Amazingly, we are halfway done with the program! That means quite a lot has been going on the last couple weeks, including midterm exams, a four-day trip to the Southern parts of Jordan, plenty of reflection on what we’ve accomplished so far, and goal setting for the last half of the program. This can be a make or break moment for some students, depending on how they react to the stress one inevitably feels knowing that the time here is slipping away.
I feel much of the same stress, actually, but not because of my Arabic studies. I have been interviewing, observing, intervening, and slowly analyzing our students and their experiences for my research project (i.e., the main reason why I came this year). Sometimes that effort can seem overwhelming after spending most of the day on other duties, like grading midterms, but so far things have continued to move forward adequately I think.
السؤال القوي the big question
Okay, I know the real reason you are reading this blog is not to read about my anxieties. Let’s get to the big question: where are the pictures? Thanks mostly to Joy, here is a large collection of photos we’ve taken over the last several weeks, mainly from the program’s 4-day field trip to the Southern part of Jordan.
قصر شوبك shobak castle
Our first stop was Kerak, but we didn’t take any pictures there because most of us were in a bad mood. Fortunately, we all felt better by the time we got to our second stop, Shobak Castle. It was a Crusader castle under the control of Raynald of Châtillon, which some of you might remember from Age of Empires: Age of Kings in the Saladin campaign. Ha! That game really does teach some things well.
One of the best sites in all of Jordan is Petra, so named because it is all made of rock! We took it easy this time through and didn’t go on any of the long hikes available. Three little kids and a stroller don’t make for good rock-climbing company.
البتراء الصغير والوأيرة little petra and al-wu’ayra
We spent an entire day at Petra, then the next morning we started small. On the outskirts of “big Petra” lies another crusader castle called al-wu’ayra, where we stopped very briefly, and then an ancient way-point and hotel for caravans that visited Petra, now know as Little Petra. It requires a lot less walking, but shows some of the same amazing work.
وادي رم wadi rum
I think that the highlight of our trip was our excursion into one of the most famous desert locations in the Middle East, Wadi Rum. It was here that much of the story of Lawrence of Arabia took place, and it was all filmed here too! We started out on jeeps, tried out camels, and ended up in very comfortable tents for the night (I’d give them 4 stars!).
back to amman
The next day we spent some time in Aqaba where we snorkeled in the Red Sea and played at a resort on the ocean, but mostly just tried to recover from the intense fun that we’d had the previous days. When we got back to Amman, finally, we were ready for a regular schedule again.