Ruins

Just a few days shy from two full weeks here in Amman and so much has happened already! Downtown is always bustling, from indie movie screenings to rooftop hookah lounges, downtown at Rainbow Street is the place to be every Thursday night (Thursdays = Fridays here.) I actually might be participating in a poetry slam at one of the most well-known cafes on Rainbow, stay tuned! Tomorrow is my birthday and it feels weird starting off my 19th year so far away from everyone I love. I decided I am going to do an intense hike down a canyon, Wadi Mujib, and hope I don’t die. Stay tuned for that story too…

I finally have mastered the art of taxis and illegal Ubers as I navigate the city’s dusty alleys and noisy circles. The people here are kind and helpful. For the most part, they can sniff out Americans from a mile away and are eager to help however they can. I can honestly say, though, I have never experienced street harassment like this– hijabi or naked, men here will catcall anything that looks vaguely female and moves. Navigating my identity as a Muslim-American woman in the Middle East has honestly left me in an interesting in-between again: I find I am constantly having to explain myself and justify my identity over and over again:

  • Yes, I speak Arabic.
  • Well no, I’m not Jordanian, I am American.
  • Yes, my family is Jordanian.
  • No, not Jordanian-Jordanian, we are Circassian.
  • Okay, Muslim? Well yeah, there’s a scarf on my head.
  • Convert? No, I just told you my family is Jordanian.
  • Yes, I still pray in America.
  • Family name? Not your business, please leave me alone sir.

It’s infuriating. It’s mostly taxi drivers that dig the deepest, even if you ask them to stop. There are times I want to jump out of the taxi and just take my chances. It’s definitely strange still not feeling at home in the “homeland.” I’m too Arabic for America and not enough for Jordan. Oh well.

Other than that, things have finally started to settle down and normalize here. Alongside a full course-load and an internship, my lovely program here ensures we are getting our fill of being out and about. The longer I am here the more I realize how much there is to see, so much to do! It’s easy to forget that Jordan has a tangible history that dates back to Roman civilizations and biblical days. My first adventure began with the Citadel in the heart of the “Old City” in Amman. We spent the day covered in dust and exploring limestone and Roman ruins, honestly incredible. Here are some shots from the day!

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Roman Ruins at the Citadel

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Roman Theatre Ruins

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Roman Ruins of the Statue of Hercules: three fingers and a bicep

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On the edge of the Old City

 

I have so many of these mini-trips planned, I cannot wait. Tomorrow will be Wadi Mujib, and not a week later I am doing the “Golden Triangle” trip of Jordan: Wadi Rum, Petra, and Aqaba. I will be sure to update and document them all so hang around to check ’em out!

Origin Story

Hey there! Welcome to So Nadine Writes where I, Nadine, write. Incredible, right?

I’ve been making creative content for as long as I can remember and have finally decided to create a home base to publish a lot of it online! This site serves mostly as an archive to help organize my creative stuff for myself while simultaneously providing me with the motivation to share my work with others. This is a brief introduction to me, what I do, and why I do it.

Writing, for me, serves as an extension of myself. My poetry thematically parallels my personal values, beliefs, and opinions. My writing covers an extensive set of genres and I cannot seem to adhere to a specific style. Maybe I just haven’t found what works for me yet. At any rate, I hope you enjoy digging through my digital notebook.

Me, in a Nutshell: I really like cream-sodas with Redbull. I listen to a lot of heavy metal and deck out my own leather jackets with spikes and patches. I wear a scarf on my head as a way to express my choice in the way I want to practice my faith, Islam. I collect the bones of roadkill and other small dead animals. I really like crows, like a lot. I am a proud Washingtonian: I pretty much worship Seattle, black coffee, and Mount Rainier.

I write poetry and journals about the little things I interact with every day, about the kinds of feelings, words, and sounds that those things elicit. Sometimes I write things to read them out loud on a stage. Sometimes I write things and then burn them immediately after. I write about things that evoke a notable reaction from me. I often find myself writing about the love of my life (see: Jake Thomas Shaw and his baby, Radio Reality City). But mostly I write to get my thoughts out and straight. I find it’s how I articulate myself best and I hope you get a kick out of some of the things I have to say.

Real-World Stuff: I am a political science and global development double major student, trying to shove my way into the big-kid world of politics. I recently interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and currently work with a USAID gender project in the Middle East. I strongly feel that art and political activism have always been connected and I enjoy finding and creating overlaps between the two as a means of making the latter more accessible.

I don’t really know where I want to go yet in life or what role my writing will play down the line, but I’m sure if you stick around long enough we’ll figure it out together.

Welcome, and enjoy.

NHNABASS