Since we’ve been back a week in the US, we’ve had the chance to recoup and think through everything that happened in the 16 days we spent in four Middle Eastern countries. The trip could not have been better! Each country was unique and interesting with sites to be seen and fun activities. However, when I look back, we mostly remember the people. The people we met were what made the trip memorable and left us with stories to tell.

In Al Ain (Abu Dhabi, UAE), we met Abduallah, our friend’s neighbor, who set aside his whole day to take us to the date palms where he used to go as a child. He led us through the stream as he told us about how he and his father would climb the trees to pick the dates, and then he would play in the shade of the trees. I think he smiled the whole time we were with him. 

 In Dubai (UAE), we almost went sky diving, but it was too windy, so instead, we spent the afternoon drinking tea with the Sky Dive Dubai owner who was extremely hospitable. He told us all about how he has been sky diving since 1975, and he’s “only” had to use his reserve parachute 14 times. Crazy, huh?

After the United Arab Emirates, we flew to Cairo, Egypt- quite the transition going from modern, fancy Dubai, to overcrowded, chaotic Egypt. But the people in Egypt are some of the most joyful people we have ever met. While we toured around Egypt, three Egyptian students accompanied us (Ahmed, Mosaab, and Yusra). By the end of our time there, we were friends. We laughed a lot together. The Egyptian youth were truly inspiring to me as I heard their stories about the revolution and listened to their hopes and dreams for their future and for their country. I could go on and on about everything going on in Egypt at this time. We hope the best for Egypt in their time of change.

Jordan was relaxing after a busy time in Egypt. We spent Christmas in Wadi Rum, a beautiful desert, and rode 4-wheelers. Then we went up to Amman and got to see old family friends, the Petro’s and Greene’s. Being with our close friends was refreshing, and parts of the night, we were laughing so hard that some of us had to leave the dinner table. Reminiscing about old times was fun, and many new memories were made. We are so thankful for the friends we have had for so long. 

We saved the best for last- Lebanon. That’s biased since my family lived there for several years. But Lebanon truly is beautiful. The people in Lebanon really know how to live. They have been through so much including 17 years of civil war, and outbreaks and wars since then. Despite all that, the Lebanese never stop living or going out. Part of that is revealed through the night life scene in Beirut. It seems like every city claims to be the city that never sleeps, but it’s definitely true for Beirut. And of course, seeing our friends in Lebanon was so fun.

It’s only been a week, and I’m already wanting to plan my next trip back to the Middle East. Something about the culture and people, and all of its excitement keeps me going back. We’ll see what happens next…

Thanks for following our trip!