So I have a lot that I need to catch you all up on. To start…Im home now. And I have been for about a week. My last post was about a week into December so I will try to catch up from then. I will break it up too because I have a lot to cover and I don’t want this to be too long. Here we go:
Our last week of Arabic classes (MSA and colloquial) was the first week in December and finals in those classes were the following week.
The weekend before finals in Arabic I went to a desert castle near the Iraq/Syria/Jordan boarder with James, Alexia and our friend Evan. We hired a private car which drove us the 3 or so hour trip out to the castle. On the way we had to stop at a police check point. We were told that we had to be accompanied by a police officer. Im not really sure why he had to come with us. It was either for safety because of where we were going or for directions on how to get to the castle WHICH by the way was in the middle of NO WHERE. Literally we had to off road to get to it. This castle has a small lake next to it and the castle was used by many different groups throughout the years.
The reason for the lake’s existenceis an ancient dam that was constructed by the Romans in the 3rd century as ameans of securing water for caravans heading between Syria and Arabia. In orderto secure this vital water source, the Romans also built a small fort here,though it became a monastery during the Byzantine period, and was laterrestored by the Umayyads in about AD 700. Remarkably, an inscription on one ofthe walls of the fort suggests that it may have been occupied as late as 1409.
We did some exploring but it was in the middle of nowhere so there wasn’t so much to see. We headed back toward Amman but had to drop off our little friend at the check point first. He invited us into the police station where we all enjoyed some tea and some Arabic practice with some boarder police. James and our friend that went with us to the ruins apparently had some kind of bond because our escort gave James a keffiyeh. We all posed for a picture before we left and then were on the road again toward another place with some ruins. James thought it was wonderful. I thought it was cool but I had no idea what it was.
The next day was Sunday. THIS was finals week….well Arabic finals at least. I didn’t have anything on Sunday but on Monday I had a presentation of my portfolio that I did comparing my host family to my American family (this was all in Arabic…yeah Im that good). I also had an interview in Arabic that day AND history class! It was a full day.
Nothing on Tuesday, I don’t think. But Wednesday I had a skit I had to perform for my colloquial Arabic class. That afternoon my class and I went to a café with my MSA professor. We sat and talked for about an hour or so and gave him a picture that we took of the whole class in traditional clothing. He loved it so we all went together to take our own picture.
That night was our first goodbye party. It was a sad night. All of the CIEE students and most of the falculty gathered at a restaurant off campus for a very delicious dinner. It had so many courses of veggies, kabobs, French fries, fruit and two hookahs per table. We had a wonderful time socializing with our friends but it was really the first time I started thinking about leaving. I got my first "goodbye" hug that night and it just really hit me that I might never see those people again. It was really pretty sad.
Thursday was our Arabic-post test and reentry training. We had a three hour test in the morning. When we arrived to the test the room was full so we had to go to a different room. After about an hour in that room we had to move to ANOTHER room to finish our test. That afternoon we had our re-entry training which basically told us how grades would work, suggestions to get to the airport and what to expect with reverse culture shock.
Okay so that was a quick summary of my last week. Next I will recap my weekend adventure! Stay tuned!