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My Experience in the Middle East


I’ll be honest.  While it was all fascinating, I’m never going to remember all the information that I’ve been given over the course of the past two weeks.

I won’t remember which church was built by which individual of which religion over a cave where some event supposedly transpired.  I don’t think I ever even fully registered which Pharaoh ruled at what point in history.  But I do know that there is one thing I learned that I will never forget as long as I’m living.


Every day, I wake up in my one bedroom apartment and get ready and eat breakfast and drink water and get in my car and drive to my reliably-paying job where I work eight hours a day a few days a week and then come home and work on my college classes and watch Netflix and eat whatever I want for dinner and finally curl up in bed next to my best friend, the love of my life. 

Literally two weeks ago, I was complaining about how these were things that I had to do. 

I was complaining about these incredible gifts and opportunities that I take for granted.

You know what I saw in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt?  I saw happiness.  I saw children running down garbage-lined streets, shouting and waving at us with their friends.  I met souvenir shopkeepers with missing teeth and dusty feet in worn sandals who laughed with us as we haggled prices.  I was introduced to some incredible tour guides who were some of the most open and welcoming and generous individuals that I have ever met, and who spent from before dawn to long after dusk with us, leaving the comfort of their homes and families to show us their cities.

These people were so happy, so kind, so wonderful, and so much of what I aspire to be,

even in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Sometimes (a lot of times) I feel entitled to the things that I want and the comforts that I am used to enjoying.  But you know what? They’re just unnecessary things.  There are people living without them every single day.

So the next time that I’m angry about waking up early to go to work, or paying $5.50 to have all my laundry washed and dried, or seeing a spoiler for The Bachelor on Facebook, I’m going to count my blessings.

And maybe go buy myself a cheeseburger.

Thank you to my amazing grandmother, Kristie Snowder for the opportunity to take this trip.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to repay you for all of the knowledge I gained and the unforgettable experiences that I had.

Thank you to Becky Brown for coordinating the trip and putting up with our crazy family that can’t be on time for anything, asks you the same question repeatedly, and is generous enough to share their sicknesses with you.

Thank you to all of our amazing tour guides, taxi and bus drivers, and every person that I met on this trip.  You all are fantastic.



Thank you to my wonderfully wild family for all the memories.