It’s early August and tensions have been brewing in Jerusalem, known to many as one of the holiest cities in the world. July marked increased conflict over a religious site known as Al-Aqsa to Muslims and Temple Mount to Jews, and regarded as incredibly important by both. To add to that, the killing of two … Continue reading Breaking Down Stereotypes
“Yalla ya shabab!”, our teacher, Ustadha Salam called our attention with an enthusiastic, “Come on guys!” “Study time is over; we are going to eat!” And with that, we abandoned our textbooks and notes for a surprise feast, wherein we were given a chance to taste the dishes that we saw in pictures, and savor … Continue reading “Bayti Baytak”: My Home is Yours
I was packing my bag for school when I heard a knock on my door and a shy voice calling out my name. As I stepped out, I saw Osama, my little host brother standing outside the room. In his hand, he held a broken hair tie. I remember my hair tie breaking the day … Continue reading The Unique thing about Jordan
In my broken Arabic, I asked the bus driver what time I would have to be ready the following day. “Bukra thamaniya?” or “Eight tomorrow?” I asked. He nodded and replied, “Inshallah”, or “God willing”. The following morning, at 8:00, I looked outside the living room window, ready to run down any second when the … Continue reading Inshallah
Arabic calligraphy? No problem! It's just Arabic with a fancy pen, right? Not really. Ever since I started learning Arabic, I loved writing letters and words with my felt-tip calligraphy pen that I bought off of Amazon. Walking into calligraphy class last Sunday afternoon, I didn’t expect it to be very different from what I … Continue reading Calligraphy, Cooking, Feasting
The book, broken. The house, broken. The room, broken. Practically everything is broken. Confused? Allow me to explain. With Arabic school a few days in, we have started diving into more vocabulary and of course, grammar. Currently we’re studying the plurals, which can either be masculine, feminine, or broken, which basically means that the word … Continue reading Grammar, Nesquik, and the Fourth of July
I could spend this blog post talking about my journey to Amman: the eight hour Arabic study session during the plane ride from D.C. to Vienna, the way we were given diplomatic status upon our entrance in Jordan, or the hours we spent in In-Country Orientation when we arrived. But none of that seems as … Continue reading Amman: First Sights, First Thoughts
The past two days of Pre-Departure Orientation have been such a blur! From travel, to arrival, to meeting everyone in our team, my NSLI-Y journey is off to a great start! Travel: With this being my first time flying all alone, I was definitely a bit nervous at the airport. Up until security, everything was … Continue reading From Austin to Washington: Travel, Arrival, and Pre-Departure Orientation
It’s Friday night and I leave for Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) on Monday. This past week has been incredibly busy. In addition to cramming last minute Arabic vocabulary, choosing host family gifts, and packing my luggage, I was lucky to spend this week doing one of my favorite things: volunteering with refugees. Every summer, Interfaith Action … Continue reading A Rewarding Last Week in Austin… T-3 Days until my NSLI-Y Adventure!
With the first week of summer underway, I find myself sitting in a cozy log cabin overlooking a gurgling stream. We are on a week long family vacation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The nature here is absolutely beautiful, and the best thing, in my opinion, is the abundance of snow up in … Continue reading Arabic, Snow, and the First Week of Summer Vacation!