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Bed·ou·in (noun or adj.) ˈbe-də-wən, ˈbed-wən 1. Desert dweller, nomadic Arab of the desert. 2. A wanderer or rover.

Sorry for using this blog as a photo dump and putting zero of my thoughts on here. Literally zero. I’ve been feeling unmotivated to write, mostly because I’ve passed the one-year mark in Amman, and this stopped feeling like a new and different experience a while ago. It seemed self-indulgent to blog. Would I publicly muse about my daily life if I were in a U.S. city? Probably not. I have a full time job, now, and things remain in their normal state of semi-normalcy. Nevertheless, I will mark this milestone with the proper amount of reflection.

Last week, I turned 23. That makes two birthdays spent in the country of Jordan. I think people must be wondering what I’m still doing here (this crosses my mind sometimes, too). I was supposed to be gone for a year, to have this ten-month stint and then return to the United States. Instead, I found myself searching for excuses to prolong my stay—first for the summer, then for the fall, and now probably until next summer. There are many reasons for this, of varying lengths and complexities, but I guess the short answer is that I love being in the Middle East. I like Amman, how tame it is but also how things are happening underneath the surface and how easy it is to find those things out. I like how full of foreigners it is, Arab and non-Arab and everything in between. I like my job and hearing people’s stories. I like being in the middle of things, feeling connected to the disquiet, disruption and dreaming that are happening in the region around me. So, now I’m 23, but I don’t feel uncertain or insecure about my choices—for the most part.

Recently, though, I’ve picked up a series of weird motivational habits. Sometimes I sit in the café with sound-cancelling headphones and the volume turned up, listening to crooked smile and pretending that J. Cole is singing to me. In the morning, I drink my coffee sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor because it makes me feel serene or at the very least earthy and unconventional. I often look at my reflection and say evenhanded things like you are capable or you can do it or please don’t unravel today. I wear mascara a lot more often. I’m not entirely unfazed by being young but also having responsibility for my actions and being largely untethered to anything or anyone. It requires a particular type of emotional self-care, which I have embraced maybe a little too fervently.

In summary: 23 feels great, better than 22, and I like where I am and where I’m headed. Aaaanyways. Later, my friends. I’ll write again soon about something else of minimal importance. Salaam.

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