I swear to you all, I have written this post at least four times. You would think at some point I would learn to type these drafts in a word doc so I wouldn’t loose the drafts, yet here I am trying for the fifth time to finish a post on wordpress and praying to Zeus and all his godly friends that this post isn’t lost to the depths of the world wide web. I really hate technology.
Since the last post quite a bit has happened in and out of Jordan. There were new countries and cities, diving and biking, many Skype calls, a summer job, and of course endless procrastination on my part. So here comes the long winded, hopefully soon to be published account of my last… how long has it been?
We landed in Dubai early morning and after a long night of travel we desperately needed the much fancier than expected Marriott hotel. We couldn’t actually afford hotel rooms in Dubai so we were always packing ten kids into two rooms. Needless to say, we all got very close. Dubai was exactly what you would expect, except it also wasn’t at all. Here are some thoughts I had while walking around the city that I hope will give you an idea of Dubai:
Am I in a life-size Legoland?
Nope, just kidding, I’m in the real world version of the Capitol from Hunger Games.
The skywalk has moving walkways, yet I cant take my eyes off the uneven pavement in Jordan for a second without face planting.
There is an aquarium and an ice skating rink in a mall? Wait then where’s the indoor ski resort? Oh, right in the other ginormous mall.
Can the front desk tell we’re cramming all these people in to the room after they made it clear there were only supposed to be two in each?
Oh, yep, that’s definitely a yes…
Why does their map look like an adventure park map?
We are surrounded by millions of dollars worth of gold yet we haven’t been able to find a place that sells food in two hours.
Oh here’s an ATM… Just kidding, that’s just your everyday twenty-four caret gold dog tag printer.
…And that was Dubai in a nutshell. It was all the glitz and the glam I was expecting, except that between the sections of a few tall buildings there was absolutely nothing but desert sand. A very over and under whelming city.
But more importantly, we went to Oman (aka, the greatest country ever – that’s right ‘murica, I said it). Morgan and I started keeping count of all the things we liked about Oman. We had six before we left the airport, although I don’t think our tally could be trusted since we started counting things like “Ooh look a pretty mural” or “hey our bags came out first” in Oman’s favor. But regardless, I’m still in love with this country. Its pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted. A place where people are friendly, I can speak Arabic, climb, and not have to choose between the mountains or the sea.
They give refugees really nice housing and money so my new life plan is to become refugee and flee to Oman.
We stayed on a yacht for the first three days in Oman, which again was way out of our college kid budgets. Luckily the guy who owned the boat helped us out a lot with the price (so much so I was almost worried we were paying for our kidnapping). It was paradise. If there is a heaven, it’s on that boat, anchored between the mountains, snorkeling, playing mafia and card games, eating way too much, and reading all day long with a great group of people. And I haven’t even gotten to the best part. I GOT TO CLIMB. I basically became Alex Honnold over spring break. National Geographic might not have been there to document my deep water soloing, but it was every bit as epic. But not really because where we were all the rock was super flaky so I really only got to climb this one rock over and over. NatGeo not being there also screwed up my logistics. I didn’t have a dingy to take me up to these rocks so I was starting in the water – where all the oysters and barnacles reside. I won’t go into gory detail, but I came out with quite a bit of blood trailing down my legs and feet – still totally worth it!
Off the boat (that will forever have my heart) and back in Muscat, Oman we explored downtown, the souk and a park. I was so excited to see grass I laid down and started making grass angels. I really, really miss grass guys. And nature in general. Amman needs to work on this whole no green thing. Although they should probably fix the water crisis thing first.
On our last day in Oman we went to Paradise #2, otherwise known as Wadi Shab. It’s a river running between these two mountains that is incredibly clear water. It’s an easy but hot hike in to where everyone swims. We didn’t have much time before we had to be back at the hotel to check out so we decided the possible water fall we thought might exist at the end of the trail would have to remain a mystery and we would just swim where we were. Well some of our group was content with that – four of us went on the hunt. When the mysterious waterfall was found it was like something out of a movie. You swam through this small crack between two tall rocks, you could hear the water getting louder and louder but couldn’t see it until you made your way into the cave. It was my dream world. I would have resigned being a human if it meant I could grow some fins and stay in there forever. Actually I wouldn’t, but only because of the climbing available in the area. For some reason I don’t think I’d crush with a tail for feet. I climbed up the waterfall using a less than trustworthy rope, climbed through the opening of the cave and found the most peaceful pool of water I have ever seen. It was like a rock garden and a pond combined. I would just like to reiterate. I really, really did not want to leave Oman. But as the cliché goes, all good things come to an end. That end was the beginning of coming back to Amman a much tanner, much, much less pleased with city life version of myself.
After having such an amazing spring break we were not content to sit in the city the following weekend so we took a bus to Aqaba. It’s a pretty touristy town by the Red Sea. I knew I was diving that weekend so I honestly can’t remember much about the town because my brain was concentrating on, “What will we see? Will there be a lot of life? What are the conditions like here? Can I trust this company? What types of fish are in the Red Sea? OHMYGODIMGOINGDIVING”… Although I can tell you everyone freaked out when I said I’d never had gelato, so I got gelato – still partial to ice cream.
The diving was so much better than I was expecting. There weren’t as many fish as I’m used to but the corals made up for it. It wasn’t even that they were bigger/more colorful than usual; I was just so excited to see coral that wasn’t dying. We also got to see a tank that King Hussein had sunk to create an artificial reef which “just happened to be” pointed at Israel. I wish I had pictures to share. Got to see lots of clown fish, stone fish and a lionfish. Also the longest sea cucumber I’ve ever seen. It was very confusing to both Morgan and myself.
My next adventure was recently finalized and I am so excited to start it in just twenty days! Months before I even knew for sure that I was going to Jordan I had been looking at au pair jobs abroad. Unfortunately some pesky voice got in my head and said “Psst Molly you’re supposed to have an internship by this point in your life” and silly me, I listened. I ditched the family search and started looking at non-profits and planning out cover letters. But after the first month in Jordan I realized I was not ready to go into non-profit work this summer. With the amazing feeling of having a new life plan I decided hey I’m already out of the country for half of the year, why not make it most – much to my parents’ dismay. After fielding applications from 168 families from three different au pair websites I found the Kosif family in Istanbul, Turkey.
I start on the 19th of May and my final exam in Jordan is on the 13th so I decided I’d squeeze in a trip to Greece between school and work. I had a very packed five days planned when my mom asked me if she could meet me in Greece. I hesitated. Hesitated a lot. Which would have been fine had we been messaging, unfortunately my face was slightly panicking on her IPhone’s screen. It’s not that I didn’t want my mom intruding on my trip I was just imagining Jane Newbern – the woman who I clearly remember packing an entire suitcase just for shoes the first time we went to Mexico – being absolutely petrified by the hostels that I deem appropriate (and amazing/heavenly) housing or running from one ruin to the next trying to fit them in before catching a train out to the mountains, and then waking up at 4 to catch a train to get out to the islands. It was a great image but not one I thought she would be pleased with. I have since sent my itinerary to her and her exact words were “this is your trip”. We’ll see what happens there.
[Update since I wrote this: The mountains will have to wait until my return flight from Istanbul, but my mom has said she is packing very light – so probably only half a suitcase for shoes.]
Before I start again I would just like to reiterate: Blogging is difficult. This page has been sitting on my computer for weeks now, just judging me for not finishing it. I will finish it in this sitting. I swear.
Two weekends ago I went to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and almost didn’t come back. Jerusalem is clean, has even sidewalks, history, and people don’t follow you down the street making strange sounds at you. I realize that for many of you your ideal city might have a longer check list than that, but at the moment all I want is to walk down an even, open, and clean sidewalk. The old city is incredibly beautiful and I am hoping to go back before I leave so I can see more.
[Update: I lied. But this time for real]
Okay we’re going with the world’s most succinct summaries for the rest of this because there is no other way I will get through this before I leave Jordan.
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were super cool and relaxing. We met some cool British dudes (BD). One of them was the male version of me, so I have been told. We went out dancing with the BD. There are many, many stories of how that night ended. All I know is, at some point I got carried away – actually carried – by a bouncer who wouldn’t let me go tell my friends I was leaving (sorry mom and dad) and Albo (male version of me) saying “What are you doing?! I can’t fight that dude!” The next morning went to the beach to play soccer with the BD. Left Tel Aviv with Sarah and Madison that night so we could spend more time in Jerusalem. We had to fight our way on to the last few seats on the last bus. I almost punched an old woman, and absolutely elbowed a young man. He deserved it. We got to Jerusalem. I ate a piece of pizza. We did stuff. We went back to Amman the next day. End of story.
I will get through this post. I can and I will and don’t mind me typing out my encouragement to myself.
Last weekend I went desert biking – two words I did not ever expect to put next to each other and thoroughly enjoy. Turns out biking over hot, dusty, rocky terrain is tons of fun. Only down side is you pretty much have no idea where you are at times because your entire field of vision is this:
I may have to get into mountain biking. Although that probably won’t happen – being impaled by handlebars has never been as appealing to me as falling off of rocks. They told us we were supposed to go about 20k? It didn’t feel that far in the moment but the next day my butt was pretty sure it was farther than that.
Whew. That is all the big events.
Actually, I don’t know why I wouldn’t consider this a big event because it definitely is… Starting this August I am officially no longer enrolled at Appalachian! Whoop whoop. Bali here I come! It’s made the “live in the moment” philosophy a bit more difficult for me this semester knowing that I am going to Bali in a few months. I’m working on it.
A friend of mine recently posted a caption with one of her pictures of a cookbook/brewing book that even though she’s not in school right now doesn’t mean she isn’t learning. It made me so happy to see this. I have so many friends who are taking time off now or next semester and I think it’s absolutely wonderful. We might not be learning in the traditional setting, but we’re not a traditional bunch. We need stimuli you can’t get from a textbook and I am so proud to live in a community of people that encourages everyone to get out there and learn from life. Hearing about all of their amazing experiences in the past year will definitely be some good incentive to go back to App in the Spring of 2016.
And with that slightly mushy gushy note – I am done.
See you interweb peoples in some unknown amount of time!
Also, sorry this is so long.
Also, also, I will be better about posting. Maybe.