Is the rain getting you blue? Don’t let tropical storm Debby be a downer on your summer vacation plans. If you can’t get out of the office yourself, there is no harm in daydreaming. One of our summer interns, Allysar Hassan, talks about her summer trip to Amman, Jordan.


Wanderlust Journey 

View outside my window seat in Paris

4 stops. 21 hours. 7,028 miles.

After 14 years— and several different hair colors— I boarded the plane with my mom in Tampa to join my dad and reunite with my family in Amman, Jordan.

I have been anticipating this trip all summer. We were greeted at the airport by my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins with hugs, tears and kisses.

The next 16 days was a journey that changed my life forever—and, ahem, maybe my pant size, too.

Spectacular Sites 

When daydreaming about Jordan’s landscape the only thing I imagined was a flat desert. Boy, was I wrong.

During our visit, my family and I had the opportunity to trade in our desert-minded expectations for some of the most draw-dropping historical sites in Jordan including beautiful beaches and rocky mountains.

The Dead Sea:

This is the cheapest spa you could visit in Jordan. The black mud that comes from the Dead Sea is rich with minerals and has been studied to connect with health benefits and healing properties for physical ailments, according to We gave ourselves a pedicure and scrubbed our feet with the salt we found on the shore. After basking in the healing minerals, we enjoyed the rest of our spa day by the pool.


1.5 hour donkey ride finally brought us to the monastery!

Petra is an ancient city carved entirely out of a mountain. That’s right, a MOUNTAIN! It is rich in history and wonders. It was built around the 6th century as the capital city of the Nabateans. I was awestruck by its architecture and ingenuity. The highlight of my visit was getting to travel by donkey (mine’s name was Shakira) up 900 steps to visit the city’s monastery.

 Wadi Rum:

After our day at Petra, we traveled to Wadi Rum, known as the Valley of the Moon, and watched an incredible sunset on top of a mountain cut out of sandstone and granite rock. There are no words when you see a site like that! That evening my family and the other guests joined for an evening of food and dancing.

Gulf of Aqaba:

There is nothing better than sipping pina coladas and relaxing under your own personal cabana on the beach. And that is exactly what we did as we enjoyed the crystal blue water sea that sits in between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Gulf of Aqaba

Delectable Dishes

Grandmas are really good at two things. 1) Hugs and kisses 2) Putting food on your plate even after you’ve already said that you’re stuffed. I ate my heart on everything and everything. After all, I am named after a Lebanese queen, so what if I ate like one, too?

The thing I loved most about eating in Jordan was the fresh fruit we got from the market. Every morning, we’d gather on the porch to eat cherries, apricots and apples accompanied with our Arabic tea or coffee. Did you know that white raspberries exist? It was the best fruit I’ve ever tasted! Much sweeter and softer in texture than red raspberries we eat in the U.S.

White raspberries

Because the fruit and vegetables are so fresh, on almost every menu at the restaurants they have a wide variety of juice selections. . Stay tuned for the recipe to a refreshing, delicious drink on Wednesday!

Family First

When the people you call family live thousands of miles away, speak a different language, are in a totally different time zone and living in a culture so vastly different than your own, it can be hard to imagine how you will connect and what you’ll find in common. The best part of my trip wasn’t the jaw-dropping views or delectable dishes, it was one, simple truth: Nothing can separate you from the love of a family. It reaches heights and depths and covers all and every difference and distance that can try to come between you. Don’t forget to remind the people in your family how much they mean to you.


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