Friday, April 27, 2012

At First Sight

It's been less than twenty four hours, but I think I'm in love....sound familiar BYU crowd? I joke. But really, Amman already feels like home. It is bustling and crazy, but so welcoming and friendly. I landed at Queen Alia Airport at about 8:30 after grueling day traveling from Salt Lake to Paris and finally onto Amman. The worst part? For the last two hours of my final flight, the attendants on the plane wouldn't let anyone use the restroom! So I was legitimately worried that I would show up in my new home with wet pants. Luckily, I avoided that situation.
After arriving I was able to get a visa and get trough immigration. I could already tell this was going to be a new experience for me. There was tons of Arabic flying around (some of which I understood...YES!) and people were looking at me like I was crazy person (which is somewhat understandable). After getting through that along with a nice young French girl who was visiting relatives and doing a pilgrimage of holy sites with her family, I was able to find the bus into Amman. On my way into the city I met two Libyan men, Muhammad and Ribya, who were planning to buy a car in Amman and drive it back to Tripoli. They invited me to come with....and while my parents are very supportive of my travels and adventures, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't fly with them! But we managed to have a somewhat legitimate conversation between my minimal Arabic and their choppy English.
After this, I was able to catch a taxi from the bus station to my hostel. I was pretty exhausted so I had a rinse in my "shower" and hopped into bed. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep with the crazy time zone change, but I got seven hours! I woke up to the call to prayer and freaked out. Yep, I was definitely in a new place.
A new friend.
After waking up I decided to head out and explore. It was really hot...and this is April. I can't even imagine what August will be like. Anyway, I headed to the Roman Ampitheater which was very impressive. I continued to stroll around, stopping for snacks every now and then and chatting with local people. When I responded to them in Arabic, people were very surprised and I can already tell that speaking with them is improving my skills. Maybe by the end of the summer I will actually have a minor grasp on this language! One of the people who spoke to me was Yesenia, a woman from Iraq trying to get a visa in Jordan so she could go to Sweden to get married. It was a long story, but she was very kind. Her brother, Ali, asked if he could take pictures of us, so I passed over the camera. I don't think he understood the zoom situation so this one is a bit of a tough one (and yes, Dad, he cut us off at the knees. I know this is a pet peeve! BUT I was able to crop, so all is well). Anyway, she was a wonderful woman and I am so happy to have met her.
Sunset from our rooftop terrace.
After walking along Rainbow Street, one of the more Western/artsy areas, I returned to my hostel to change and head out to dinner with two English girls I met, Chloe and Casey. We had a great dinner on a rooftop terrace in Western Amman and enjoyed a stroll around the shops. Finally, we headed back so I could pack and get ready for Turkey. So many good things. I'm a super lucky girl!
Basically, I am a huge fan and am really looking forward to living here. It's going to be quite the experience, I am sure.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bon Voyage!

Keegan came to help me pack. Love this kid!
Bag packed? Check. Passport in purse? Check. Ride to the airport? Check. A flight of butterflies in my stomach? Definitely check. And yes, that is the collective noun for butterflies. I even double checked on google.
This is it, folks. I have been running around Provo like a chicken with my head cut off, but I think that I may actually have everything under control for the time being. I have about an hour left before heading off to the Salt Lake City Airport. I will be flying direct from there to Paris (I know...who knew that there were direct flights? Seems like an odd combo if you ask me). After a two hour layover in Paris it is off to Amman. I will be landing at about eight o'clock at night and will somehow find a way into the city center, into a hostel, and into a bed.

The beautiful Martha Mae. My roommate next semester!
The last few days here in Provo have been great. Not only is the weather beautiful, but I've had the chance to spend time with my friends and eat some of my favorite things. I'm not sure how great the internet is going to be here in the next few weeks, so you might not here from me, but I will try my best to keep everybody updated and start adding some great pictures!
Anyway, thanks for all of your love and support. I am extremely excited for this adventure and can't wait to get going. Hope everybody has an relaxing and crazy fun summer!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


And by someday...I mean MONDAY!
Finals are done,  papers complete, and only a few minor heart attacks along the way. Now I can take a deep breath...oh wait....false. In the next two days I have to move everything out, scrub down the apartment, attempt to do my last load of laundry, buy treats for a work party, go on a date, and plan slash host my best friend's bachelorette party. Okay, I'm sounding like a whiner. Sorry. Just a pretty hectic weekend ahead of me. But seriously, in four days I will be on a plane to Jordan. I have nothing to complain about.
Other updates? I booked a hostel for the first two nights I'm in Jordan to recover from jet lag before heading off to Turkey. I also managed to book my flight home in August from Salt Lake to Portland which my mom will be very pleased about. I am so excited about my adventures, but am also looking forward to spending ten days with my mom visiting family in California as soon as I return.
Okay, I will probably post once more before I head off into the unknown, experiencing a minor heart attack. But for now, I am feeling really good about all things.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mad Dash

You know those nightmares where you show up to class and somehow you've completely missed the fact that you have a giant project due and have to present it to the class? And if it weren't bad enough that you completely blew it, you look down and sure enough clothes are missing. Well that paralyzing fear is occurring to me right now....well not literally, gross.
In six days I will be leaving the country. Six days. I can't even wrap my brain around that one. I've barely had enough energy to get through my semester, finals, packing, and moving out to become excited about the amazing adventure that lay before me. In less than a week I will be headed to Jordan, Turkey, and Greece. And guess what? I literally have no idea what I'm doing.
As of May 14th I will be an intern for the Ministry of Social Development, a sect of the Jordanian government. But prior to this, I am a bum. I have three weeks of time, a passport, and dreams of Mediterranean beaches and kebabs. Let's cross our fingers that, by some stroke of luck, I will be able to find my way, have an amazing time, and avoid any kidnappings (my dad is great, but I doubt he has the abilities of Liam Neeson in Taken). Alright, with the anxiety and distress out there on the table now I can return to studying for my last exam. Finals. Are. The. Worst.