A Peak Into Karam Elharami's Life Just another jordanian girl abroad

Ever since I was a little kid, I used to hear people say “wow after all these years” or “mashallah” (meaning God bless in Arabic) whenever they saw me. Every time I went with my parents to see their friends, I would get comments about how my parents are so lucky to finally have me in their lives after such a long time or comments to my parents such as “oh look she was worth the wait after all”. Honestly, I did not really understand what these people meant until I was a couple years older when I finally learned that I was born after my parents were married for 18 years. My mother would get pregnant but not really make it through the third or fourth month. No one knew the reason why. Both my parents underwent tests and such, but still no reason. All the advice they would get was to keep trying and hopefully one day God will gift them with a child. Eighteen years later on April 22, 1995 I finally made an appearance to this world. My mom got pregnant once after my birth, however, its result was unfortunate, and so my parents accepted what God has given them at that point. This majorly affected the world I grew up in, in the sense that my parents did not really want to follow the spoiled only child stereotype, however, unintentionally they would fall victims to it. Every once and awhile, as any child, I would ask for several things that I did not really need, but would guilt trip my parents into getting me it, and I can now easily say 95% of the time it worked. As per your usual mother, my mom would worry about me all the time, worry about me getting sick, not enjoy my time at a certain place, feel sad, feel annoyed, the list really never ends, till this day twenty-one years later it still does not. But nonetheless, she definitely did a great job by not sheltering me entirely from the world; she would let me play with dirt just like any other kid although it made her nervous, fall, scrape my knees and probably cry although it broke her heart to see me cry, and run around with other kids at playgrounds whom I just met five minutes ago, but now we are best friends. Both my parents made sure I got a taste of what the real world is every chance they could, because they knew that as much as they would want to be with me till my last day on this earth, realistically that is not usually the case. As an only child they wanted me to grow up and be independent, and be able to function on my own as much as I can. As I started preschool I would sometimes get laughed at when I said my name, or not taken seriously. To those of you who do not speak Arabic, Karam is typically a boy’s name with a very slim percentage of girls having such name. Back then, I did not know the story behind my name and I would come home to my mom crying and telling her I wanted to change my name. This broke my mom’s heart, as my parents chose such name not for me to be picked on at school, but because it means “ Generosity” in Arabic. As you know by now, God was generous enough to finally gift my parents a child, so as a way to thank him, my parents named me Karam. As soon as my parents sat me down and told me this story, I can confidently say I have loved my name since that second till my last breath. On the other hand, flash-forward to high school, I loved having a boy’s name, it can be a conversation starter, I could get away with saying Karam is not here even if I was since the person would typically be looking for a boy and hence I was able to avoid some activities I did not want to do, and the list goes on.

The world we live in changes on daily basis. Looking back to twenty-one years ago, or more realistically like fifteen years ago in which I actually remember, it has definitely changed. Even though my parents tried to expose me and prepare me for the real world as much as they could, it tasted different when it became a first hand experience for me. I do not know if this has to do with me being an only child or not, but I was extremely sensitive growing up. Anything my friends at school would say would get to me and sometimes would leave me in tears. It might have been because I viewed everyone in relation to my parents who are literally my guardian angels. As I grew up I learned that people lie, people sometimes say things they do not actually mean, some people do have your back and some do not, and finally that people change. I became more courageous, more confident, not everything said to me gets to me anymore, all in all I became a person with thick skin. I am grateful for this change as this world we live in can be cruel sometimes, and having thin skin is not a good thing to have then. Our world has also changed. Look at how technology has evolved and almost everyone and everything relies on it now, but I am a believer that life only changes because people change. People grow up which leads to them change, people change views and perceptions based on personal experiences which also leads to them change, and much more could happen in which leads people and life to change around us. In a simple way, life has changed around me whereas, I had my first Nokia cell phone when I was in eighth grade, however, today, my eleven year old cousin has not only a regular cell phone, but an iPhone. The way my parents and parents back in the late 1990s and early 2000s viewed raising a child is somewhat different to how parents view it today. Till this day, my parents have a no technology policy at our dinner table, no matter how many times my phone is ringing or how anxious I am to get up and go check it, I have to continue having dinner with my parents and actually have a decent technology-free conversation with them. However, now that both my parents have iPhones, whenever I am home and we are all watching tv in our living room, you can possibly see one or even both of them on their phones either playing games or reading the news. This certainly shows me how people change perceptions and how sometimes this change is technology based. Nonetheless, I am glad I have not gotten to the stage where I have to ask my parents to put away their phones at our dinner table, yet anyway.

Oceans and miles away from California is where I grew up, Jordan. Just as any other girl living in west Amman, I went to a coed elementary, middle and high school. Unlike the US, in Jordan you go to one big school for all twelve years and just switch buildings when transitioning from elementary to middle school and finally to high school. I knew most of my friends since we were four and six years old. Almost everyone knew each other as I come from a small city. I played basketball at the Orthodox Club for ten years and knew almost all the other players from both genders and they knew me too. Some of my teammates and the girls and boys we played against actually went to my school as well. I loved this sense of community where it felt like home wherever I went. This environment influenced me to look for a similar place as I moved. I do believe that I chose USD a medium sized school whereas in four years you pretty much know most of your class to make me feel as if I did not really leave my home, a place where I am familiar with the people and the places. This can also be seen in how I chose the firm I am interning at now, and potentially work at as a full time employee. Software Equity Group (SEG) Capital Advisors is a boutique M&A firm where everyone is pretty close to each other and gives you a family sense of feeling when working there. Looking back at my past I am certain that my lifestyle and has influenced the way I precept life and make my decisions.

As I mentioned previously, I grew up in Jordan ways away in the Middle East. I am fortunate to be a third generation American however, I am originally Jordanian from a Palestinian descent. Both my parents come from an Arabic background, my mom from a more mixed Arabic background than my dad. However, they both come from extremely similar cultures. One family tradition my dad’s family has is a “ Henna Night”; whenever there is a wedding in the family, the night before the wedding is the henna night where the relatives of the bride and groom draw meaningful or nice designs using henna on the hand of the bride and groom. In other words, by the end of the night the bride and groom will have henna tattoos all over their hands, good thing they are temporary!

My favorite keychain

The Khamsa is said to protect the person owning it. This is a tradition that my parents passed on to me whereas I always have a “Nazar” pendant which translates to “sight” on my keychain, in my car, in my room, and on my bracelet. My parents and I are firm believers of evil eye and that some people are actually envious, hence, misfortune or injury can come because of it. Having my pendants and my bracelet make me feel safe and somewhat protected. It also definitely reminds me of home which is a great feeling.

Moreover, this will sound extremely cliche, but my parents have had strong influences on my life and helped me become the person I am today. When I was five years old my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I of course was not aware of what was happening, however, my mom was very strong. She continued supporting my dad and never for a second failed to take good care of both myself and my father. Ten years later my dad had a recurrence, thankfully he is a warrior and beat it again, but nonetheless, it was difficult for us to go through. This time I knew what was going on, this time I felt that I owe it to my mom to be strong for her although not for a second did she show any weakness. My mother is the ultimate definition of strength. As I mentioned I am third generation American, thus both my families left Jordan a very long time ago however we went back; she was on her own, had to raise a kid and make sure they still had the love, care and attention they needed, but also had to care for my dad as he went through chemotherapy. When it hit us again, my mom was the first one standing, she is a believer and that has definitely reflected on how she treats adversities. Not to take away from my dad, as he is also an extremely strong person, not for a second did I ever feel that he was actually sick. Trying to cope with the fact that your dad is diagnosed with cancer is extremely difficult, let alone when your father kept it together and tried his best to make you forget about what was going on, if that was even possible.

Speaking of my dad, he has also influenced my life in a different way. He went to America back in the 1960s with little knowledge of English. He literally started from scratch, learned the language, applied to universities meanwhile working to support himself, got into University of Pennsylvania an Ivy League school, graduated with honors and got his PhD from there. He became fluent in multiple languages other than Arabic and English at that point and did not stop striving to learn more. He finally became the archaeologist he always aspired to be, the archaeologist many did not believe he could possibly be, the archaeologist who is an incredible son, brother, husband and father. He influenced me and had me become a firm believer of the saying “ You reap what you sow”. I learned that if I put my time and effort as well as hard work into something it will pay off eventually, maybe not today or tomorrow, but it for sure will. And if for some reason it does not, then one shall not give up. My mom always says: “ when one door closes mama, another opens, trust me!” Karma is a thing, as a result, I have learned to define my goals and work as hard as I can to achieve them. They might change along the way as I grow up and mature and that is fine, but to never ever give up on what I want no matter what happens, is one of the most important things I have learned from my parents thus far.

During high school I surprisingly was actually Head of Media for our Model United Nations Club. I say surprisingly because looking back at my life during my mid to late teens I was heavily involved in basketball which I will touch on in a bit. However, for our MUN club, I ran our entire school conference from start to end. Made sure all the notepads, pens, paper, name tags,... etc are ordered. Personally went and picked some items up. Created a video for our opening ceremony and one for our closing which included all the pictures and clips I took during our conference, and finally gave an on the spot speech to over 200 people at our closing ceremony when our VP was absent because of sudden events that had occurred. This was an occurrence where I had to use my usually absent creativity and entertain the crowd with a speech that lasted ten long long minutes. I was literally informed two minutes before I was on stage and improvisation is what got me through it. Afterwards, as I was leaving my school I got stopped by my high school principal who was informed that I did not really prepare for the speech I gave, she applauded me and thanked me for my courage and creativity that I came up with on the spot. I felt really proud of myself for being able to think on the spot and continue leading the show I have been running behind the scenes.

Other than that on the spot spare of the moment kind of situation I was put in, I am not your typical creative person or even really creative. However, once upon a time I was an athlete. I played club basketball for ten years, national team for four as well as all throughout high school. This might not be creative but it has taught me so many life lessons. Being able to adapt is the first one. We were sent to various camps across the world at countries with different socio-economical statuses was challenging at times. Hardships came our way and we had to deal with them without really complaining to our coach or team staff. In addition, playing alongside your long-lasting opponent on the national team is not as easy as people think it may be. Even though you are wearing the same jersey, viewing them as your opponent rather than your teammate is something your brain does without you realizing. Overcoming this made myself and my teammates grow. Just these two lessons alone can be easily translated into our college and adult/corporate lives. Working with a coworker you might dislike or disagree with translates to your national team teammate but club or high school basketball opponent. Transferring you to an office in a different area than what you are used to can easily be related to all the different basketball camps we traveled to. Maybe if you asked me six years ago what other than basketball skills did I learn from playing basketball my entire life I probably would not know what to tell you, now however, after almost being done with college and actually had entered the corporate world, I can definitely tell you these lessons are so valuable and that my coach did not lie when she said, “ this is more than just a sport, this is your lifestyle”.

Going off of basketball and being an athlete, I can easily tell you one of my greatest experiences is when the Jordanian Basketball Federation finally decided to fund and sponsor the girls under 18 years old team to go and compete in the International Arab Basketball Tournament. Not only were we absent for more than five years, we had not received a medal since the early 1990s. However, my teammates and I wrote history that day when we lost during the final seconds of the final game and earned a well deserved silver medal. We were named the second best girls basketball team in the Middle East.

As a seventeen year old, this was the happiest day of my life thus far. Being able to represent our home country, raise our flag up high, and have people from different countries be proud of us and support us was an experience for the books. Seeing my coach’s tears of joy fall even though we were so close to gold but failed to get it was beyond words. That day my teammates and I felt that the sky had no limit, that we can achieve anything we want and that all our early morning practices, our words of encouragement to each other on and off court, the words of our coach whether yelling us to run faster or her asking us how our weekend was, all paid off, and it felt so damn good.

Years later, after “retiring” from basketball and becoming a full time student here at USD, I landed an internship at one of the big four accounting firms: Ernst & Young. I had just turned nineteen, barely any accountancy experience, my resume had only basketball experience on it and Model United Nations club experience in high school, however I got the internship. This was one of my proudest academic experiences I had which showed me how books and GPA are not everything; of course they are important, but being social, approachable and able to conversate with people (recruiters) is what will help you put your foot out of the door. This influenced me to work even harder at school when I came back and to try and achieve the job I want to pursue after graduation. (Live update: still working hard and attempting to pursue investment banking. internship ✓,full time offer - fingers crossed).

On my sixteenth birthday, my best friend decided to celebrate my birthday with me by grabbing lunch and spending the day wandering around the mall. By the time the sun set, he suggested we go to this cafe nearby that we have not been to in a while. At first I did not really want to go there for my birthday but he finally convinced me. As soon as I walk in, all my friends from school pop up and surprise me. My parents had arranged with a couple of my friends this surprise birthday for me and brought me a birthday cake with Garfield on it (I loved Garfield growing up, in fact I still do!). I felt really loved that day by so many of my friends, they all made sure it stayed a secret and did not make me feel like anything was going on. That day my classmates showed up, my teammates, and even my best friend’s friends whom I had met a few times. Looking back at this moment, it is great to see how I was surrounded by great people whom actually loved and cared about me and made the effort to make a simple birthday gathering mean the world to me.

Growing up, my parents always gave money as well as still wearable clothes, and everyday house appliances to this one family. At first, I did not understand why this specific family, however, when I grew older, my parents explained that my dad has known the father of this family his entire life and unfortunately he was not doing financially well. The father passed away and left his son who was married with a couple kids at the time. My parents as the good people they are decided to adopt that family in the sense that before and after every Ramadan (Islamic holy month) they would give him money for his family as well as any thing they could find at our house that we no longer had use for but it was still functioning, looked great, was not overly used. Before every Eid (Two major Islamic holidays of the year), my parents would do the same thing as well. They taught me to do the this so I can continue such tradition. In return, one day that man had a daughter, and as a thank you for my parents for their long lasting support that is still current to our present time, he and his wife named their newborn daughter Karam. I was about eleven when that happened. Today, whenever my dad visits him, seeing Karam herself almost eleven brings joy to his heart that is beyond words. As I am now living in San Diego, I still make sure I send everything I feel they would benefit from especially the girls, to my parents so they can pass it on to them. Hearing how happy the children are and how thankful the entire family is makes me incredibly happy. I am firstly thankful to God for allowing my parents and I to be able to help such wonderful family, I am thankful for my parents for starting a great deed years ago and implementing it in my lifestyle so I can one day pass it on, and finally I am thankful for this wonderful family that we have come across and being able to see how happy and successful they have become.

The best feeling I can experience is the sense of pride my parents have for me. Knowing how proud they are when they sit with their friends and talk about me is a great feeling. It gives me the motivation and will to succeed even more. I was so happy my parents saw me graduate high school and give a graduation speech. My dad teared up and my mom of course started crying. That was a feeling that left me speechless. Hopefully having them attend my university graduation this coming May where I am finishing school in four years, with two bachelor degrees whereas I came in with zero units will be an even greater feeling. Another different feeling that makes me extremely happy where time seems to stop is when I play basketball. Even though I am no longer a professional basketball player, and probably so out of shape; I still enjoy every second I am on the court and I absolutely love it. It is more than just a game for me, I actually do believe that it has become a part of me at this point.

I believe that a great strength I have is being able to adapt in different places quickly. I learned to have this ability when I first started playing basketball especially when they sent us to various places to play basketball and we had no other choice other than adapting and dealing with what we had offered. This has definitely shown when I moved to California on my own, a place I have never been to. It was difficult at times, but I happened to get over the obstacles that faced me and moved on. By far, this has been a great decision that I have never regretted for a second. Later after I finished my freshman year, I pledged Alpha Kappa Psi and it was very stressful. My best friend at home would always tell me “You survived the filthiest bathrooms and bedrooms in Egypt, you can do this”. She always laughed at the stories I would tell her when I traveled with my team. Well she had a point, at least after the pledge meeting was done, I would go back to my clean room. Eight weeks later, I finally became an active member of Alpha Kappa Psi. This had resulted in me meeting some of my closest friends at college today.

Hearing from a quite good number of people who know me that I am independent was quite satisfying. I work hard and try my best not to rely on people and I believe that I have achieved this. However, hearing it come from other people was incredible. Knowing that this is the vibe I give off is something extremely satisfying. This was by far the most repeated adjective people have used to describe me, whether they are my friends, my coworkers, or even my relatives. My cousin’s fourteen year old daughter Dania even said “I want to go to USD so I can follow Karam’s footsteps”. I cannot even begin to imagine how happy I was to hear this, as I have been trying my best to be a role model for my little cousins. I really appreciate her kind words about me. In addition, my co worker mentioned how she is extremely proud to see my transition since I started and how I am today. Of course, without her help I would not have been able to understand what I am supposed to do as easily as I do now. Having her around the office is definitely a huge plus.

I believe that there are several things that really matter in my life. I have several values I like to live my day to day life by. One if you have not noticed already is my family. I value my parents so much that I am willing to go above and beyond for them. When you are young there is so little you can really do for your parents other than go to school, succeed and get a good job after graduation. However, I tried to value my parents and show them that they raised a well educated a daughter who does more than just school. I played sports throughout my middle and high school days, I was part of the Model United Nations Club, I tutored orphans and played with them, I coached basketball and now I am interning at the firm I would love to work for one day. I believe that this is the least I could do to show my parents that all their effort was not gone to waste. I value hard work a lot. Not only my hard work. Once upon a time, when I was a senior at high school, a sophomore joined our basketball team and was extremely good. At first I was in denial. How can a younger girl come and actually start the game where some of my teammates who were older still have not started. However, after seeing how much hard work, time and effort she put into our team, I realized that she actually does deserve that spot. I try to be as fair as I can and acknowledge other’s hard work as a boost for me to work harder and not as a competition as I am supposed to play with my teammates and now work with my coworkers.

Today, as I am finishing my college career and graduating in May, 2017. I am very excited to what the next year holds for me. Whether I stay at SEG or end up somewhere else, I definitely see myself still here in San Diego. My parents had just moved to San Marcos as my dad retired over the past summer. So living within driving distance of my parents is a dream I have had since my freshman year when I moved oceans away from my two favorite persons in the world. Finally paying off my car was a great accomplishment for me this past month as I have been working so hard to earn enough money to pay my Ultima off and waste no more money on interest. This was a great feeling of accomplishment as I prove to my parents that I am responsible and that I do know how to spend the money I make. Their acknowledgement of how mature and responsible I have become makes me feel extremely proud and excited to keep my parents proud of me and my accomplishments no matter how little or how big. This is one of the occasions when I feel the happiest as I know that my mom went to bed that night not worrying about me (or at least worrying a little less, as it is almost impossible for my mom to not worry.)

On a more personal level, I am the happiest when I am with my friends from home. Don't get me wrong I adore my friends here in San Diego and enjoy every second I spend with them whether staying in or going out. However, my day one friends are the best thing that ever happened to me. I grew up with them, got in trouble with them, succeeded with them, and most recently traveled the world with them. Having them by my side no matter where we are is an incredible feeling that always makes me feel happy and safe. All these late nights or early mornings spent talking to my best friends Farah and Diana back in Jordan and the United Kingdom are definitely worth every second. Updating them on what is happening in my life thousands of miles away and hearing about theirs is always fun, but the gossip is even more fun. With all the social media platforms we are on now, we definitely have loads of gossip and updates to tell each other. I will never get over the excitement when I get a text from Diana such as: "OMG GUESS WHAT!!!!!" That's when you know my day is going to get a lot more entertaining. Going home and spending Christmas with all my friends as we have our traditional annual Christmas dinner party makes me extra happy about the season. Seeing them after months of separation is an amazing feeling and it keeps getting better the older we get.

On top of the highest building in Frankfurt
Seventeen years later, oceans apart, nothing has changed!

A couple years into my major I realized that accounting was not for me. Nevertheless, I am still an accounting major. Having to go through two and three classes a semester that I am not interested in is definitely challenging. It is a difficult subject and I have a problem of when I am not interested in something I struggle to excel in it. This has definitely stood in my way climbing up the ladder of success and can be seen as it reflected clearly on my GPA. I am working on it and attempting to do well in my accounting classes, I am talking to my teachers about it as well as studying with my classmates. It is definitely still a work in process, but I can see a little bit of success so far.

My main goal and what I am trying to achieve in my life is to have a happy successful life. By successful I somewhat have a different definition. I believe that a person is successful when they learn after they fail, when they rise after they fall, and when they no longer make the same mistakes they used to make. My mission is to make mistakes and learn from them, that is what success is to me. I want to be happy and satisfied with my life, my job, my day to day activities. I of course want to travel the world with my loved ones, go to every single place I want as well as buy my all time favorite car: Audi S6, but on a more realistic scale, I need to work, enjoy my job, earn money, and one day hopefully I should be able to do so. However, as a Jordanian having the privilege to live in a first world country, I feel like I ought to give back to the community that made me who I am today. Having over 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Jordan other than Palestinian, Iraqi and many other refugees; Jordan’s refugee camp is now as big as the second city in the country. This is insane, especially for a country that barely has enough resources for its own people. I would love to one day go back and be able to help the poor materially and emotionally. I would love to be able to start a foundation or charity to help give daily necessities to the less fortunate Jordanians as well as the refugees (hopefully there will no longer be some in the future, but we all know that is not going to happen!) Being able to help and give back to the community where correct I was not born, but where I lived my entire life, where my ancestors lived, is a dream I am working hard to achieve someday. Today as a student there is not much I can do, but at least I try to raise awareness even to the small community I am involved in here in San Diego about what is happening oceans away. The news and the media always focuses on all the negative things happening in our world but they do not really show the rest of the world what these small (war-free) countries in the Middle East are trying to do to help the situation in their region. The least I can do is talk about my hometown with pride, as my teta (grandma) always said “They can take you out of Jordan, but they can never take Jordan out of you”. This was always her response to when I decided to move to California. She knew that no matter where I will end up, I will forever love my home.

Za'atari Refugee Camp, (as big as the second biggest city in Jordan)

In three years I will be twenty-four years old. That is scary! I always thought people in their twenties had their life together, knew exactly what they are doing, and most importantly, I thought they were old. Now however, I have a totally different perception. I see myself working in investment banking, hopefully the same firm I started at as an analyst. I would hope I made it to at least an associate by then, and/or even beyond. I would not be surprised if I was engaged and looking forward to start a new chapter of my life in the next year or so. I can see myself finishing up my Certified Financial Analyst Certification if I actually did start it when I’m twenty-two as I intend to do so. Moreover, I still do see myself in San Diego, not entirely sure for the next five or more years, but I believe it is realistic to think that I will still be in San Diego in the next three years.

As I mentioned earlier, I want to achieve multiple things in my life. I want to be able to help and give back to my community. I want to be successful in the sense that I work at the job I want, with the people I am familiar with and within the industry I wish to work in. Being able to finish my Certified Financial Analyst Certification (CFA), before I turn 25 has been a main goal in my life that I have set back when I was eighteen years old. I am working towards this specific goal every day since. My dream car has always been an Audi S6 as I had touched on earlier, as I always said to my dad: “baba, I will get my Audi, from my money, you just watch!”, and he would respond to me saying: “Enshallah (God’s willing) baba you will!”). I seriously cannot wait to buy it as soon as I can. Later on in life, I would love to retire in my 40s where I can spend time with my children and hopefully be able to travel around with them, as it is different to travel as a parent with your children than when younger and with friends. If I stayed in California I can see myself living in Irvine or Orange County as I have always seen them as a family - oriented community and I would love for my children to grow up there.

Irvine, CA

However, sometimes I have ideas that make me fear not being able to achieve my dreams. On a more personal level, today, I am scared that as my graduation date is approaching that I will not actually get the position I want at the firm I am interning at. What if because they are a small firm that they are not able to afford another analyst and be able to hire me. What if I do not get hired straight after graduation and I become unemployed. There goes my CFA dream, my audi, my traveling, my associate position before 24 and the list can go on forever. This is a huge fear I have as several several things in my life strongly rely on it. On a broader scale, as I live here in California, I am always scared that the situation in the Middle East will worsen and God forbid it will engulf Jordan as well and as a result, I am not able to go back home even for a visit. This not just crushes my dreams about being able to go back and give back to my community but crushes my hopes and dreams to even be able to see my room that I grew up in my favorite house in the world. Just thinking of these two thoughts only scares me so much especially that they can happen and I cannot really do anything about it, well I can look for a job somewhere else, yeah, but my hometown? What is a twenty something year old girl going to do? Oh well!

Thirty years from now? Wow that would be 2046. I would be fifty-one years old. I would say that I have accomplished most of my dreams. I worked in investment banking, I got my CFA and my Audi both before twenty - six. Having a family and living in Irvine ended up working out. Went on a euro trip back in the day with my friends then again when with my husband and kids when they were twelve and fourteen. I believe that I have lived a satisfying life thus far, and I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished. I still believe I can go back to Amman, Jordan and help give back to my home. This is also my children’s home, as I had them visit every couple years, as well as my husband and I taught them Arabic as they were growing up. I believe this is something my son could probably help me with in the near future. All in all, I am proud and happy of all the turns my life had taken.

As I was writing this I started to think about how I talked about giving back to my hometown and helping the less fortunate people there. I always had put that dream aside and I actually did mention that as a younger girl myself today, all I can do is talk about what is really happening there, the good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly; be a source of reliable information to my friends at least as a girl who has been in the area, speaks the language and is actually Muslim. Unlike the media. However, this portfolio had me thinking that why can’t I do something now? A year from now? After graduation? Yes talking about the situation and raising awareness is great, but how about a goFund me maybe? I can use the money I raise to buy blankets and I can myself with a couple of friends go and distribute them at refugee camps and low income areas across Jordan. During Ramadan (Islamic holy month) I can use this money to feed people. Literally just making a huge group Iftar (dinner) at a big empty space (to host more people) is another approach. I realized there are so many simple ways people my age including myself can do that can really help a cause a person cares about. I am thankful that this assignment (portfolio) made me think and consider to do something now rather than just say: “Oh I am still young, I am not really capable of doing anything!”. I definitely can, and so can you!

WHERE AM I GOING TO END UP? WHO KNOWS?

Stay tuned!

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Karam El-Harami
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Created with images by Dale Gillard - "Huge Jordanian flag, Amman"

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