I Fell In Love With A Place That Isn't Home
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Politics and Activism

I Fell In Love With A Place That Isn't Home

The thing about leaving parts of your heart in other places...is they will remain in that place forever.

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I Fell In Love With A Place That Isn't Home
Wikipedia

This summer, from June 29 to August 5, I was in Jordan. Jordan is a Middle Eastern country with Syria to the North, Iraq to the East, Saudi Arabia to the South, and Israel/Palestine/the West Bank to the West. I was there to teach English for the month of July. I had been to Jordan before, for a week in March to help with the refugee crisis. In total, I have spent about 6 weeks in the country.

It was not a country I expected to fall in love with. I saw Jordan as a stepping stone to get to my real goal: Yemen. I have wanted to go to Yemen for the past five years to help with the humanitarian crisis, but one does not simply go to Yemen if you have never left the United States. Jordan is one of the safest Arab countries, so I thought it would be a good warm up.

But as soon as I saw Jordan out of that plane window in March, I was in love. The capital city of Amman glowed orange, or at least what I could see of it through the thunderstorm we were attempting to land in (kudos to our pilot).

Pieces of my heart are scattered all over that desert country—in the winding, uneven staircases of Amman (nicknamed appropriately the city of a thousand stairs); in the mystic ruins of Petra; in the orange sand and thousands of stars of Wadi Rum; in the Roman city of Jerash, that Jesus and his disciples came through.

More of my heart is left in tiny apartments inhabited by refugee families, who taught me the true meaning of hope, resilience, and family. More pieces are left with children in the city of Zarqa, where I taught English this summer—children who ran to hug me every morning and who I still talk to. I dropped some on flat rooftops that I helped paint and on dirty, hot streets when I walked back to my apartment every day.

Jordan is not a place you would traditionally call beautiful. It’s a desert, and as soon as I tell people that they assume it is ugly and desolate. But it is beautiful, just in another way. There are dull lavender shrubs, olive and fig trees, and perpetually bright blue skies (there’s barely any rain, so clouds aren’t really a thing). Rolling hills are everywhere, and if you don’t think abandoned ruins are cool, I can’t help you

But Jordan is not home. I lived there for over a month, I’ve learned some Arabic; I can get around the cities by myself. I have seen sunrises and sunsets, drank tea and coffee, and eaten their food. Yet I was only a visitor in this place I have come to love so dearly. At the end of the month, I packed up my bags, got on a plane, and received a warm welcome me home from my family at the airport.

I still love home. I love the sweet magnolia scent of a Georgia evening, and I love my other home up at college with its blue mountains. The thing about leaving parts of your heart in other places is that they grow back. They will remain in that place forever, but my heart can remain full. And when I go to the next place, I can scatter more pieces.

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