Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We're having a reunion tomorrow. But as the original program was run by the state department, that makes everything we do TOP SECRET, therefore I cannot disclose specific information on the internet until the event is over.

Just kidding, but wouldn't Cat be proud?

Anyways, eight out of the fifteen of us are getting together for New Year's (and the other seven should Skype us!) AND I'M SO EXCITED!

That is all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photo Albums

I was cleaning my room to get ready for all of my friends from Jordan coming here for our reunion next week, and I found my photo album of "home" I brought to Jordan to show my host family and such. It's a lovely album, filled with pictures of the farm, and Girl Scouts and school and such, but it seems rather, well,  foreign. I started to laugh at how much I'd changed since I put together that album earlier this year, and kind of wondered what I'd put together if I had to make a photo album to describe myself now.

Several hours later, I was eating dinner when I asked if any of my pictures from Jordan ever got printed, so that I could show my grandma in Pennsylvania how my summer was. Her computer is rather slow, so I don't think she ever saw any online, and it wouldn't really be possible to put them on a flash drive and pull them up once we got there. My dad stood up and brought in a photo album from the laundry room. He said that it was supposed to be a Christmas present, but that he couldn't possibly sit here and listen to us try and figure out some alternative when he had this already.

On the front of the album were two pictures - one from the farewell dinner I had with my host family, and one from the top of the mountain at Petra. In the picture, my mom wore the same black hijab she wore to all special occasions, and my dad stared solemnly at the camera, in the same manner as every Jordanian man I've ever seen. I felt a panging in my stomach thinking about how much I missed them .I realized that this was the album of pictures I'd asked him to print for me months ago, after giving him a flash drive with all of my favorites on it. Flipping through, it was indeed each and every one of my favorites from the trip. It was perfect to bring on our trip to show my grandma.

And then I realized, that if I had to make a photo album to describe me, who I am, and what I love now, it would be this album. Laughing, I think about what I named an album of photos on Facebook right when I got home, and how the name still proves true. Qlbna yskun fi al-Urdon. My heart lives in Jordan. And even now, five months after I got home, it's still true; I have a feeling it's going to be like that for a long time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where Should I Buy My Fruit Today?

These are the kinds of things that pop back into my head and make me want to be in Jordan again. Fruit market or regular store? Is this really even something that requires thought? Going to this fruit market fi wasaat al-balaad was one of my favorite things. I don't even know what half the fruit was called, but it was so much more delicious than any apples or oranges here. Maybe it's just because everything was such an adventure, but still. I suppose I like adventures.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I got an email a couple days ago. Here's what it read:

Dear Diana Grote:
You have been selected as a semi-finalist for the NSLI-Y program! As a semi-finalist, the next step in the competitive selection process is a personal interview.  If you have not been contacted already, soon you will hear from a local AFS Intercultural Programs Volunteer about NSLI-Y interviews in your area. The volunteer will inform you of whether your interview will take place at a NSLI-Y Interview Event, in your home, or over the phone. Please keep your eyes open for this email, and respond in a timely manner if you would still like to be considered for a NSLI-Y scholarship.
The NSLI for Youth team, American Councils

Life is so good. It's so strange to be going through this whole process again. The application was strange to be answering those same questions again, and now it's strange to be waiting for my interview day again. It's strange to be nervous for the interview again, but for different reasons. The first time around, I just wanted to make sure they saw how interested I was, and how very badly I wanted to go. Now, I've become so much more so involved with the Middle East, and so much more passionate about it. And I'm just worried that I'm going to have a hard time explaining exactly how much I love Arabic and the Middle East to some interviewer.

Well, that's life, I guess. For now, I'm just going to go work on another exchange program application for a longer term. Insha'allah, as they say :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I keep thinking of Ramadan lights when I see all the Christmas lights. I miss Jordan :)