable, everything familiar, everything easy? Why didn’t I just relax and enjoy my final semester? But then – I remember why.
Truth be told, I had put all my eggs in one basket when it came to Jordan. Jordan was the symbol of my independence, my future, and my dreams. Jordan was supposed to make my future clear. It was intended to mature and refine me. It was going to be the perfect way to end university, because it was going to make me the person I’d always wanted to become. Quite clearly, Jordan was my wishbone. And I was wishing for the world.
About halfway through this crazy experience, I realized Jordan was just another place. A place filled with beautiful people who love nothing more than to pour their love (and food) into you. A place filled with taxi drivers who really just want to be your new best friend. A place filled with sad kittens who paw through dumpsters looking for something to eat. A place filled with men who stare you up and down or worse. But, still, just a place. There was no secret palace filled with all of my future’s secrets. And there was no magical genie waiting to grant me my every wish.
This reality overwhelmed me. There were days when I felt like maybe, after all this, I had wasted my time. I felt that, while my friends were back in the States applying to jobs and finishing university like normal human beings, I had slacked off and run half way across the world. But tonight, I am stepping back and realizing something. I don’t need to have everything figured out. That’s just not how life works. Life is not ever going to be perfectly laid out for us. Life is messy and things can change or end at any moment. We may think we have everything ready for the next step, and then life happens. I need to stop expecting Jordan to become something that no place could ever be for me – the answer.
Here I am, Grace Pilet, stopping and looking at what Jordan really was for me. Jordan was my teacher. And it taught me that every day is an adventure. It doesn’t matter if you’re riding a camel in Wadi Rum or if you’re just catching a taxi to campus on a rainy morning. It doesn’t matter if you’re practicing Arabic grammar for hours or if you’re in the middle of a war in Jerusalem – there is always an adventure waiting for you. Life is yours to be had, day in and day out. I don’t want the adventures to stop. Just because my time in Jordan is coming to an end, does not mean that I must have everything figured out. In fact, if I had everything figured out, there’d be no room for the adventures. And, friends, there must always be room for adventures.
So, was I crazy? I guess the answer to that was – yes, I was. But, I’d like to think I came out even a little crazier, filled with excitement for the unknown. I don’t have my life figured out. I don’t even know what this next year is going to hold for me. But I do know it’s all going to be okay. After all, now I’m even more ready for my next adventure.
Jordan was not the answer. But, perhaps, Jordan was just the beginning.