meet the team: EC Middle East Semester 2011

So we lucked out on this trip by getting a fantastic group. And by fantastic I mean that everyone gets along. Literally. I only knew one person in this group when I came here in January, but I am confident that we couldn't have possibly had a better, more varied group. Here they are, the usual suspects:

Bill, enjoying the Jordanian sunshine.
Bill is a junior, like me. He's from North Carolina, and he's proud of it! He's majoring in History and Politics, and is the most likely to know boundless information about that obscure thing you're talking about off the top of his head.

Simon, skeptical.
Simon is our token cynic. He's a sophomore from Ohio, and his major is, "well, I guess since I came here to learn Arabic I'm pretty much saying my major is going to be Comparative Languages and Linguistics...but I don't really know." He is a writer, which I appreciate, and introduced me to the works of Jonathan Franzen, which kept me busy for a couple days.

Eric and Tyler 'bringin' it' to the Roman Ampitheatre in Amman.
Eric (left) is a junior from New Jersey. He's majoring in Biochemistry, which makes me very nervous to think about, and is doing his internship at the Bishop's School, playing basketball and chess with kids and also teaching them English. 

Tyler is also a junior, and my future housemate! His major is Peace and Global Studies (PAGS) and I'm pretty sure he has a minor in asking really philosophical questions that no one can answer, like "can you ever stop being an artist?" He almost fell in a manhole in the street in our first week here, and after we all started breathing again we  started making fun of him for it and haven't stopped since. 

Rachel on Valentine's Day

Rachel is a junior from Boulder, Colorado; she's also a PAGS major and is defined by her status as World Traveller--Rachel has been pretty much everywhere. She's spent significant amounts of time in Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico and a bunch of other places I can't remember.

Arielle and a beautiful flower
Another of our PAGS majors--Arielle is from New Mexico. She is the voice of reason: she asks good questions, she's flexible, she's open-minded, she's eloquent, and she usually brings snacks! In other words, she's pretty much perfect.

Rossa and Ikram
Rossa is a sophomore International Relations/Politics major. She's also my gym buddy. Rossa and Ikram are both from Indonesia, and they're best friends and also engaged, which is the cutest. Rossa is apparently a very good cook--I haven't had the opportunity to experience this for myself but I assure you that I will.

Ikram is also a sophomore and he's majoring in Business and Math. One of Ikram's best qualities is that he speaks Arabic very, very well.

Leila on the beach in Aqaba
Leila, our final PAGS major. Leila is also going to be my housemate next semester!  She is from Tennessee/Maine, sings in the Funkaholics, and was almost named "Mithril". 

Kelly and Rhea in our Wadi Rum campsite
Kelly (left) is a biochemistry major who grew up in Saudi Arabia before finding her way to Earlham. Because of this she is a fantastic source of cultural information and also knows a lot of useful street slang. She is very athletic and loves chocolate.

Rhea is also a biochemistry major. Her great love is camels--she was the only person in our group who could have stayed on the camels forever. Her host family and my host family are family, which means that Rhea and I are basically related. Rhea doesn't like chocolate, but she eats it anyway.