Pop-Tarts and Traffic Laws

The water pressure in my shower is glorious.  The hot water is, indeed, hot.  And the internet– it’s so fast!  It’s everywhere!

Why did I ever leave?  The United States are great.  There are traffic laws.  And pop-tarts.  And American coffee.

Being able to go barefoot around the house?  For the first time in four months?  Because I’m no longer living in the Middle East?  Awesome.

Telling people I’m vegetarian?  And having them know what that means?  And not debate me about it?  Awesome.

Public transportation being regular and timely?  And having set routes?  That I can actually look up online?  Awesome.

We might as well be the United States of Awesome.  So I’d like to take this opportunity to express my great appreciation for the US.  In the less serious ways, and the more serious ones– personal liberties, freedom of press, etc.  I’m grateful to the four months away from it to remind me of the big things and make me, for the first time ever, really think about the little ones.

But.

(You knew that conjunction was coming, didn’t you?)

But there’s a lot to be said for Jordan as well.  For the call to prayer, a beautiful, ethereal sound to punctuate the day with moments of reflection.  For the ability to find a taxi anywhere, any time, and make it all the way across town for less than $7.  For the fact that there’s no such thing as nosy, so you and a complete stranger will go from “Hello!” to “So why don’t you have children?” in five seconds flat.  For the family-oriented culture that reminded me to appreciate my own.  Even for the strict social rules, since they helped me to become more conscientious, polite, and professional.  Jordan was beautiful, in so many ways, and I am honored to have experienced its culture.

I love the US– more than when I left, even– but the magic thing about love is that it’s not a finite resource.  Coming home and realizing the amazing things I’ve taken for granted in no way diminishes my love of Jordan.

And, really, that’s why I left in the first place: to find someplace I love, be it a new place or new appreciation for an old one.  Next year is senior year, so I’ve got some downright terrifying decisions coming up, and a big one for me is– do I want to live in the Middle East after graduation?  Stay to work in the US?  Return to North Africa, where I first discovered my love of Arabic?  And now, I think I know– but that’s for me to occasionally agonize over in sleepless nights, and you to find out.

Suffice it to say, being in Jordan has taught me about Arab culture, American culture, and myself.  And trading four months of really, really amazing showers and speedy internet for that understanding was totally worth it.

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