I’ve realized that I mention my friends frequently and, to my readers, they are simply faceless names. Consider this post an official introduction to my great group of friends I’ve made thus far in Amman. Perhaps now, whenever I mention Allison or Jomart or Joey in a post, you’ll be able to put a face to the name!
Name: Allison Schmidbauer
Hometown: Mission Viejo, California (Orange County)
University: University of Wisconsin – Madison
Major: Middle Eastern Studies & Legal Studies (also, sleeping, eating, and sitting)
Arabic Level: Advanced I
Relationship to Katie: BEST FRIEND & lives in the apartment upstairs
Favorite Memories: Laughing until crying during cab rides home when Katie makes ugly faces at the creepy men who stare at her in traffic. Suffering together after the food in Sharm El-Sheikh makes everyone sick in the middle of the night. Fleeing the apartment in Cairo to avoid the Egyptian cleaning lady finding someone’s anonymous bathroom explosion. Our epic 4 hour-long conversation during the bus ride home from Aqaba. Seeing crazy Allison finally letting loose and sassy dancing during the felucca party on the Nile. Laughing about the whimsical tune that the gas truck plays. Always speaking in facial expressions.
Fun Facts: Obsessed with her two dogs, Bo and Gus. Jordan’s largest consumer of Nescafe. Has the exact opposite taste in men as Katie, which makes people-watching a source of great controversy. Owns a bag-lady coat which she wears everywhere even when it is 60 degrees outside. Has terrible luck in Jordan – broken camera, broken laptop, broken phone cards. Loves Polo Jeans.
Name: Caroline Kiernan
Hometown: Chevy Chase, Maryland
University: Colby College in Maine
Major: Global Studies
Arabic Level: Advanced I
Relationship to Katie: BEST FRIEND & lives in the same apartment as Allison
Favorite Memories: Dancing at Flow every Thursday night. Taking a ridiculous number of selfies. Horribly singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” in front of elderly vacationers in Sharm. Eating nachos made out of Doritos at Salute. Revealing secrets during wine nights at Seven Barrels and littering during the walk there. Meeting new friends studying in Irbid. Deflecting unwanted compliments regarding Katherine Heigl at Turtle Green. Making a mess and a half with the paint during community service. Handling the awkward situation with the hostel bathroom in Aqaba.
Fun Facts: Has impeccable Arabic pronunciation and always shares her knowledge of Middle Eastern history. Always generously lets Katie borrow her jewelry and nail polish. Willing to try anything on the menu. Shares in Katie’s love for Arabic desserts. Occasional sassy bickering.
Name: Andrew Fowler
Hometown: Warminster, Pennsylvania
University: American University
Major: Criminal Justice
Arabic Level: Advanced I
Relationship to Katie: Introduced via Allison. In Katie’s “Alternative Perspectives” classes.
Favorite Memories: Getting the “Osama Style” haircut in Cairo. Starting the Bear Beer craze. Spending several evenings in Allison and Caroline’s apartment planning vacations. Trying to order fried chicken in Arabic from a strange Jordanian restaurant at 2am. Getting swindled by our tour guide at the pyramids and claiming we were married to make creepers go away. Accompanying me to Flow after a wild goose chase through Amman.
Fun Facts: Always looks out for Katie to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble. Is frequently compared to Justin Bieber by strangers. Teaches Katie more useful Arabic words than either of her professors. In the same fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, as my brother. Obnoxiously claims to be Egyptian whenever he talks to Arabs.
Name: Lauren Jappe
Hometown: Ipswich, Massachusetts
University: Brandeis University
Major: Women’s Studies and Middle Eastern Studies
Arabic Level: Intermediate I
Relationship to Katie: Lives on the 5th floor of the apartment and shares a cab with Katie everyday to campus.
Favorite Memories: Obsessing over the dumpster cats around Amman. Randomly meowing at each other in public places. Judging people. Spending every afternoon S/T/R in the CIEE office between classes. Struggling to open a bottle of wine and snapping the corkscrew off inside of the cork. Allowing Katie to always borrow her ketchup and nail polish.
Fun Facts: Always appreciates Katie’s strange personality the most out of everyone. Is an aficionado of gold jewelry. Loves ordering delivery from JustFalafel. Staunchly anti-Israel. Feminist. Loves Arab belief of the “evil eye.”
Name: Joey Baron
Hometown: Toms River, New Jersey (Jersey Shore)
University: Virginia Military Institute
Major: International Studies
Arabic Level: Intermediate II
Relationship to Katie: Next-door apartment-mate
Favorite Memories: Smoking shisha at Friends@Cafe. Trying new, elusive bars like Dubliner’s and The Magic Carpet. Hearing stories about him being inappropriately touched by a salesman after Katie convinced him to go shopping. Always offering complimentary shots each time he has guests. Being immature and ding-dong ditching everyone. Calling people vampires.
Fun Facts: Avid smoker and always asks Katie for cigarettes which she doesn’t have. Compulsively steals his roommate’s Coke-a-cola. Only eats eggs and hot dogs. Speaks with a thick jersey accent. Aggressive and always gets riled up.
Name: Jomart and Nart Nakhwa
Hometown: Amman, Jordan/grew up in Italy
University: University of Jordan/German Jordanian University
Arabic Level: Fluent
Relationship to Katie: Peer tutors of Dillon but introduced via Andrew
Favorite Memories: Ordering McDonald’s in the middle of the night. Driving home from Rainbow Street in Jomart’s Mercedes. Eating delicious lasagna and Caesar salad prepared by their mom. Wandering around sixth circle, looking for Dubliner’s but finding Queen Vic’s. Talking to Jordanian taxi drivers in Arabic in order to navigate us successfully.
Fun Facts: They are identical Circassian twins. Jomart used to have long hair but recently cut it and now is indistinguishable from his brother. They have a younger brother named Bert. Their family owns a restaurant and a café with delicious bread.