Settling In

I am unsure if there is even an audience left for this blog.

I guess this is more for my sake and peace of mind that I write this post.


I have been back in the U.S. for almost a month now.

Maybe things were easier because I spent my first weeks back at home where things were the same as usual.

Coming back to college has been a different story.

I never thought I would be that study abroad student that comes back and has a complete meltdown; however, on my first day back with classes, I find myself inching toward one.

Alhamdulilah I have received a positive welcome back from friends and professors eager to know how my experience abroad was, and I have given the same welcome to fellow students also returning from their countries of study.

I guess I never expected I would feel so isolated, though.

My study abroad experience was unique, yes, but I underestimated just how unique it was being the only student going to the Middle East when I realized that I came back with no one but myself.

Friends around me who went to France together, or Chile or Spain, they all have a common bond that they share in that they had similar if not the same experiences abroad together. Luckily for them they have people who will understand if they are missing a certain food or a certain way the culture worked or the language they spoke there, and can reminisce on moments that they had together.

It wasn’t until I realized this that I also realized that I am very much alone in my experiences in Jordan.

Telling people I had a great time and this is what I saw only scratches the surface of my time in Jordan, because describing the things that hold deeper emotional ties will not only most likely bore someone after some time but might also confuse them.

It’s not to say the things I experienced aren’t things someone could relate to that’s never experienced Jordan or even the Middle East, but explaining little things like how I felt when I watched Anfas pray or what it was like trekking across a desert with my best friends doesn’t completely resonate with people. At most I usually get a smile, a nod and a “that’s awesome.”

In fact, I found myself smiling in class today at my Egyptian professor because she said “yanni” which means “like” or “I mean” in Arabic and I quickly stopped because I realized no one around me would understand how this word is an inside joke relevant to my time in Jordan and my time spent with friends there.

I could explain it, as I’ve done with friends and relatives back home in Indiana, but it never seems to get the deeper meaning of it because:

  1. no one around me speaks Arabic
  2. everyone I know that would understand the joke is back in Jordan

I have found a few Arab students and even a couple of professors here that could help fill the cultural void of food, language and religion that I miss but I think I understand now that my experience in Jordan lies within Jordan and the people that remain there.

It doesn’t make adjusting to life here any easier, though.

Before I left Jordan, I was unsure how life would be like once I was back in America. For the most part, it’s the same as when I left.

I think that’s what makes life here so sad for me.

Life continued even though I was gone for three months and life will continue now that I’m back. Even though it’s the same, though, it feels like I’ve not only missed so much here but that I’ve left so much behind in Jordan that I just want to go back to.

Inshallah things will get easier once I find my bearings and come to terms with what I’m feeling.

In the meantime I’ll stay positive and hopefully think about my present situations instead of dwelling on how much I feel like I need to be somewhere else.



One comment

  1. Perry Cloyd · January 22, 2016

    in time your individual experience will come full circle and there will be many who will share and understand. life is a body of work, all is important but the sum of the experience is what counts. i have read every word of this blog and continue to do so. i am one of those on the outside looking in at your experience. it took you some time to experience all this, it will take the rest of us some time to absorb what you have learned

    Liked by 1 person

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