Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Six months into my trip I stopped blogging, right as I left for a two week trip to California. At that point of my stay I was downhearted and in such a mood that if I posted anything it wouldn't have been positive, and I didn't want to give such a grim view of a culture when it was only my attitude that was tarnishing it. 
I did eventually get out of that phase, but not for about three months. I did keep notes on what I should write on my blog, when I felt better, and after awhile it started adding up and I could not motivate myself to start way back at the beginning. Its like not checking your emails for weeks and then seeing there is over 300 and you can't bring yourself to check them. Well I am ready to start where I left off at; there is no fairer solution. Though it is much clearer now that I have taken a step back into the life I left.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Home: Old Habits Die Hard

The clutch wallet I got the Christmas before I went to Jordan can’t shut. It’s to full of coins and small bills. Going above a $5 bill in Jordan is impractical anywhere but a mall and European grocery store. That’s where I’d break all my big bills. Otherwise I’d risk an angry taxi driver or a missing ingredient for my next meal.

Being home hasn’t been as drastic as I expected just some basic thing have changed, having to put toilet paper in the toilet not the trashcan and almost always having internet in houses. Besides that I think the largest change will come with going back to academia.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aqaba: The Red Sea

These pictures are from the public beach we visited the first day. And The second day we went to the private beach for the for our comfort. The private beach was cleaner and more comfortable. The Private beach lacked women in traditional clothing, with their hair and faces covered, who don’t get in the water and sat staring/glaring at our small group in bathing suites. 

Then these are the men who were so rude as to turn around away from the ocean just to sit eat seeds and stare at us. A male Arab friend did ask them nicely to turn back around, and they did oblige.

Its okay if you or your kids can’t swim there is sure to be a man selling inner tubes on the beach, if you don’t stop at one on the many little stores on the way displaying them.

From the beach a had a great view of Eilat, Israel

Coastline of the beach and more of Israel

The public beach was a bit dirty with bones, seed shells, and bottle caps. The private beach was much cleaner

The private beach, it had its own pier
(Photo Credit: Matthias Schachtler)

A little more of the private beach
(Photo Credit: Matthias Schachtler)

From the private beach we went on a snorkeling tour and got to go on an open glass boat. It was my first time snorkeling, and never before did I understand how it worked because I had always pictured California beaches. This beach you really couldn’t swim in except for the area that had been cleared for swimming. The rest is covered in coral and sea urchins and is occasionally difficult to swim over because they are so close to the surface

 My time there made me realize that God must have moved all the sea urchins and coral, not just the water, in order for Moses and the Hebrews to walk across.

Teaching English to Arabs

Teaching English to Arab students is not as easy as my teaching book makes it seem. I think my teaching book and most of the English books in Jordan assume that the student is a speaker of a Latin base language and either has prior knowledge of English or lives in an English speaking country. I come to this conclusion after having a very frustrating class in which my student didn’t understand anything.

I was trying the approach of teaching English by using only English and explaining things only how the book advises me to explain things. The result was my student didn’t understand. In the first two units of the book I am suppose to teach the verb ‘to be,’ contractions, a/an, and personal pronouns by using them in context. The problem is Arabic only uses the verb ‘to be’ in past tense and contractions don’t exist. Arabic has 13 personal pronouns not including ‘it’ because all things have a gender, and a definite article is used only when it is ‘the….’ in Arabic. Thus I was at a loss on how to explain something that is completely different in his language.

Thankfully there is a great group of Arabic teachers who took the time to tell me how I should teach and explain these things, similarly to how they learned them. I love being in such a helpful atmosphere because they take time to assist me and I have learned I do have to use quite a bit of Arabic to make him understand. I can ask the teachers for help translating and make sure I pronounce things correctly. This is a must because in one class I told him ‘letter’ (like a,b,c) meant Kharoof not haroof. kharoof means sheep and I hope not to make such big mistakes in the future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simple Facts

  • All people must lock bathroom doors because there is no concept of knocking before turning the nob. I am constantly startled when someone tries to open a bathroom I am currently occupying. 
    • The flip side is if you knock the person on the other side of the door doesn't know to respond so I feel like a stupid intruder when I try to open a locked door.

  • Men love hair gel. They rock hair styles America hasn't seen in decades, or ever.
    • Almost all men here spend more time on their hair each morning then I do on mine. It makes me feel like I don't care enough about my hair because I don't make sure it is perfectly stuck in the same position all day
      • Side note: my taxi driver the other night totally had a mullet, I had never seen one in person till that night...I am still at a loss.

  • People trust people here to the extent that children are allowed to roam alone. Parents trust that others will look after their children.
    • At the mall a group of three kids ranging from 5-9 were making a game out of walking up the down escalator and using the emergency stop button. No parents were in sight and my family and I had to walk down a stopped, stuck escalator. 
    • At a restaurant I watched as two families let their under two year old daughters walk around the restaurant and had the waiters look after and move them out of peoples way. And it was an expensive restaurant.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week 29: Home

It is a Friday afternoon after a stressful week of Arabic and English classes. I sit on my bed thanking God for this retrieve from my week and I check facebook to see what’s new at home. I see a glimpse of a message ‘’sad news…” then glimpse the next, “ I wanted to let you know…didn’t want you to find out another way...” I read them and exchange many messages. Saturday night, early Sunday morning I’m on my way home.

I didn’t think I would see home for another five months and even given the circumstance I felt more joy and excitement then I had in weeks. Here in Amman I am to busy, to stressed to think of life at home in depth but when I was packing my bags it all hit me; how significant home is to me.

It was a stressful, saddening, overwhelming, but a beautiful two weeks that put my life into perspective about what is truly important. Academics are the pathway to a great career in which I hope to assist many, but if I don’t value and donate my time and energy into the relations that are already in my life, I won’t have anyone to enjoy, to love, to share with on that journey to my future or in my future. I was reminded, like sadly many other times in my life, that I must live and appreciate my present because the relationships I have may be gone tomorrow. I can’t only prepare for the future, I need to live for now. In a moment where everything I work towards could be gone I still want people to share my days with and something to live for.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Holiday Season: Day 166

It wasn’t that bad being away from home during the holidays because I forgot it was the holiday season. Stores and offices aren’t making obvious that its time for thanksgiving, Christmas, or new years. But then I got on Facebook and I saw my family together and my friends off from school and it hit me. I got sick so that I couldn’t go to any thanksgiving celebrations and I felt sorry for myself as the holiday season continued, so I stopped checking Facebook, tried to sleep my sickness away, stopped going on the internet and watched movies.

I went to a friend’s house on Christmas, we ate cake and chatted, for new years went back to her house and watched movies. I learned that if you want something to be special sometimes it is you that has to make it special; I now know that a holiday is a holiday because I make it one.