Home Away From Home

Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

For many of my friends, summer break means swimming at the local pool and hanging out at our downtown movie theater. Yet for me, summer means traveling 6,000 miles to a completely different country, where I speak a completely different language and immerse myself in a completely different society. Although traveling almost always means being somewhere foreign, traveling is my way of going home. That home, away from home, is a place I feel perfectly serene.

So it is that each summer I make two 7-hour-long plane rides, a three-hour car ride, a four-hour border crossing, and another two-hour drive. Despite it all, arriving is a feeling that almost no words can describe. Home, a small and peaceful stretch of Jordan, is a place where I can see my family, where I can relax, where I can be the other me.

At the break of dawn, waking up to the crowing of a rooster as the cool breeze from the desert vanishes, I feel the day's first deep tingling of content. Moments later, the smell of my grandmother's fresh-brewing Turkish Coffee invades the entire house. As I get up, I am surrounded by a view that no painted landscape can match: a valley filled with farms, which are surrounded by mountains upon which several towns and even a university...

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