Photo of the Week
Jordan 4-week
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    [post_date] => 2014-07-29 11:35:09
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Hi Folks! I just posted a note alongside some images, but I believe that the note was eaten by the ether. I'll write again shortly if that's the case, but wanted to get these images on line - taken over the past few days while visiting the Jordan group. Enjoy! Chris [post_title] => Images from a recent (surprise) trip to Jordan [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => images-recent-surprise-trip-jordan [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-02 11:12:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-02 18:12:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=107361 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 167 [name] => Jordan 4-week [slug] => jordan-4-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 167 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 55 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 167 [category_count] => 55 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Jordan 4-week [category_nicename] => jordan-4-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/jordan-4-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Jordan 4-week )
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Images from a recent (surprise) trip to Jordan

Chris Yager,Jordan 4-week

Description

Hi Folks! I just posted a note alongside some images, but I believe that the note was eaten by the ether. I’ll write again shortly if that’s the case, but wanted to get these images on line – taken over the past few days while visiting the Jordan group. Enjoy! Chris

Posted On

07/29/14

Author

Chris Yager

Category

Jordan 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-29 10:10:54
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-29 16:10:54
    [post_content] => Hello Everyone!

 

This is just a quick tweet from the Amman Airport, Gate 106: We are all onboard and New York bound!

I hope you enjoy a final moment of peace and quiet before we burst back into your lives, and we can’t wait to see you soon.

 

Much love,

Team Jordan

 
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New York Bound!

Cate Brown,Jordan 4-week

Description

Hello Everyone!   This is just a quick tweet from the Amman Airport, Gate 106: We are all onboard and New York bound! I hope you enjoy a final moment of peace and quiet before we burst back into your lives, and we can’t wait to see you soon.   Much love, Team Jordan  

Posted On

07/29/14

Author

Cate Brown

Category

Jordan 4-week

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    [post_content] => Dear family and friends of the Jordan summer program,

It’s hard to believe that our adventure in Jordan has come to an end. Our students are now on their way back to meet their loved ones. This last month has been full of learning, bonding and fun, and we're sure the students will share their experiences and new insights with you.

Even just the last few days have been packed with learning and reflection. The group left their rural homestays in Disi and Tweisa on Friday, and led a two-day expedition to Petra. The students excelled at arranging accommodation, meals and leading hikes around the ancient, impressive site of Petra.

Expedition phase was followed by two days of ‘transference’. This is time for the students to reflect on their experiences and their learning, think about going home and integrating their skills and passions into their lives, and expressing gratitude for others in the group. We hope transference will help the students to effectively transition from the summer program into their future lives. This is particularly important as ‘going home’ can sometimes feel strange, when the students have undergone a transformative experience during time away.

During transference, the i-team asked the students to share their thoughts about their experiences on course and going home. The quotes below give you some insights into how the group is feeling.

1. What have you learned or how have you changed through your experience in Jordan?

I learned that it is so important to keep an open mind when traveling abroad and to go with the flow or else you’re going to be in for a real challenge. You need to be open to experiencing cultures so different from your own and even though you may not necessarily agree with certain cultural values, you need to be tolerant or else you’ll never gain any valuable insights about the world at large.

I have learned a lot about Arab and Islamic culture. I have a different perspective on a number of issues.

Learned: Arabic, culture, religion etc. Changed: Probably gained 10lbs.

More aware of the value of money.

I’ve learned that teenagers that aspire to learn share more interests than those that don’t.

I was able to change the lens in which I looked at the Middle East, which helped me understand it better and deeper.

I’ve grown into a more outgoing and more talkative person during my experience in Jordan.

The definition of freedom can be very different.

I’ve learned how to become a better version of myself and how to be a traveling global citizen instead of just a tourist looking at Jordan through an American lens.

I don’t feel I’ve changed at all or learned anything new about myself. I have been able to witness a different way of life I previously did not know much about. Living in communities, even just in Amman, there was a tribal structure which is a social order I hadn’t engaged with previously.

I learned more about the concept of global citizenship. Spending four weeks in Jordan does not only teach me how to live in this country, but also how my cultural lenses are affecting my view towards other culture.

Experience in Jordan helps me gain a better sense of myself.

2. What would you like to tell your family and friends before you return home?

I am very excited to share my experiences with you all, but I need to eat a lot of food first.

Please understand while this trip was awesome, sleep and relaxation were scarce and I would love NOT to be ostracized when I return home and “take it easy”.

Got the camel picture, didn’t get a sunburn.

The shob is real.

I would like to tell my friends and family that I would love to share my experience with them/answer questions. But I want them to have an open mind to what I say and hear it.

I may not remember very many details about the trip, but please ask questions.

I want to come back here and have more pita.

There’s no real way to explain the experience as a whole. I can explain what I did and where I went, but can’t explain exactly what I saw and the emotions felt there.

I’m great here. People, buildings, food, clothes and traditions have made me more and more attracted to the Middle Eastern culture. I can picture being here by myself in the future.

It’s going to be difficult for me to recount all the details to you because so much happened, but please feel free to ask me any questions. Just try to skip the general “so how was Jordan?” because my experience was so much more than that. Oh, and don’t offer to take me to any Middle Eastern restaurant for at least a year.

We would like to thank our students for their sharing, enthusiasm, support and commitment to learning throughout the summer. We are also grateful to everyone who has supported them and us to have such a successful program – including family and friends, Dragons admin, and homestay families and guest speakers in Jordan – to you all we say, “shukran jazeelan”.

With warm wishes,

Paul, Britt, Cate and Elley
Jordan Instructor Team
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Jordan 4-week

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Transference Yak

Everyone,Jordan 4-week

Description

Dear family and friends of the Jordan summer program, It’s hard to believe that our adventure in Jordan has come to an end. Our students are now on their way back to meet their loved ones. This last month has been full of learning, bonding and fun, and we’re sure the students will share their […]

Posted On

07/29/14

Author

Everyone

Category

Jordan 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-25 14:39:37
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    [post_content] => Dear Jordan Students & Families,

 

This weekend marks the end of our Jordan summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

 

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference.  Starting on Saturday, 7/26, should you need any assistance during student travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com. During office hours (M-F, 9:00am-5:00pm M.S.T.) please continue to use our parent line at:800-982-9203 ext. 130.

 Returning Flight: 

July 29th, 2014 

Royal Jordanian #261

Depart: Amman (AMM) 12:45pm

Arrive: New York (JFK) 6:15pm

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Jordan 4-week

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Jordan 4 Return Flight Reminder

Eva Vanek,Jordan 4-week

Description

Dear Jordan Students & Families,   This weekend marks the end of our Jordan summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!   Below is a reminder of the return group flight […]

Posted On

07/25/14

Author

Eva Vanek

Category

Jordan 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-24 16:40:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-24 22:40:22
    [post_content] => 

I wake in the morning scratching new bug bites, eyes swollen from the heat. I stretch on my mattress and take my time waking up. Careful to abide by cultural norms, I wash my hands and face in the lukewarm tapwater before greeting Khawla. "SabaH al-kheir," I say groggily and she scowls back at me. No one is happy to be awake at 8am during Ramadan. Breakfast is sweet tea, bread, olive oil and zaatar, followed by more tea.

The desert morning is silent, especially during this holy month. I feel the brush of air on my face, heat already wafting up from the sandy ground. Giant ants race to try and beat me into my room; I've ceased to be bothered by anything smaller than my big toe.

There is a woman here who looks like a dried up little raisin. The wrinkles mark her face like fault lines of life, each one a different story. Stories that, if she recounted them to me, I would only hear jarbled sounds and silence. They say she's 90, but she's a dateless artifact.

She comes and goes, never pausing to announce her presence or give a reason for stopping by. She decisively enters the room, a little shuffling ball of black fabric, then sits on the ground and stares expectantly. I often attempt a greeting that goes unheard, and her one good eye stares at me in a mixture of indifference and perplexion.

"Wein Khawla?" she eventually asks, and it is the only thing I understand. I tell her that Khawla is inside or at Nadia's or asleep, and she grumbles some more. She will stare for a bit, wave her hands intermittently, rub her eyes and mumble at us. She's fasting, she says. If she can do it, why is it so hard for me? I ask myself.

Her hands are the most remarkable. They are massive and weathered, and more expressive than the sounds that come out of her mouth. They seem too large for her tiny, hunched frame, and it's clear that she was once a large woman. Although her skeleton has shrunk, her presence remains large, and it's hard to focus on anyone else once she enters a room. We call her Grandma Raisin, and the students all exchange looks and try to hide smiles when she comes in. Yesterday she sat in on our Arabic lesson, and I can only imagine what she thought of our alphabet lesson.

In the afternoon, the solemn, pre-iftar hunger is settling in. Your stomach eventually resigns itself to being empty and stops complaining. The light becomes smokier, dustier as the sun sets. It makes sharp contrasts against the tremendous rock formations that surround the village. Shadows creep longer and taller, growing softer with the sun's rays. The hills are a soft pastel purple against the red sandy ground. Women are bustling to get food ready promptly at 7:48pm; timing is everything.

The table is set and everyone sits expectantly around it, trying to hide their impatience for the sun to just set already. The azaan rings out across the town. Everyone begins to pray under their breath, pouring cups of juice and handing out dates. The Qur'an says that the prophet Mohammad broke his fast by eating dates, so hundreds of years later that dark mapley sweetness is still the first flavor in everyone's mouth. Everyone digs in with their weapon of choice, spoon or fingers, from the communal platter. "More, more! Eat more!" they insist. I acquiesce far too easily, and more than one woman tells me I'll soon be as round as she is.

After we eat, tiredness ebbs and flows. My full stomach contentedly works away at the mansaf and dates, distracting my head from any real thought. We sit around on the mats after iftar, sipping on sweet tea and bitter coffee. Bedouin coffee is a different beast altogether, served after dinner from a thermos. It's a brown the color of wheat, almost as if milk has been added. It tastes of earth, of spices, of ground up roasted plants. I guess that's what coffee is, after all. We sit and sip out of little doll-like cups, silent or making small talk, pinned to these mats by our fullness and that dangerous inertia that makes life here so easy.

It makes you contemplate why you ever hurried around in the first place. What was the rush? Why not sit and stay a little more?

It makes you think about food and family and celebration. It makes you fall asleep feeling stomach-full and mind-full. And instead of your thoughts zig-zagging through your mind like people swarming at a subway station, they lallygag around, pausing here, pausing there. You slowly tip backward into sleep, sweating and itching but at peace.

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This Bedouin Life

Elley Cannon,Jordan 4-week

Description

I wake in the morning scratching new bug bites, eyes swollen from the heat. I stretch on my mattress and take my time waking up. Careful to abide by cultural norms, I wash my hands and face in the lukewarm tapwater before greeting Khawla. “SabaH al-kheir,” I say groggily and she scowls back at me. […]

Posted On

07/24/14

Author

Elley Cannon

Category

Jordan 4-week

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Marhaba from Tweisih!

All of the girls have been busy adapting in their village homestays in Tweisih, a village not far from where our adventures in Jordan began. Yet again we have found ourselves caught in the middle of the most beautiful landscapes of sandstone cliffs and clear skies.

Unlike our time in Saleh's camp, this time we are all separated into different houses - many with innumerable children and quite a few livestock. These homestay families speak decidedly less English than those many of us experienced in Amman, but their generosity and good naturedness are unsurpassed.

Each day we meet for morning and afternoon sessions, taking all of our meals at home with our families. All of us have quite a few stories to share about our adventures into this new culture. During our afternoon sessions, we discuss the various similarities and differences between this Bedouin culture and our own, and how we can process this information in order to cultivate a new understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

While often overwhelming, engaging with our host families and community expose us most to the powerful values of this society.

Interactions include:

- Goat and sheep herding deep in the Wadi Rum Desert

- Cooking with host sisters and mothers

- Cleaning the house

- Playing with children either in the intimate confines of the home or in front beautiful backdrop that is the edge of the desert

- Picking fruit from family owned orchards/fields

- Watching Ramadan soap operas

- Eating pita bread with zaatar, laban, labneh, zeit, or jibne

- Learning to use squatty potties

- Enjoying Iftar (Dinner) amoug the large tribal families with many generations

In a few days we will have to say good bye to our host families as we head to Petra on an expedition, we, the students have planned. While we will be incredibly saddened to say our farewells, the lessons we have learned from our time here will never leave us- as cliche as that sounds.

Ta Ta for now!

Mary, Sophia, and Wally

DSCN3004

DSCN3034

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Village homestays in Tweisi

Mary, Sophia, and Wally,Jordan 4-week

Description

Marhaba from Tweisih! All of the girls have been busy adapting in their village homestays in Tweisih, a village not far from where our adventures in Jordan began. Yet again we have found ourselves caught in the middle of the most beautiful landscapes of sandstone cliffs and clear skies. Unlike our time in Saleh’s camp, […]

Posted On

07/24/14

Author

Mary, Sophia, and Wally

Category

Jordan 4-week

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2014-07-21 13:31:34
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-21 19:31:34
    [post_content] => 
Hello Yak board!
Again, there's been a bout of inaction on our Yak board, and I apologize to all of our home-town fans for our collective silence.
It's been another great week in Jordan. Recent highlights include a final celebration with all of our home-stay families in Amman, a trip to the Dead Sea, an afternoon exploring Mt. Nebo and a couple awesome Arabic lessons with our Jordanian friend, Ahmed.
Right now, we are about 15 minutes from hopping on a bus down to Desa and Tweisi for our second home-stay experience in Jordan. This week we will be in split-gender home-stays, with the boys in Desa with Paul and Cate and the girls in Tweisi with Britt and Elley. We're not quite sure what to expect yet, but we're getting ready to welcome the desert sun.
Please enjoy the family portraits from our home-stay party below.
We miss you all, and we promise to be in touch soon!
Much love,
Team Jordan
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An Update from Jordan

Cate, Britt, Paul, and Elley,Jordan 4-week

Description

Hello Yak board! Again, there’s been a bout of inaction on our Yak board, and I apologize to all of our home-town fans for our collective silence. It’s been another great week in Jordan. Recent highlights include a final celebration with all of our home-stay families in Amman, a trip to the Dead Sea, an […]

Posted On

07/21/14

Author

Cate, Britt, Paul, and Elley

Category

Jordan 4-week

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    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-16 15:53:02
    [post_content] => 
Ahlan Friends and Family! Here are a few snapshots from our desert trek in Wadi Rum. In short, our time in the desert was incredible, although it feels like a separate trip altogether right now. Tonight, the air in Amman is cool. I'm sitting in Jabal al-Lweibdeh, a neighborhood just outside of downtown Amman, and the call to prayer is reverberating off our hillside (jabal) for the fourth time this evening. I've never spent time in the Middle East during Ramadan, and the repeated recitation of Quranic scripts always draws me back; it grounds me, and reminds me how lucky we are to be in Jordan during this 'pause'; an intentional time to prioritize faith, family and extremely rich food. We've had an action packed few days in Amman; the type that became intimidating as soon as I acknowledged the date of this post. It's now July 14th, and the title of this Yak is "Snapshots from our Desert Trek" ... so let me re-cap… When we first arrived in Jordan, we flew into Amman and immediately boarded a mini-bus down to a desert camp outside of Disa Village; a village on the outskirts of the largest natural preserve in Jordan, Wadi Rum. After two days of Orientation, we piled our belongings into a pick-up truck and hopped atop a caravan of camels, everything glowing in the late afternoon sun. Our week in the desert settled into a rhythm. We woke up with the sun each morning and wandered into the desert, skirting the edge of huge sandstone cliffs to stay out of the sun. After two hours of walking, we’d settle down for the heat of the day and study Arabic, feast on piles of pita, drink glass after glass of sweet tea, and play cesja, a form of Bedouin chess that our guide Suleiman kindly taught us. Britt and Angie embraced the competition, although Suleiman showed absolutely no signs of mercy, and repeatedly beat both Britt and Angie, taunting them almost continuously along the way; the corners of his eyes folded in triumphant glee. In the evening, we’d walk again, set up camp, and then settle in for family-style dinner; the night sky crushed velvet and stars above us. Writing about this week feels nostalgic already. Something about the vastness of the sand and the blanket of the sky seemed to cradle our experience, drawing us together to find meaning in the empty space. I grew up along a river in New Hampshire, and the absence of trees, water, and vibrant life in the desert always strikes me; the vacuous space offering time for reflection. Ok, more soon. Much love, Team Jordan [post_title] => Snapshots of our Desert Trek! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => snapshots-desert-trek [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-08 16:17:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-08 23:17:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=105850 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 36 [name] => Best Notes From The Field [slug] => best-notes-from-the-field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 36 [taxonomy] => category [description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course. [parent] => 0 [count] => 504 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 [cat_ID] => 36 [category_count] => 504 [category_description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course. [cat_name] => Best Notes From The Field [category_nicename] => best-notes-from-the-field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/best-notes-from-the-field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 30 [name] => Picture of the Week [slug] => picture-of-the-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 30 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 483 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 30 [category_count] => 483 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Picture of the Week [category_nicename] => picture-of-the-week [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/picture-of-the-week/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 167 [name] => Jordan 4-week [slug] => jordan-4-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 167 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 55 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 167 [category_count] => 55 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Jordan 4-week [category_nicename] => jordan-4-week [category_parent] => 254 ) ) [category_links] => Best Notes From The Field, Picture of the Week ... )
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Snapshots of our Desert Trek!

Cate Brown,Best Notes From The Field, Picture of the Week, Jordan 4-week

Description

Ahlan Friends and Family! Here are a few snapshots from our desert trek in Wadi Rum. In short, our time in the desert was incredible, although it feels like a separate trip altogether right now. Tonight, the air in Amman is cool. I’m sitting in Jabal al-Lweibdeh, a neighborhood just outside of downtown Amman, and the call […]

Posted On

07/16/14

Author

Cate Brown

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    [post_content] => Hello from Amman

I am sorry we haven't yakked in quite along time. We have been having too much fun. We have one more night with our home stay families after spending the previous  5 days with them. Everyone has loved their families, some people have had to deal with a strong language barrier while others have families who speak fluent English. My favorite part of this experience has been talking to my family and listening to their opinions about  politics and religion. Apart from the home stays we have been meeting at the University of Jordan for Arabic lessons, we've met project directors at Mercy Corps, and we have listened to various speakers about a wide range of subjects.

We are leaving Amman tomorrow and heading to Madaba. We are all very excited about it and you should the Yaks that will follow.

PS GARNERRRRRRRRRR YAK OF THE WEEK
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Jordan 4-week

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Sorry for not yakking

Alex Lanchbury,Jordan 4-week

Description

Hello from Amman I am sorry we haven’t yakked in quite along time. We have been having too much fun. We have one more night with our home stay families after spending the previous  5 days with them. Everyone has loved their families, some people have had to deal with a strong language barrier while […]

Posted On

07/16/14

Author

Alex Lanchbury

Category

Jordan 4-week

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    [post_content] => We wish you a wonderful 16th Birthday.  I hope you get to celebrate today. We love you.
    [post_title] => Emily Bernstein-  Happy Happy 16th Birthday
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Emily Bernstein- Happy Happy 16th Birthday

Mom and Dad,Jordan 4-week

Description

We wish you a wonderful 16th Birthday.  I hope you get to celebrate today. We love you.

Posted On

07/13/14

Author

Mom and Dad

Category

Jordan 4-week

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