Per the airlines instructions for the group that I was traveling with, I arrived at the airport at 12:30 am Saturday morning to check in for our 4:30 am flight. When I arrived I found that the flight had been moved back again to 5:30 am! After making sure that the entire group arrived, I proceeded to the gate with some of my colleagues. Feeling slightly energized by the excitement, I spent an hour studying basic Arabic greetings and practicing my pronunciation with Ahmad, the faculty leader for this group. Soon afterwards, however, the sight of so many of my colleagues sprawled out across seats in the lounge trying to catch some sleep made me inclined to try and do the same. I was surprised to discover that I actually did fall asleep thanks to my neck pillow and ear plugs (the later of which I never travel travel without.)
I awoke about an hour or so later to calls to board. The once sparsely populated gate was now packed with people. I was struck by the large number of women wearing head coverings. I wasn't all that surprised given our destination, but it did give me pause to think ahead as to what it was going to be like when I arrived in Jordan and how I would feel being in the minority of women without head coverings. Although i have traveled abroad before, being in the minority is not an experience as a Caucasian woman that I experience very often. Nonetheless, I value the opportunity to explore another culture and to step outside my comfort zone. I believe this will be an eye opening experience in many ways and look forward to the adventure that awaits me.