Conversations Sur Le Maghreb

Tremor: 1.3, Depth: 6.8 miles, Location: 1.7 miles from Aptos, CA

If there’s one reason I can really point to for my interest in the Middle East, it would have to be Christina Miller, my French teacher for three years in high school. Her life has taken her from Sweden to North Africa to (inexplicably) teaching high school French in a San Jose suburb. Her and her husband are two of the most intellectual and kind-hearted people I have ever met. Over the three years of French I took under her instruction, my mind was opened to the culture of the Moroccans and Tunisians, and the Arabic world in general, and I longed to pursue further studies. By the time I arrived in college, I knew that my college career would have to take me to somewhere in the Middle East, come hell or high water, and that directly stems from my interaction with Madame Miller.

So it’s only fitting that tonight, I found myself visiting her and her husband before they left for a vacation that would keep them out of the country until just before I leave for Jordan. I had a great time, and enjoyed fabulous burgers, steak, and a mixture of Mountain Dew and orange juice (which was surprisingly not terrible.) It seemed a perfect way to pivot, and begin to focus on the fact that I really am leaving these 50 states. As if to reinforce this transition, when Skyping with a friend just a few hours later, she lamented to me that she will be quite sad to not be able to have easy contact with me the next two semesters. While I told her we would have Skype, it really started to hit home.

When I first started to thing about formulating the second post, I was sure the “tremor” wouldn’t be more than a 0.7. However, the more time I spend with the people I will miss the most, the more I think it could rarely go lower than a 1. Mind you, on a real Richter scale, these numbers would mean nothing to anyone without a seismograph, but I suppose that’s the point. Even after this reflection, everything still feels surreal. Somehow, I’m going to see everyone else while abroad, while learning Jordanian culture, and meeting some amazing new people. I know that simply won’t happen, and yet the thought still holds no sway over my brain. But if Madame Miller has taught me anything, it’s that you should always be prepared to adapt, to change, but most of all, to learn.


P.S.: Still listening to Dirty Projectors. Swing Lo Magellan and Just From Chevron are my jams. Impregnable Question may end up being my wedding song.


About crazytvfan815

A nearly-20 college student about to spend a year in Amman, Jordan, having never traveled to the Middle East before, and not knowing a word of Arabic.
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