I'm sitting here in the departures lounge surrounded by adorable children, trying my best not to cry in front of the other passengers. The tears are not so much because I'm sad to be leaving, but more because of how grateful and full my heart is to have had this experience. I have connected with countless wonderful people who have inspired me to be more generous, more resilient, and more determined to never give up, no matter how insurmountable the challenges may seem. Really, truly my life has been so blessed! I'm also so thankful for the internet and facebook which makes it so much easier to maintain the connections with friends and which makes saying goodbye a little more bearable.
A few minutes ago in the bathroom in the airport I had an interesting conversation with a young girl (probably 9 or 10 years old) who was returning with her family to Dubai from Jordan. I didn't expect her to speak to me (a strange woman) at all, let alone in perfect English. She said, “How did you like Jordan?” I told her that I had really had a wonderful time during my stay here. She said, “Yes, I really wish that we could stay in my country, but we have to go back to UAE now.” It was like she could see the same difference in authenticity between life in Dubai and life in Jordan. I thought about the other kids that I had met in the camps and what they would give to trade lives with her and escape their current situation and go to Dubai, yet she understood that there are benefits to life in Jordan that you can't find among the shallow glitz and glamour of the UAE. I discovered the same this summer.