Laura Finaldi in Jordan, 2012

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I feel weird

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Here are some songs I like to listen to when I feel weird.


Written by laurafinaldi

June 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

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It’s my last day in Jordan

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And what am I thinking about? I don’t know.

I’m waiting for edits. I’m nervous for edits. I just bought a new suitcase downtown–the zipper broke on my other one. It’s currently keeping me company at McDonalds, where I’m wasting time on the internet, waiting for fucking edits.

I’ve been in Jordan for over a month. It hasn’t been enough time, not even close. I feel like I’ve spent so much of my time running around, chasing people down, tired because of a combination of the workload and the insane heat. I still have to do almost all of my assignments for my Middle East Studies class–good thing they’re due the 20th.

There’s never enough time.

Every minute on this trip that I spent not writing, I should have been writing. Every minute I spent not reporting, I should have been reporting. This may sound like a lot to some of you, but tis the nature of our profession. It was a great experience. I’m so glad I came here as a journalist–I feel like after this, nothing is out of my reach. But at the same time, this trip was a lot of work–so much so that I feel like I haven’t been able to explore Amman as much as I wanted to.

Whatever. I’m tired. This is a bad final post, so I’ll post a better one later.

On an unrelated note, tomorrow, after our plane lands in London, I’ll be boarding a connecting flight to Dublin. I kind of still wanna blog once I’m there, so check me out on my main WordPress blog (that I’ve yet to post on) that I think I will post about Dublin on. So if you’re interested,

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June 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

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Written by laurafinaldi

June 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm

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Second story is up! Enjoy.

NU Journalism Abroad 2012

Story by Laura Finaldi

AMMAN, Jordan – The Jordanian government announced that it will no longer subsidize the price of 95-octane gas, forcing a nearly 20 percent increase on drivers who use it. At 1 Jordanian dinar, or about $1.41 per liter, that price now far outpaces the cost of gas in the United States, where the equivalent is $5.34 per gallon.

This hike, which took effect May 28, marks the first major increase in gasoline prices since the beginning of the Arab Spring in January 2011. That’s when riots broke out in different parts of the region and Jordan froze gas prices as one of the many precautions it took to stem fear of similar outbreaks.

But Kholoud Mahasneh, director of the Oil and Petroleum Products Department at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said Jordan’s deficit has grown so big – reaching nearly $4 billion – that…

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Written by laurafinaldi

June 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

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This is how people on Google find my blog, apparently.

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Can someone explain this to me cause I really don’t get it.

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June 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

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Things I will miss, part one

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1) Smoking inside.

2) Turtle Green Tea Bar.

3) Books@Cafe.

4) Rainbow Street in general.

5) Debrief with Baba at the end of the day, Turkish coffee and all.

6) Going gaga over how cute Cal is on the daily.

7) Hanging out with the cool cats from this trip all the time.

8) Cheap cigarettes.

9) Argeelah

10) Duwaar Abdoun and the abundance of places there are to eat there.

11) Having a reason to blog consistently.

12) Having people so willing to help you and talk to you.

13) Daily runs to the market.

14) The best hummus in the world (yes, I am a little sick of it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss it).

15) Songs about Batik. “Rolling in Batik,” “Set fire to Batik,” “A Whole Batik” (A Whole New World). Etc…

16) Baba’s cooking.

17) My awesome sisters Raneem, Sewar and Joud.

18) Carlene’s edits. Yes, I will miss them. Actually, having Carlene as a professor in general. I’ve already taken all her classes…

19) Saying that I’m in the Middle East.

20) Hiatusing consistently (it needs to become a thing).

21) My Winnie the Pooh sheets at home.

22) Having someone else do my laundry.

Midmorning snack at Turtle Green. You can see why I’ll miss this place.

Written by laurafinaldi

June 9, 2012 at 9:49 am

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Conquering an ancient wonder of the world and other things that were awesome

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I honestly don’t even know where to begin. What was the best? Sequential order?

We left SIT at 7:30 a.m. on Monday and headed straight for Al-Karak, an ancient castle. Helen and I climbed around and took pictures of everything. That was cool. (disclaimer: we’re calling Hillary “Helen” now, just go with it). Afterwards, we headed to the Dana Nature Reserve, where we’d be spending the night. I had no idea what to expect. Nature reserve just sounds boring. I’m more of a city gal myself. But when our packed tractor rounded about this amazing camp site, I was in nothing short of awe.

Our tents. So awesome.

The tents were small and cozy and very well-insulated. There were also lots of rocks to climb, lots of cushions to sit on, tea to drink, and cigarettes to smoke. It was great just to chill out with everyone and play in the sand. I haven’t felt that relaxed in a really long time.

We woke up the next morning bright and early so we could make moves to Petra. That’s right, Petra. The ancient city, once home to the ancient Nabataeans. The amazing thing about Petra is how even though it’s thousands of years old, it’s still preserved so incredibly well. Helen and I opted to pay 25 JD each to ride horses to the top of a cliff, via the “Indiana Jones” trail. It was so cool. Those horses are badass–my little guy definitely got tired after a little bit.

Anyway, the view from the top is incredible. But I’ll let it speak for itself.


One of the seven wonders of the world. Can’t believe I’ve been there.

So the first two days were pretty cool. Dana was really peaceful, and Petra was really beautiful. But little did I know the best was yet to come.

When you look at photos of Wadi Rum, they all kind of look photoshopped. It seems impossible that anything could actually look like that. But it does. Here’s a raw photo I took of the sunset at night.

But that wasn’t even the best part of the day. The BEST part was our Jeep tour, where we went ripping through the desert on the backs of a bunch of different Jeeps! It was freaking incredible. I stood up the whole time and blocked Sam’s view.

Gina, Eric, and Josh (in the dash) looking like a bunch of warriors. Bri looking happy and gleeful as always.

We made several stops along the tour, one of which included climbing massive rocks!! We had to walk up a sandy, steep hill (I guess it was a hill) to climb all the way to the top. That was really cool. Only Helen made it to the top though (naturally).

Queen Helen of Wadi Rum.

When we had to leave Wadi Rum, I found myself itching for an extra day or two. It was so peaceful, so calming, so romaaantic I could have stayed there forever. We even pulled mattresses out of the tents to practice our Hiatus (see previous post for deeper explanation). And we slept under the stars at night. So epic.

In the morning, we had our camel ride. That’s right, I rode a damn camel. I wish I had a picture–they’re on others’ cameras. For now, here’s one of Melissa.

After we got off the camels, we took off for Aqaba, an international port where you can see Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, all from the same place. Ah, Aqaba. Arguably my favorite part of the trip, for many reasons.

First, the hotel made me feel like I was in a 1970s horror movie. The showers were tiny and the water spilled over out of the tub–so cool. Also, there were ashtrays in the room–it was a smoking room. Fuck. Yes. We were so excited it was unbelievable. I took a few artsy photos of Clare looking out the window and smoking like a boss. Aren’t we awesome? Yes, yes we are.

Clare Coughlan, certified badass.

After the initial excitement set in, we took off for a boat cruise. YES. It was so epic. Sam and Ian joined us J kids on our boat. We got to snorkel around a coral reef, which was epic. We had a delicious lunch and all took turns jumping off the top of the boat.

View of Jordan from the boat

Christina, Jess and Sam on the boat.

So amazing.

Here’s something I wrote on the bus yesterday, on our way back

We’ve been on a bus for a little over four hours, with a stop for lunch at a Turkish restaurant at a gas station (I know, Jordan is weird). Helen and I have been making great progress on Operation: Eat Everything since we boarded the bus at 11 this morning. I keep looking out the window with my headphones in and I start thinking about stuff. How I’ve been here for so long and I’ve become so used to it and now we’re so close to leaving. One week from today, Mom and I will be in Ireland, with nothing to worry about but the potato famine (too soon?) Just kidding. But really. I can’t believe our week of excursions is over –that I’ve seen Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba–and now it’s back to work for five days until that early morning when we board our flight to Heathrow and leave everything we’ve known in Amman behind. Our lives. We have lives here. We have families here. We’ve become regulars at local spots, made friends, seen the way the locals live, jumped through loopholes to get around in this country. I can’t believe it’s almost over. Two weeks ago when I was frustrated with the lack of places to go out in Amman I would have told you no way, this place isn’t home. But that’s the weird thing about places becoming your home–you don’t really have a choice. It just happens. I love Amman, I love Jordan, and I love all the people I’ve met on this trip and in this country. I’m so stoked to come back here in a couple of years and show people I know from home around. This has been an experience like no other.
I think about who I was a month ago. May 7. I was still working at Conor’s, still living at 228. No expectations about this trip, no thoughts really about what it would be like beyond the plane ride. One thing at a time. But here I am, so far into this trip, and I will never be the same.

#WadiRumHiatus. Not a big deal. Weeeee!!

Written by laurafinaldi

June 9, 2012 at 6:59 am

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