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Posts by lyons092

Cutting the Cord: How I Learned to Ditch the Smart Phone in Jordan

Harold Lyons is a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Academic Year program.

Smart phones are undoubtedly one of the greatest technological advances in the last 100 years. Music, navigation and internet access make them an invaluable tool in our everyday lives. Recently, there has been an explosion of app development. There is quite literally an app for everything. All of these aspects combine to make an addicting piece of technology.

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College marked my first foray into smart phone technology, and I was hooked. As a man who enjoys efficiency almost to the point of laziness, my HTC Desire was the perfect tool for school. Google Calendar allowed me to schedule my time, to plan my assignments and to easily share this information with others. Apps such as Twitter and Flipboard allowed me to check the news while I got my morning cup of coffee. Evernote allowed me to access my notes for impromptu study sessions anywhere.

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Electoral Approval in Amman

Harold Lyons is a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Fall 1 program.

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minis...

President Barak Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The election of 2012 was of personal importance to me. The election was not significant to me because I was particularly supportive of either candidate, quite the opposite really. It would have been the first presidential election when I would be eligible to vote. The ability to vote for our leaders is a right I have never taken for granted, and I was genuinely excited to exercise my right. Spending time in the Middle East studying political science has only made me appreciate my rights more.

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Why I Would Waste Away in Wadi Rum

Harold Lyons is a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Fall 1 program.

Hailing from the rough coast of Eastern Maine, I always assumed I understood the term “rugged beauty.” Vast forests of evergreen rise up to oppose the never-ending blue of the Atlantic Ocean. The bold coastline was my home for many years, so forgive my slight bias when I proclaim there is nothing more beautiful than the Maine coast.

Any desert is as alien to this native of Maine as the deserts of Mars, itself. Needless to say, I was completely unprepared for what was in store for me. Simply describing Wadi Rum as a “desert” does not give justice to its vastness, its loneliness, its emptiness. Spires of sandstone erupt from the glistening sea of red sand, interspersing the simple peacefulness with something much more dangerous. If the Atlantic Ocean could envelop you in a chilled embrace, than the desert of Wadi Rum could wrap you in an endless inferno.

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Meals in the Middle East

Harold Lyons is a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Fall 1 program.

The most affordable fruit stand in Amman.

The importance of food quickly became evident while attempting to acclimate to Jordanian culture. In the States, home cooking is usually a sign of hospitality. It seems as if hosts prepare lavish feasts in order to indirectly boast of their means. In Jordan, exceptional cooking is an obligation ingrained into their very culture.

Food is quite affordable in Amman. In what I thought was a bizarre cosmic joke, I realized the healthier, more authentic Arabic food is cheaper than America’s fast-food counterparts. Luckily for me, American food is viewed as somewhat of a delicacy. For example, Pizza Hut is much more expensive than most of the Jordanian restaurants in the area. In a rare twist of events, I am now happy to be a broke college student. My inherent lack of funds force me to eat the local Jordanian food, by necessity alone. Read more

Assimilation in Amman

Harold Lyons is a student at the University of Maine, Orono and an ISA Featured Blogger. Harold is currently studying abroad in Amman, Jordan on an ISA Fall 1 program.

I grew up on small island off of the coast of Maine. With a population of 700 people, it is a far cry from Amman, a Middle Eastern cultural hub of 2.8 million. I have traveled to urban centers in the United States, but nothing compares to Amman. Needless to say, I was not sure what to expect when I arrived at Queen Alia International Airport. The first week has been a learning experience that started the second I got off of the plane. Did you know Jordanians do not believe in forming lines? I spent close to 15 minutes with Jordanians passing me left and right at the baggage claim before I realized they weren’t being rude. This first week consisted of many similar lessons, a crash course of sorts. Not only an assault on the senses, but rather an attempt at assimilation into this wonderfully foreign culture. Compiled in this post are a few of the lessons that I quickly learned from my short time in Amman. Read more

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