Saturday, June 21, 2008

A bulldog above

The sun was setting off the left side of the aircraft.  I managed to see it dip[ below the horizon, with shortly ensuing blackness off towards the south.  The sun set below the clouds about and hour ago, and there is still a  blood red tint to the northern sky.  Somewhere over the atlantic my team and I get closer and closer to our destination.

The flight is interesting.  This is supposedly a shorter flight than last year, but I am not sure with the travel times being significantly better than layovers.  Security was very intense on this flight.  I looked and think I could spot a few air marshals.  We were greeted with a security system just for our gate, that involved the second checkpoint to go throw.  A handful of fully armed DHS agents met us with a cheery gaze in-between the second checkpoint and the plane door.  The other passengers they looked a bit more apprehensive about.  In the back part of the plane, the majority of women are Hijab.    

This makes for a wonderful mix of arabic and English being spoken on the plane.  It is also a family flight, meaning there are probably 30 young kids who are trying to stay occupied for a very long haul.  There is nothing like the sound of a choir of screaming babies, when one has 8 hours to go.

The baby in front of us is cute, and has a pacifier, and is therefore very quiet.  She likes to play in the aisle, and the American girls have taken good care of our new Jordanian friend.  

The alphabet acquisition is coming along fantastic.  This group is the best prepared, and is directly positioned to make the best strides in learning out of the previous groups.  These kids are very very smart.  Some of the discussions have just been astounding.  No one has super conflicting politics, or if they do they are hard to figure out.  Rest assured I will find someone I do not agree with.  

Last year upon take off I was filled with dread and nerves.  What if I didn't eat anything, what if they don’t like me, what if I can’t learn it, why the hell am I leaving my friends, family and girlfriend for 2 whole months?

This time all I could think about is, when are we going to get there.  I felt like last year was a great way to get my feet way, and towards the end I felt full assimilation.  This year I want to make sure my team feels more of that assimilation for a longer period.  It truly is a euphoric experience.  I sort of envy them going over not know what on earth they will be going through.  I do not know what will happen to me, but I can at least count on previous experience.  These new students are only counting on the leadership teams experience.

The leadership team for this group is amazing.  Everyone has a real grasp of arabic, far superior than mine.  They are doing a wonderful job reinforcing the arabic alphabet.  I still think I am the best when it comes to networking though, so I know I will hold my own in the effectiveness of the program.  I can not wait to see how this will play out.

I grew up in so many ways from being over there, (or I guess over here)  I hope the other kids realize that about themselves.  They all have so much potential, I hope that culture shock does not hold them back too much.  They seem to be bonding rather well, though I am worried about the lack of male interaction with the females.  Normally all the problems in the group last year stemmed form the interest of the American boys in the girls.  (so it was only one guy that had an issue, but it started because he attempted to get with a girl on the trip.)  I can safely say though that 20 american teenagers were in close proximity for 2 months, and there was not physical relationships.  We are attempting to get a repeat on this trip.  However, if the males are not even talking to the females, then the females, and there are lots of them, will seek male attention form Jordanian men.  they are going to get lots of it, and therein was where the real threats came last year.  No one was ever in any danger, we just don’t want our young american girls running off with people we do not know.  anyone who knows teenage girls knows they are not going to ask the team leaders if she can go on a date with Jordanians.  

One of the nice things about a stream of conscious writing is that I can change mid thought.  Some of the girls and guys were playing cards-(we have only been airborne for 1 movie) and the steward came and told them no leaning over the backs of seats to play cards.  Oh well at least they were talking.

I might get the chance to write again from this tin can between the world I know and the heavens, but sleep is getting the best of me.  

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Isn't it weird how when you don't know something you yearn to know, but often after knowing you wish you could forget?
I love that you counted time in movies. Long flights are hard.

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