Let the adventure begin!
You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
~ U2, Walk On
It’s about 75 degrees here. It’s warm, sunny and beautiful and I can’t wait for the day to start. The sky it a startling sapphire blue and the sun’s sweltering rays are blazing through my window to wake me up.
No…this isn’t Jordan. It’s actually home sweet home in sunny southern California, where I am about to start packing for the trip of a lifetime.
Suitcases are strewn across my floor, full of all the clothes I packed away when I graduated from BU less than a week ago. The willingness to start packing yet again is quite low, but the incentive is high.
I just got my new passport in the mail yesterday with a visa stamped into its pages by the Jordanian embassy. I can’t believe that I am actually going, but it will hit me eventually. I also received an email from the organizer of the program, providing us with a tentative itinerary. I won’t give away all of the secrets right away, but I can tell you that we are definitely seeing wonders and meeting very important people, including government officials, ministers, journalists and entrepreneurs. In addition, we will be visiting important archeological, biblical and historical sites throughout the country.
So what’s on the packing and preparation list?
It’s only about a week, but every time I travel somewhere far, I feel that every mile adds some sort of urgent need for more clothing. Plus, the more exotic the location, the more there seems to be a necessity to bring more exotic clothing. After all, how could I go to Jordan without my goddess sandals and all of my khaki colored clothing including, but not limited to, khaki pants, khaki dresses, khaki jackets and khaki skirts. It’s the desert and I feel that I need to blend in. When else can I use all of these sandy colored items of clothing?
As I am packing, my worried parents are, of course, getting very involved. Having taken out a book on Jordan from the library, my father has now been trying to teach me how to say “go away” to men who approach me and has also told me to wear a ring on my ring finger, just in case. The Lonely Planet guidebook seems to think I will be harassed or something of the sort. I brought a ring just in case, but I think I will pass on carrying around a fake picture of “my” baby. That’s a little much.
As far as regular packing goes, I have packed some “business casual” attire for meetings with important government officials and for nice dinners. I also brought some pashminas, because how could I go to the Middle East, without pashminas? We were told we might be swimming in the Dead Sea. More like floating probably, but either way, I brought a bikini and a more conservative sporty suit just in case as well.
Despite all of my culturally adherent clothing and my parents’ worries, my esthetician at the salon, who is from Iran, told me yesterday that Jordan is very Americanized and I have absolutely nothing to worry about. The only thing I will make sure to be careful about is drinking only bottled water. As I was told by many, including the Jordanian Embassy, this is the only real danger.
Overall, I am excited to fly out in a week and I still can’t really believe I am going.
In other news, I found out Queen Rania of Jordan has a Twitter and I am now following her… Gotta love modern technology.