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Learning to Relax
By Sarah J., YES Abroad 2021-2022, Jordan
I have been in Amman, Jordan for about a month and a week. I came from a suburb in an area of warm hearted people, which made the move to such a large city a daunting move. Yet, despite being in a city during a pandemic, exploring the city has been an incredible adventure. The places I have seen, foods I have tried, and people I have met have been an amazing start to a new school year.
One challenge I had upon settling into life in Amman was the concept of “go with the flow.” As someone who always likes to have detailed plans several days in advance, learning to develop and change plans on a minute by minute basis was an important time of personal growth. With my new friends being an academic focused group, a lot of outside activities are determined by continuously changing test and homework schedules. Thus, plans are always viable to become earlier/later, shorter/longer, random texts asking if anyone wants to meet up, or even have the date changed the original day of. This has forced me to become more comfortable with less planning and less routine. To cope with less planning, I have learned to prioritize necessary activities, such as homework, and to complete such activities in times I am certain to have open. Furthermore, I have learned to step out of my comfort routine in steps that are small enough to not make the transition overwhelming. I have developed comfort in the idea that spending time with people I care about is more important than insignificant habits that can easily be adapted to fit my needs.
An example of a time my plans changed at the last minute is when I went with a close friend to meet at a café. At the time, it was after school and I was eating lunch at home with my family. Just after we finished eating and I went to start homework, a friend texted me asking if I wanted to go to a café. I said I would be happy to and asked what time, assuming she meant the next day. She responded by saying she was on the way and asked how soon I could get there. Deciding I could do homework either at the café or later in the evening, I found out that the café was a several minute Uber away and asked my host family if I would be able to go. They seemed surprised at my going out without previously confirming, as I normally do, but said yes anyways. After this, I got ready and went to meet my friend. Spending time with a new friend and simply being able to talk and hang out without the pressure of being in school turned out to be an amazing opportunity to grow our friendship. It was a wonderful time that helped me experience that last minute plans can be some of the best memories. Since then, I have been much more willing to change or create plans with less outlining. Being comfortable with less planning has eased my general stress and has allowed me to enjoy life a lot more. It is a valuable lesson I am happy to have learned.