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Leaving On a Jet Plane

May 10, 2012

I am a firm believer in the overused phrase, “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”

So with that mantra in mind, I took a break from packing to peruse some of my old journals from the last time I was living abroad, in Kazakhstan.

All my bags are pack—wait, no. All my bags are NOT packed. Hello chaos.

As I read through the pages, I vacillated between bittersweet laughter and utter relief that I no longer had to deal with some of the issues I struggled with while I was living in the Kaz. More importantly though, my writing reminded me of how wonderful living in another country can be — how every day is filled with so many wonderfully odd moments. It also reminded me that some days, no matter where I am living, I still write the same things:

I remember copying down a quote from Nathaniel Philbrick’s In The Heart of the Sea — The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex that reminded me how difficult it can be to understand a country well enough to write about it for other people.

“In Moby-Dick Ishmael tells of seeing the skeleton of a sperm whale assembled in a grove of palm trees on a South Pacific island. ‘How vain and foolish,’ he says, ‘for timid and untraveled men to try to comprehend aright this wonderous whale, by merely poring over his poor attenuated skeleton…Only in the heart of the quickest perils; only when within the eddying of his angry flukes; only on the profound unbounded sea, can the fully invested whale be truly and livingly found out.'”

I am certainly going to do my very best to learn Jordan quickly enough to do the country and her people justice in my reporting. I hope you will all follow along with me on my journey, as I learn life in the Middle East.

I’m leaving today.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mercedes Dewey permalink
    May 10, 2012 4:06 pm

    I will keep you in my thoughts Melissa. Be safe and soak it all up. I can’t wait to learn from your reporting. Mercedes

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