Jordan #1: Departure Day!

Tene Ouedraogo ’25 and Billy Tang ’25 reflect on the emotions of traveling.

The Rite of Passage

Packed, excited, nervous, and in a dreamlike state we departed campus on our way to JFK and later that day on a flight to Jordan. The trip was smooth, we took cute pictures before leaving, experienced zero traffic, and made it hours before our flight. One could say this was the perfect trip. Well, for some (I mean just me), this would be their first time on a plane. Like everyone I started off the trip excited and looking forward to flying and traveling. However, I would soon find a way to botch the smoothness of the experience by putting “full-sized” products into my carry-on. Yes, before I hear the “how did you not know?”, or “were you paying attention?” I would like to say I knew travel-sized; I just had a very different understanding of what travel-sized meant compared to the security guard that began removing my lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and many more products in front of me. This was going to be my first time on the other side of the airport, past security, and I already had to throw out products I had just bought. However, before I had to accept my fate Ms. Samawi saved the day, well at least my day, by being able to work with the security guard to check in my bookbag. So here we go again, restarting the entire process of making it to the other side. And though I was embarrassed and ashamed the entire time, Ms. Samawi and Ms. Munkittrick reminded me that this was good for next time.

This was my right of passage to the other side and though my embarrassment was there to stay, the surreal experience of being on the other side blinded me as grabbing dinner and snacks with Melanie, Mary, and Ishaan helped heal my bruised ego. So, as we flew 12 hours to the other side of the world, I saw what I hoped for, reminding me that no good story is good without a bit of turbulence.

-Tene Ouedraogo ’25

Anxiety when traveling the Middle East

Even though I am an international student, I still feel like an ignorant trespasser every time I pack my bags to go on a trip. On this trip specifically, I was incredibly anxious about how I present myself not as the tourist that views Jordan and the Middle East through the manufactured lens of stereotypes and misinformed ideas. Given the fact that I am one of the few students that isn’t taking Arabic, the only way I can really express my enthusiasm and respect for Arabic culture is through my actions and body language. So from the time we departed Deerfield to the moment we arrived in King’s Academy I was trying to think of a way or method that could distance myself from the traditional tourist behavior so as to not embarrass myself. But when confronted with genuine interaction with the faculty and students I encountered it became more and more apparent that we were more similar than different. In fact, it was incredibly easy to get past the cultural and language barriers and understand each other. The point is, people are more similar to you than you think, and that overcomplicating things will only embarrass you further.

-Billy Tang ’25