This past week was our last week of classes at Al Ahliyya Amman University. Things are quickly coming to an end here in Jordan, and so like all study abroad kids afflicted with end-of-the-year-itis, we’re trying to accomplish as much as possible in the next two weeks.
Today, we had our lovely Arabic teacher over to teach us how to make maqloobeh (a rice/potato/chicken dish) and tabouleh (my favorite kind of salad). We spent a few hours frying potatoes, cooking chicken, and chopping up parsley (so much parsley). Eventually, we all got to sit down in the living room and enjoy our delicious, home-cooked Arab food while learning funny sounding words in Arabic (like mnamnamat and bnumnum, which mean mosaics and tickle respectively).
I know this is the biggest study abroad cliché out there, but this year has flown by. I feel like I was just sitting on my living room floor in Alaska the night before my plane took off with the entire contents of my wardrobe strewn across the floor trying to determine exactly how many socks were enough socks. Except that was ten months ago. And now I’m about to take finals, say goodbye to my roommates, eat at my favorite falafel place for the last time, pack up, and get on a plane home.
How are you supposed to say goodbye to a place? I’ve moved around a lot, but I’ve never quite figured that out. You can hug people at the airport and send them emails and visit them. But you can’t keep up with a city on Facebook. You can’t go back to a place you lived once and step back into how it used to be.
I teach at a Palestinian refugee camp next to the university once a week. I am not a great teacher. I am far too easily persuaded to let my students run wild if someone gives me a hug or holds my hand. This Thursday was my last day, and as I was getting ready to go, one of my students gave me a paper heart and told me they loved me.
I really don’t know how I’m supposed to just go home now.
You can follow Elika’s other adventures abroad on her personal blog www.elikaa.blogspot.com.