I safely landed in New York a week ago, but I’ve been busy spending time with my family and also a tad jet lagged to publish my final post for this summer.
As I’ve written in many instructor reviews, reflections, and texts to my friends, it was really an amazing and transformative summer. My Arabic got significantly better, I was exposed to a really different but really awesome culture, and I met so many wonderful new people, American, Jordanian and European.
I wanted to give a particularly giant thank you to my language partner and now lovely friend, Hiba Robin and her family. Rabia and I got incredibly lucky to be paired with her, and she welcomed us into her family with open arms. We played with her tiniest cousins and were fed mountains of food at Iftar by her mother and aunts, and even dressed in their clothes to go and experience prayer at a mosque. I am going to say thank you again to Hiba for showering me with presents of bracelets and lipstick and special delicious Eid sweets, and a giant thank you to her mother for making me a wooden set of prayer beads. It took me 2 bus rides and 2 routed taxis (servees’s) and more than an hour and a half instead of the usual 20 minutes to get to their house, but I spent my entire day from the early afternoon to 11:00pm with them, chatting and cooking. We had fried chicken – Jordanian style and Maisa made the traditional Arab kunafa, a dessert of baked vermicelli noodles prepared with spices over a layer of cheese, while I prepared the sugary syrup the kunafa gets doused in, I’ve honestly grown to like this dessert after this summer while I couldn’t stand to eat it my first week. Thank you Hiba and Maisa, who I’m happy I grew close to over this summer.
Thank you to the rest of their family, every relative had told me that “I was now part of the family” and I was “one of their sisters” and all of the other comments that made me beam with joy.
I’ve fully realized the kindness and hospitality that is engrained in the Jordanian culture and I am very lucky to have experienced it. I’ve learned a long list of other things that come from traveling and communicating with very differs people on the other side of the world, and I recommend this experience to everyone.
This summer I’ve finally used a few pieces of advice that I heard throughout my life but always disregarded, and they are: Always walk down mountains sideways. A good attitude can make a world of a difference. When learning Arabic, the most important thing to hold on to is positivity.
And I will leave this blog with that. I hope that I will hold on to the positivity I’ve adopted during my summer, and I hope I return to this blog. I called it 5709 miles and counting for a reason.