We officially finished the academic portions of our program this morning, with a final exam so ridiculously hard that...well, no, come to think of it, I've got nothing to say about it, as I hate talking about any test after the fact. It's over, it's done with, and so what if I didn't quite figure out that the article was about IMF reforms. Bah.
But I don't mind talking about the celebrations after the tests: I came home and right away devoted several hours cleaning my apartment for a girls-only afternoon party with our tutors, during which we sang and danced and ate snacks and gasp! took off our head scarves. Okay, that was them, not us, but still--exciting!
Even more exciting, though, was the evening's activity: an Amr Diab concert in Jerash, at the South Theater. Imagine 3,000 Jordanians packed into a Roman theater, screaming and clapping and chanting and singing and dancing with the biggest pop star in the Arab world right now, and then imagine me, screaming and clapping and chanting and singing and dancing right along with them. I couldn't quite follow the clapping--even the basic "clap-along" rhythms are far more complex than our Western 4/4 systems--but believe you me, I know all the words to all the songs, and could sing the lyrics with the best of them. (Granted, they're not all that hard: habibi, my darling, I love you, my darling, take me, my darling.) And, since we were at the very back, with an empty area right behind us, I could dance my little heart out, along with the Jordanian guys next to us, who were surprised and delighted to join me in some good old hip-shaking, hand-clapping fun. Good times, good times.
But speaking of good times, I'm heading off for some more, for three weeks or so: a few days on the beach in Aqaba, a Red Sea resort, and then to Petra, and then to Syria and Israel and Petra again. Expect radio silence, and don't worry too much--after all, I only have to coordinate an entire trip around the Middle East, including persuading Syrian officials that no, I would never dream of going to Israel (oh, sorry, "occupied Palestine"), and then persuade Israeli officials that no, that Syrian stamp on my passport doesn't mean a thing and I would never dream of studying Arabic! Honestly!
Let the good times roll.