Monday, August 15, 2011

All Good Things Come to and End...

Well, it is over.  My wonderful Journey to Jordan has finally finished and I am writing this at one o'clock in the morning from the bottom floor of a coffee shop/hookah bar with a live band partying the night away upstairs.  During ramadan the party doesn't end until late since they can only eat from about 7:30 to 3:30 they have to make the most of it!  It's amazing, and a wonderful end to my time here in Jordan.

  Also, on a side note, just because I won't be in Jordan anymore doesn't mean I won't be posting things on this blog!  I have a lot of stories and experiences that I have yet to put up here, and I will continue to post about my experiences while at school and my interpretations or thoughts on the news and my research on the Middle East.  This summer has really changed me, it has opened my eyes to some of the inequalities of the world and especially the arrogance and the ignorance that we as Americas exhibit on a daily basis.  Hopefully this blog has helped you question some of your ideals, and what you think about the Middle East and Arabs in general.  Hopefully my experiences and the things that I have learned have helped you learn as well.

  What was my favorite part of Jordan?  That is a hard question I must say.  I would probably have to say on a general note I enjoyed the foreigness (Do you like me making up words?) of the entire experience coupled with the amazing hospitality of the Arab people that I was confronted with every day.  On a smaller note, my absolutely favorite THING in Jordan was the Ahdan or call to prayer.  I had several chances to hear it from on top of one of the 7 hills of Jordan and it is spectacular.  As I sit there listening to  it I feel like I am transported back to a time before computers, electricity and modern conveniences.  Especially during Ramadan when I know that so many people are breathing a sigh of relief, eating some dates and drinking their first drink of the day it is almost ethereal.  There is also something amazingly beautiful for me to see an entire culture that embraces religion so intimately and so homogeneously.  As an American, it is completely different for me to be in a society that embraces religion openly, is homogenous in race and background and so many other aspects.  Back to the ahdan, however, I honestly do not know if I have ever heard anything as beautiful as the simple chant calling people to prayer and in praise of their God.  The closest thing that you might recognize is Gregorian Chant, it's basically Gregorian Chant with an Islamic twist, and you get to hear it 5 times a day.  Wonderful.

  I have a lot to write, a lot of thinking to do, and a lot to tell people about.  This experience has helped me to take a step back and appreciate the idiosyncrasies of culture, and the differences that make the world such a beautiful place.  We as Americans are too insulated and too comfortable in our world view.  We are so different from the rest of the world, and it really shows in our foreign relations and our personal relations with foreigners.  I have realized, this summer, just how much I do not understand simply because I grew up in a culture that is so completely different.  I will probably write again about this later, but just think about it.  How many things about another individual's culture is it hard for you to understand?

  On a closing note, I love Jordan.  I love the country, the people, the language and the religion.  I love the foreigness (there's that word again) and awkward situation it places me in.  I love the hospitality, the beauty and the many amazing places to see.  I love that these people have definitely been handed lemons and they are making lemonade.  I appreciate my comforts in America and I appreciate my country for the wonderful institution it is.   Before I close this I would like to do a few thank yous.  First of all, thank you to the BYU International Studies Program and Ralph Brown for making this internship a reality, thanks to the Kennedy Center and Phi Kappa Phi for providing me grants so that I could afford this trip to the Middle East.  A special thanks to the Ministry of Social Development and my boss Ms. Rasha for her patience and help.  Thanks to all of my awesome Arab friends and co-workers who put up with a constant stream of atrocious Arabic.  Thanks to everyone who came on the program for putting up with my craziness and my constant desire to go exploring, especially Annie, thanks for dealing with me so many times.  Finally thank you to my Grandparents who gave me savings bonds for every birthday and Christmas growing up which I thought was stupid but paid for my trip here, my parents for being supportive, living vicariously through me and also helping me pay for this trip and finally my wonderful fiance Jade who although I left her only a week after getting engaged has supported me the entire time and understand why I was here although it was hard to be so far away I think I love her more now than when I left.  Thanks everyone, it has been amazing! I can not wait to go home, but at the same time I can not wait to return to this amazing place next year.  Ma Salaam, Insha Allah.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this was very interesting to read! If only I had come across this blog a year sooner :(
    Jordan is my home country and I am very glad you liked it so much. Reading about the way everything there touched you is amazing.
    I don't know what you're up to now, but I hope you are living it up and being enlightened!