Guess who’s back in Amman?!

Well, duh, it’s me!(;
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This is the Amman skyline from the Citadel with and view of the super tall flagpole!

So after a lovely month of lazing around my aunt’s cozy house and being fed as much chocolate as I could have ever wanted, I am back in Amman for my second semester here [and last semester of undergrad!!]. Here is how the remainder of my time in England went and my first week in Amman!

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Swans in London to brighten up a freezing, cloudy day!

I spent a few days in London before I left England, which was definitely worth my time. Although, the cold still kills! My toes would literally still be freezing in my waterproof boots and extra-warm socks!

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J. in front of Abraham Lincoln. Also, why is Abraham Lincoln in London?

On one day in London, I was able to meet with my friend J. who is also studying for the year with CIEE Amman. It was really nice to see him in his element here! I basically just hit up the big sites and ate loads of yummy food!

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Me and Big Ben.

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A randomly cool building in London.

Back in Cranfield, I got some quality time with fam! We ate out a few times, watched some movies together, and I completed all of S.‘s 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle when everyone else had to go back to work after the holidays. I’m so grateful that my England family took care of me like I was their own child. I love and miss you guys!! < 3

Also, while we never got snow, we got freezing fog on one day and, of course, plenty of clouds. Oh England(;

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Me and S. running in the freezing fog.

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The whole England family at an authentic Chinese restaurant. Thank you all for taking care of me this winter!!

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My aunt took this photo of the sunrise in Cranfield. It was so gorgeous…

Meanwhile, back in Amman….
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…but gosh this is the Amman sunrise from the 6th floor in the Landmark Hotel on the day I arrived. It was around 6am and I had just finished showering off my airport germs and just wanted to sleep, but I knew I had to photograph this sunrise. I definitely do not regret it! It is a sign of new beginnings in Jordan for me this semester.

Orientation
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I finally got to visit the Citadel! I missed seeing this last semester because I was literally outside the entrance dying from my food poisoning from the restaurant an hour earlier. I love the girls jumping all over it in this photo.

Our orientation week for the CIEE Arabic Language program was a lot of talk about the program, health and safety and sexual harassment and bystander intervention training. And, of course, getting to meet all of our program coordinators, all my fellow students and getting to know our new campus, Princess Sumaya University for Technology. We got a city tour and I finally got to see the Citadel! When CIEE did the city tour for my group last semester, I actually got food/heat poisoning after eating at Jafra Cafe in al-Balad and I was barely able to move, let alone even go inside the Citadel when we continued the tour after lunch. Thankfully, I got no food poisoning from Jafra the second time around, and the food was equally delish.

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Me, C., and E. drinking fresh juices in downtown Amman during our orientation city tour.

Getting to know my area…

I spent one day figuring out things around my new area. I am currently living in a homestay with the loveliest Jordanian family. They take care of me so well! I have gotten to meet many of their awesome relatives already, who also host American students.

While my new area is not much different than my old area, I spent a few hours walking around getting myself situated. While I was trying to find the women’s gym, I was shocked by the hordes of cars waving flags and honking.

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The car that caught me by surprise! It was honking loudly and waving a flag.

Following the honking cars, I eventually found the crowd of people who were extremely excited for Iraq’s win in a soccer match against Iran.

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I think I found all of the Iraqis in Jordan. This massive crowd was extremely excited that the Iraqi soccer team beat Iran in a match.

First trip out of town: Qasr al Abd or Qasr Iraq al Amir

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Outside the qasr.

I was invited by some friends in the DPS program to join them on a trip to Qasr al Abd, right outside of Amman. While I am not necessarily a history buff, I just wanted to get out town and meet some of the other DPS people. The visit to the castle (قصر في عربي) was quite nice because we ran around the ruins, then got to visit some caves on a mountain and then hung out with some locals near an olive grove. It was just such a pleasant, green, sunny day outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. I loved it(:

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Inside the qasr.

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Just me!

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Me and my awesome DPS friend J. on some high ruins!

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When we stopped by the olive grove, there were several locals hanging out smoking hookah near a canal. This guy, who was literally smoking his hookah pipe in the water, impressed me the most. He told us that he is going to New York for a month to visit family.

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A colorful truck parked next to the olive grove where we stopped.

This semester is off to a great start. I am totally ready for the language immersion because I really want to improve as much as possible in Arabic before I graduate and leave the academic environment… Overall, I am really happy and I have been making a point of getting my life into a routine schedule so that I can afford time for the spontaneous things (instead of feeling like I need to finish up work I procrastinated on). My host family has been amazing, my new (and old) friends have been wonderful and I am soon to have an INCREDIBLE trip to Sri Lanka in March for Spring Break!!! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my semester.

I was quite disappointed last week because I did not get the CLS scholarship to study in Turkey for the summer… but I think that means I’m going to come back to the states and finding a real-person job for the summer! I am not sure where exactly I plan to live yet, but I have some ideas up my sleeve(:

Everything in me is so hopeful for the best in the future for me and my siblings and friends. I feel like we are all working so hard to get to better places and reach our goals in life. Good luck and good work everyone! <3

Until next time,
Shimmy

 
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