You might think that most Marlboro College students are spending their spring break brushing up on their existentialist literature in intellectual meccas like, say, Fort Lauderdale or Panama City Beach, but you would be very wrong. I mean, one group of students is researching hyena behavior in Kenya, and another is learning about Native American practices in Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec. Senior Mike Harrist is traveling to Turkey, that’s right, Turkey, to study Sufi spiritual music with religion professor Amer Latif. But the one that really gets me is senior Kelly Pierce-Bulger, who is doing a semester abroad with CIEE in Jordan—she gets no spring break to speak of, but she has an apartment with a balcony in one of the cradles of civilization, which sure beats Fort Lauderdale.
Do you remember in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the place where Indy leads the Nazis past the perilous traps to the Holy Grail, guarded by a knight of the First Crusade who is understandably very pale? That’s just one of the amazing places that Kelly has been to, only it’s not in the Canyon of the Crescent Moon in Hatay, Turkey; it’s down a canyon called the Siq, in Jordan of course. The site is called Petra, and it is one of the wonders of the ancient world left for our amazement by the Nabataeans, who scratched it out of the sandstone cliffs more than 2500 years ago. Kelly did not find the Grail there, or have to outwit any perilous traps, but she did get to descend the canyon on a horse. Not only that but she happened to be there when Vice President Joe Biden, during his recent visit to the Middle East, arrived by helicopter and a motorcade of “20 bright and shiny SUVs.” Indiana Jones, eat your heart out!
Learn more about Kelly’s adventures, observations and Arabic classes on her chatty and informative blog.