The last few days of CET Jordan summer were, to say the least, fulfilling and reflective. Two months of summer magically flew by, and many of us found ourselves just starting to form deeper bonds with our classmates and other members of the CET community. The realization of summer ending suddenly hit me as we finished up our final oral exams and my calendar started to remind me of my flight home. Consequently, I filled my last week in Jordan with more activities than usual in fear of wasting the remaining chances to connect with my friends and the greater environment around us.
For our last day of class, our teacher decided to bring us to Abdali Mall to help us put into perspective how much we have learned over the summer by using words to describe items as well as discussing the Jordanian mall culture. After the mall, we went to one of the restaurants in Amman with the best view of the city. All of us were holding conversations regarding our plans for the future, our upcoming new school year, and other topics around our lives in Arabic.
After the last class, my friends and I went to the Jordan Museum to try to learn more about the history and stories of Jordan. We were beyond surprised and excited to find out that we were able to find so many words that we learned in class at the museum. There were no better feelings than actually seeing your own improvements manifested in different ways in our daily lives.
The last few days were filled with farewells to other CET-related members too. My language partner, Malak, invited me to her house for a final dinner. Her mom made mansaf, Jordan’s national lamb and rice dish, and I met all of her family and talked to them. I’m grateful that I am able to meet people from different social backgrounds through CET, while my high school in Jordan only exposed me to a very limited group of people in Jordan. This picture was my perfect bite of mansaf— some rockets, lamb, rice, and, most importantly, fried pine nuts.
My professor is a great part of the reason that my summer was amazing as many of my classmates would agree for themselves too. Ustaza (teacher) Dania is one of the most compassionate and patient teachers I’ve ever met. Our class wanted to prepare something special for her. Since our class had eight students, there was no way a small card could carry all of our love and appreciation for her. I used my handicraft skills to make her a simple card with all of our words of appreciation inside. The cover reads in Arabic “from our hearts” with eight cut-out hearts representing each one of us.
For our farewell dinner, we were brought to the same restaurant where we had our welcome dinner. This made the last dinner extra special as a full-circle moment. I remember very clearly that our welcome dinner was the first night that we had started the language pledge for the summer. Most of us could not really hold full conversations, while for our farewell dinner, we held different conversations and laughed at different inside jokes in Arabic. It was all thanks to our amazing teachers and our own hard work and dedication for two months.
One of my most treasured memories was from the night before our departure. My friends and I got invited by my Jordanian boss (Jamal) from Boston to visit his small farm and have dinner with his extended family. It was definitely one of the most authentic local cultural experiences throughout our summer.
They prepared delicious homemade meals for us; Jamal showed us his fig trees and picked many for us to taste; his family put on dabke music for us to dance to, etc. His family was beyond welcoming, and we had many exchanges surrounding American and Jordanian cultures. It was truly special to introduce my Boston family to my CET family and watch them bond.
I am forever grateful for the friendships that I have made throughout the two months with CET and grateful that our shared love and interest for Arabic brought us—such different and unique individuals— together.