Thoughts of Frost

The best way out is always through. Robert Frost 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 … Continue reading Thoughts of Frost

‘Tis the $eason

As you know, I have lived in all sorts of places. Everywhere from Midwest USA with their plethora of fast-food restaurants to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with its very hairy yaks. And in all of these places, I noticed something interesting. Not about them, but about me. My status as a person changed, depending on where I lived. The concept of wealth and these changing lifestyles are not new to any of us. But I never considered, until now, the significance of this in my life. In the mid-west, my family and I were fine. You know – fine – not rich, not poor. Just fine. In … Continue reading ‘Tis the $eason

A Time to Learn

Before I begin, I need to address something. I realize I am only a young college student. I don’t pretend to know everything, or anything for that matter. The things I say are simply what I have seen and experienced. All I will tell you is solely based on my personal experiences. — I have learned that timing, timing is everything.   Two weeks ago, I decided I would go to the Holy Land over my long weekend. It was an easy decision; It’s cheap to cross the border and I had some friends who wanted to go. We booked … Continue reading A Time to Learn

Amman: Crazy Taxi 2.0

“It is a truth universally acknowledged,  that a single man in possession of a good taxi,  must be in want of a customer.”     When I was 12 years old, my brother and I played a certain computer game all the time. Its name was Crazy Taxi. The premise is that you, as a taxi driver, must pick up customers and take them to their destination before the time runs out. The longer you take, the less money you get, as you have less time to pick up more customers. Due to this factor, the game is a lot less … Continue reading Amman: Crazy Taxi 2.0

The Entertainment Industry, Jordan, and Me

I am an American. I am a girl. Therefore, I am “easy.” The past few weeks I have begun interviewing Jordanians for a documentary I am making. This documentary will address common misconceptions (among other things) that Americans have about the Middle East. In the process, I have learned many eye-opening things. Most interesting has been the Jordanian perception of Americans. Multiple people told me that the American girl is considered “easy.” When pressed, they explained that it was because of the entertainment industry in America. It has led the general Middle Eastern population to believe that American women will … Continue reading The Entertainment Industry, Jordan, and Me

Hide and Seek

Walking alone at night is terrifying to me. It’s scary even when I’m at home and have to walk the five yards to my car in the driveway. So, it’s really scary when I am walking down a dark road to find a taxi in Jordan. The other night I walked alone to find a taxi. The sun sets in Amman around six and it was only a little after that time that I set out to meet some friends for dinner. I held my bag tightly as I walked down the car-lined road to the main street. A light above … Continue reading Hide and Seek

Love in an Over-Sized Bird

This week I learned about love. Eid Al-Adha was October 24-28th. It is a Muslim holiday that celebrates the day Abraham was to sacrifice Ishmael. I have never been more excited about a Muslim holiday. Not because the streets of the Arab world would be flowing with the blood of sheep, but because it meant school was cancelled. And what does a study abroad student do when school is cancelled? Go to Istanbul, Turkey, of course. My mum has always told me she wants to visit Turkey. I never understood. How exciting could a country be that shares a name with … Continue reading Love in an Over-Sized Bird

I’m a Barbie Girl in a Veiled World

When I started telling people that I would be studying abroad in Jordan, I was usually asked a series of three questions:   1)  Where is Jordan? 2)  You’re gonna get blown-up. You know that, right? 3)  Are you gonna have to wear one of those scarf-things?   In response to the first, I began introducing the topic by saying I was studying abroad in “Jordan-in-the-Middle-East” before anyone could ask. To the second question, I would just smile and say, “There are worse ways to go.” And to the final question I would respond, “Umm.” In truth, I had no … Continue reading I’m a Barbie Girl in a Veiled World

The Brink of Uncertainty

Sometimes, we teeter on the brink of uncertainty. Felix Baumgartner knows this sensation better than anyone. Last night, the Austrian skydiver fell faster than the speed of sound from the astonishing height of 128,100 feet. I sat on the floor of my host family’s living room and watched history being made. As I watched, I couldn’t help but compare the two of us and our separate adventures. Felix: In order to leave the atmosphere, he prepared himself. He perfected his skydiving techniques, said “see you later” to family and friends, and put on his special suit. He then sat in … Continue reading The Brink of Uncertainty

Culture Shock: A Reflection

I vividly remember when I moved to Mongolia. I was the most excited nine year old girl you’ve ever seen. I was practically bouncing in my seat as our Korean Air plane landed in the valley in which Ulaanbaatar is located. I had been dreaming of that moment for years. I didn’t care that the ground was littered with broken glass or that the weather was going to be the most bitter of cold. It was my new home. As I look back at my transition to the nation, I note the ease with which I did so. Sure, there … Continue reading Culture Shock: A Reflection

Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away

I’ve decided it’s time to take off the I-love-Jordan-all-the-time hat. I usually prefer that hat because writing about your feelings? Yeah, that’s tough stuff. However, I am feeling particularly brave today. So here you are: my unfiltered feelings. LANGUAGE Living in a new culture is hard, but studying in a new culture is even harder. I took Modern Standard Arabic class for two and a half years. I worked really hard at it and always got good grades. Can you imagine my shock when I landed in Jordan and no one understood a word I was saying? The dialect here is … Continue reading Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away

Katy Perry Drinking Coffee in Mongolia

Coffee: Not just a drink, a way of life First of all, you should know that I used to work as a barista at a coffee and jazz house. It was the best job ever. I absolutely loved it. Coming home smelling like coffee and talking to strangers about coffee always puts a smile on anyone’s face. However, due to being surrounded by coffee constantly, I stopped drinking the stuff for the better part of two years. When I started picking up the occasional latte again in college, I found that I’d contracted a very strange problem. I am now … Continue reading Katy Perry Drinking Coffee in Mongolia

Grace, Grace, Grace the Explorer

Just call me Indiana Jones. ‘Cause Harrison Ford’s got nothing on me. Well, except for the whole Han Solo and being famous thing. But, you know, whatever, I’m working on that too. This weekend was straight out of a movie. Actually, I think I’ve seen the movies. Indiana Jones, the Mummy, Aladdin, Lawrence of Arabia, and Hidalgo are some that I can think of off the top of my head. Beautiful red sand dunes and setting suns. Bedouin tents with decorated camels. Brilliantly blue sea meeting towering mountains. Ancient ruins with foreign etchings. This and so much more is Wadi … Continue reading Grace, Grace, Grace the Explorer

A Zombie Analogy

The Walking Dead. It’s a show on AMC that I’m a bit…obsessed with. Back in my dorm room at Cedarville, I would get all cozy late at night as my roommate slept, and watch the latest episode in the dark. Now, for those of you who watch the Walking Dead, you know this is a terrible idea. Not only can some episodes be terrifying (as the show is about zombies), but there are also many surprising moments where you might gasp or even scream. I might have woken up my dear roomie once or twice. You may be curious why I’m telling … Continue reading A Zombie Analogy

Cats, Dogs, and Smokers! Oh my!

Surprise! The Middle East is hot. Now, to preface that statement, it actually can feel like a cool, summer day when you’re in the shade. However, in the direct sunlight it feels a little bit like what I imagine hell would feel like. The worst of it though is being so entirely covered up. I wear long maxi skirts or jeans every day and a blouse that covers my shoulders and usually reaches my collarbone. With this kind of heat, I’d rather be walking around in short-short–shortshorts and a tank top. However, that would attract even more unwanted attention. So, to … Continue reading Cats, Dogs, and Smokers! Oh my!

Buffalo Wings and Souk Jara

I have test-success blues. What are those you may ask? The test-success blues are what happen when you do better on a test than you expected and now you are facing a very difficult class ahead. I was placed in Advanced Arabic I, which is where I’m sure my Arabic professor from Cedarville would say I should place (according to where we are in the textbook). However, this means that, this semester, we will go through the entire Al-Kitaab 2 textbook. That concept is terrifying. Last semester, we went through three chapters. This will be ten chapters. My host family … Continue reading Buffalo Wings and Souk Jara