All posts by daniellekari

I've spent my entire life moving around, and experiencing new awakenings within myself. I've often said my heart speaks a foreign language that I do not understand, but somehow recognize. And always I have a nameless longing filling my chest. Over the years, I've grew an ear for almost any language, and a passion for culture and unity. This began when I lived in Japan for 3 years as a baby. As a young teenager, I was bullied a lot. I was bullied in Hawaii for my skin and my diversity...and I was bullied in North Carolina for my strange mind. I was a broken child for a long time, doing anything and everything to get people to notice me...but still deep down I did not know why so many despised me. But from this pain I grew. Today, I am a person with defined dreams that are difficult to understand. these are my journeys into my elusive ambitions These are ambitions I will never give up on. And if I am a fool for chasing such perplexed dreams, then I fool I shall remain forever. I am Danni, It's a pleasure to meet you!

My Inception

This is not travel related, rather a true story I’d like to share.

it’s 4:22am.

I walk outside as I’m with my father, we’re just passing through on our travels via car. He drops me off to visit my maternal grandfather. He opens the door and next to me is beautiful girl appearing to be of Hispanic origin. I am exited to see my grandfather. He rushes out to greet her, his familiar sad but caring eyes outlined with some years of regret. His home echos that of a homeless man’s abode. I recognize the roof, bedroom, bathroom, and lacking kitchen and think he still has everything one needs to live. Suddenly I like this humble, lacking home. I look over to the girl of Hispanic origin, she is his granddaughter. I think she must be my cousin, and wonder if it means I have Hsipanic blood. I remember that my maternal grandfather and I are not blood related, and yet still I wonder why this beautiful girl who appears to have some Hispanic in her, looks so much like myself. And then I realize as the scenery changes perspective; I am her, and she is me. I walk into the house of my Grandfather, my other self walking ahead of me, yet I still see her perspective as if we are one person. We sit down and begin to chat with Grandfather, she is hungry, she asks to invite a friend. Grandfather says he will cook something. I remember the mash potatoes, the taste as real as anything, the butter perfectly trickling, slightly salty. The dish is surrounded by other cheap ingredient. Beans, a little fruit. I make conversation with the other me. Grandfather seems proud to have made, at least, some kind of meal. I am happy and proud to eat this meal. I look over to remember he doesn’t have a stove, so he cooked the potatoes and beans over fire and some odd kitchen utensil I do not recognize. Father arrives to pick me up to continue our journey, I get in the car. Suddenly I remember, grandfather died years ago. His voice echoing “i miss that one time I cooked such a simple meal for you. Not fancy like you like, I’m sure, but I was happy to have provided something”. I wake up in my bed, I can’t recall when Grandpa ever cooked for me. Perhaps a memory of an old dream penetrating this dream? Or perhaps simply a sign representing a greater meaning.

Finally awake, someone who is my boyfriend enters my room. Confused, he takes my hand and says “come! come outside!!” we open my bedroom window, and jump to the roof. Below are hundreds of people dancing, the smell of hot dogs grilling fill the air. I open my phone. It’s 4:22am. A bit early for a party? I asked them three times what this party is, as they explain their voices are muffled. They’re celebrating the return of someone or something thing. Their eyes gazed toward the sky. A boy tries to enter my home, seeking a skate board. Suspicious, I tell him to hold on, as I’ll check in the garage if I have one for him. He angrily says never mind, and skates away. An air bus comes by, it’s floating in the sky. It picks me up, roofless and I feel the breeze on my face as we tour what is my hometown. The scenery reminds me of Vegas, but cleaner and happier. Stores and people, enclosed in a safe area. Arcades at every corner. I feel as if we’re a gem hidden among stone. I return to my apartment, which is spacious and beautiful. I don’t understand where I am. I begin to question if I’ve jumped through time. I wonder if I am living some other life. I have my memories of my old, dirty apartment which stinks of old meat and trash, and yet I have no memory of how or why I got to this blissful state. My kitchen glows with colors of blue, my living room crackles as the fireplace calmly burns. My bedroom is neat, video games and artbooks at every corner. I open my artbook, I have drawings and paintings of anime characters and my own short stories. I am blissfully proud. I’ve never been able to draw a perfect circle, let alone design beautiful characters. I begin to take pictures of my apartment, proud and ready to live whatever life this is.

I awake in my bed. My phone says 4:22am. I am disappointed it was nothing but a dream. I am back in my smelly, awful apartment. I open my phone again, I go to my photos. The photos are those I’d taken of that other life! My kitchen painted with colors of blue, my bed and my art. I play a movie, it’s the children and families eating hotdogs on the street before sun break. I begin to watch an anime, but one I had created myself with my knowledge of design and animation. The main character has long, golden blonde hair. The same boyfriend whom took me outside to see the festivities from that past reality sits next to me, his hand on my shoulder. I show him the photos with great excitement, and wonder if I had visited another time, but my phone has carried over to reality. He says to me, in words so sad yet sweet, “Danni, I do not recall you ever waking up”

Suddenly I awake in my bed, 4:22am shining on my phone. The same apartment, but with a cleaner tone. I rush to the corner room back room, I knock and enter the room. My boyfriend lies there alone in a huge bed consisting of white sheets. I ask him “Why do we sleep in separate beds?” he rolls over, welcoming me with warm arms. We sleep, until sunrise, we order Burger King for delivery. I ask “Since when does Burger King deliver?” and He looks at me with very sad eyes.

It’s quiet. My mind rushing with memories of confusing, vivid and dangerously realistic dreams. I tell myself to move my arm, I cannot move. I tell myself to blink, I cannot blink. It’s dark. I keep trying to move my arm, over and over again, until finally I jerk my arm and my eyes fly open. That familiar pain of heavy eyes, that constant, daily dull pain in my abdomen. My cat meows, my space heater blows my face. A familiar longing filling my chest, worry, hate, and sadness dance with my unstable emotions. I am spaciest. There are no lights, festivities or boyfriend. “Am I awake this time?”. I take my phone, the shine of the light painfully penetrates my heavy, drooling eyes.

It’s 4:22am

And I am very hungry for a hotdog and mash potatoes.

Jordan Continued…

First off to those who do follow me and read my blog I would like to apologize for how late my post is. Indeed, I am extremely late. Life, you know, caught up to me rather fast. I hope this update finds all of you well and I hope you can forgive me for my tardiness!

Let’s continue with Jordan, shall we? These are my thoughts during my final weeks in this new country.

Jordan is scary, but it’s not scary? Often I found myself worried, concerned more than I should have. Indeed, I had rather strange experiences. For example, traveling to the grocery store was often an ordeal. I would travel, alone, by foot to the store about 1/3 of a mile from my apartment. Eyes were constantly on me. “Aren’t I dressed modestly enough?”, I would often think to myself. Alas, my failure was that I often thought of Jordan through my perspectives of Morocco. My flowing dress, with sleeves, and length below the knee, was certainly appropriate in Morocco, but in Jordan? a whole new story. The way the dress fit the shape of my feminine  body, the length, reaching a few inches below the knee..this, in Jordan, was not something appropriate. Oh how I was astonished, ashamed, and confused. That’s something about me; I will not carry my Western views to an Eastern country. Proudly, I admit, I was ashamed of my mistake. Promptly I traveled to the mall with my roommates, I purchased garb that would be more acceptable in this beautiful and different culture. Expensive, but without regret, this garb served me well. I made a fantastic friend while in Jordan. She was born and raised in the U.S.A, a Muslim-American who decided to study abroad in Jordan in order to study her families language, and meet her Jordanian family members. I connected with her instantly. We shared a cute interest in the Asian culture: Japanese and Korean culture/language, Anime and K-POP/Drama, I knew the moment I met her that her and I would become great friends. Eventually, she invited myself and another student to enjoy dinner at her families home. It was Ramadan, so sharing dinner during this time was something especially beautiful and special. She requested, kindly, that I dress respectively for this occasion. I wore the new outfit I purchased at the local mall, a scarf around my neck (meant to be worn around the head if necessary) and a rather cute long-sleeved and lengthened dress. Her family ended up being rather open, so a head scarf was not needed 🙂 I had such an amazing, beautiful dinner with her family. And her family would not stop feeding me! I had fasted (not eaten) that day, so the food was so good, and I was beyond grateful to have been offered such a meal. The conversation and dialogue I exchanged with her family is not to be forgotten; it was one experience I longed for and I had gotten it! Jordan is scary, but when I am able to truly immerse myself within it’s culture, I found that the country is beautiful beyond measure. Jordan was not so scary after all. That which we do not understand: it is terrifying. Always strive to understand that which you fear, and you will find, often, it is not so scary.

Okay enough of that! Let’s move on to the pictures, eh?

Oh my God! I’m sure some of you have heard of Petra, right? Petra is a historical site to see. Petra often referred to as “Rose City” due to the color of the stone, was established before 312 BC. It was once the capital of the city of the Arab Nabataeans. Today, Petra is a symbol of Jordan, and one of the worlds most beautiful wonders.

There were tombs, like that you would find in Egypt, buried beneath them were the dead. I found myself crawling inside strange crevasses, and even once an area that was marked as “forbidden” a local Bedouin offered me his (rather suspicious) hand inside a tomb forbidden to most tourists.  I also hiked up an endless amount of steps, covered in the stench of Donkey poop to reach the top of this beautiful area. Bleh. I should have hitched a Donkey ride! Worth the work-out though, considering I spent much of my time in Jordan sick due to some strange evil Amoeba that decided to enter my poor body…

Enjoy the photos!

 

Yes, I’m cool (oh yeah, I chopped my hair and dyed in brown.  I’m not saying you need to do this, but as a platinum blonde female I did find it beneficial…I changed it back when I returned though xD )

My necklace: I went to my universities book store in Jordan to pick up a notebook and the kind shop-owner, he offered me that necklace as a welcome to Jordan! I love it so much! Isn’t it cute? :3 It’s in the shape and the national color of Jordan!

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My first week in Jordan

I finally had arrived in Jordan and things seemed to be going well – until the airport lost my luggage. Luckily, with the support of our amazing program director, and a little luck, my luggage was located and I could comfortably experience my first days in Jordan.

These first few days consisted mostly of city and ancient ruin and historical visits, as well as orientation. Skipping the boring parts, I absolutely cannot say enough about how beautiful, clean, and amazing Jordan is. The weather has been very comfortable, and the sites to see are absolutely breath taking. Because it is Ramadan, the best time to be out is at night, when there is music, laughter, shopping, and food along the streets. I was awh-struck when the time of fasting broke, and I found myself right next to a mosque, listening to the call to prayer trickle from the mosque’s speakers. Locals handed out free tamr (date) drinks to myself and others surrounding, and I peacefully observed how locals broke their fast and experienced the city slowly come to life as the sun set and the stars began to gleam.

 

These few days I got to go to a couple really nice places to eat, one in particular I would like to mention is called “Books at Cafe” Downstairs is a book store/library, and up stares is a beautiful restaurant/ hookah lounge. What really got me about this place, is that it is known as a place of openness, and safety to all. Jordanian, tourist, gay, straight – it doesn’t matter all are welcome. In fact, the owners themselves are known to be …well “different”. Seeing a place like this right in the heart of the Middle East really left me silent and speechless.

Moving on to some of the amazing historical sites I got to see, between Amman’s Citadel, Jerash, and the amazing ajloun castle.

Amman’s ancient Citadel, is located on the highest hill top in Amman, known as Jebel alqala. This ancient site was occupied during the Bronze Period(3200 BC), and has been rebuilt multiple times during the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad (also know as More) periods. A little bit that was interesting about this site for me is that my ancestors were actually thought to be the Umayyads. The Umayyads, also known as the More’s (My last name being Moreau, deriving from More) were nomads of North Africa who ruled and traveled thorughout the Middle East, before much later migrating and colonizing in France and eventually (most recently) French Canada. . Seeing what could have been a creation of my ancestors was absolutely amazing!! The pillars you see in the picture below are known as the Roman Temple of Hercules, and yes that is Hercules’s hand. This area is also known as an area that the prophet Jesus and Islam’s prophet Muhammad passed through once long ago.

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Moving on, I eventually saw the ancient city of Jerash and the awesome aljoun castle. Jerash was a full blown ancient Roman city. From washrooms, residential areas, roads, walls, shopping areas, the arena/theater  and fountains this city was founded 2000+ BC (exact date unknown). After earthquakes, and wars around 720 AD, this city was buried under the gravel before it was discovered in the early 1800’s. Enjoy the breathtaking photo’s I took on my snazzy canon camera. Excuse any horrible angles, editing, or lighting. I am not a camera genius but I thought I’d play around and try to capture this areas outstanding beauty. I cannot explain the feeling I had when being here. My mind kept coloring the ruins, and I imagined flashes of what the city once looked like, bustling, the smell of food, the sound of children playing among the streets. It took a couple hours to walk around the entire city.

 

Finally, Aljouin castle, owned by many rulers, and mentioned by the legendary traveler ibn batutta, was an outstanding sight to see. This area was also once crossed by many of our world’s many holy prophets.

 

A summer in Jordan as a Gilman scholar

I can’t believe it, but I am going to Jordan this summer! This would not be possible if it wasn’t for me being selected as a Gilman Scholar! I received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, a scholarship which granted funding to do my chosen study abroad. I am beyond thrilled for this opportunity, both as a scholar and as an eager traveler.

I will be spending a month and a half in Amman, Jordan with International Studies Abroad. I will have an apartment in the heart of Amman, and take classes at al-ahliyya amman university. I will also have the opportunity to do volunteer work with refugee communities, something I am very passionate about. Not to mention I’ll be able to finally experience the Middle East and get back to traveling! I am so excited to share my journey with you guys on my blog! I will be leaving in June, so stay posted!

                       (images taken from google)          

Exploring Ghana

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As my Semester at Sea voyage neared an end, we approached one of our final ports: Ghana. Ghana would be one of the most difficult ports yet, being a somewhat small and underdeveloped country, with a rich and bustling culture. I will do this blog post mostly with photos and descriptions.

Enjoy! 🙂

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One sure thing Ghana will be remembered for is how women carry and sells various things while balancing it on their head – It’s pretty cool! Traffic in Ghana can get pretty bad, so these women (and children as well) take advantage of this by walking up to cars and offering all sorts of goods. Between water, bread, and fried squash, it was really something cool to experience! The bread they sell is so soft and sweet, and the fried squash taste kinda like a giant french fry but fried in coconut oil!

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I was given the chance to visit a Children’s school! We played with the children in between breaks; they tackled us for the stickers we brought them! These children really wanted to be picked up and acknowledged. The school was rather poor, mostly outdoors, and there was a hut in the back where a women was making food in a strange somehow surreal looking outdoor kitchen. It was like looking into a different era: a huge bowl of oats cooking over an outdoor fire. Never mind is was over 100 degrees outside.

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I got to hike to a really amazing waterfall! We even experienced a giant swam of bats above us that flew out of the mountain. Our shoes were later covered in bat poo..oh well.

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and of course can’t forget the wild monkeys that we fed bananas to

Wild and Free: South Africa!

First off, yes SAS is over, and it has been over for a little over two months now. I do apologize for the lack of blog posts; but as soon as I got home I transitioned to an Arabic Language summer Institute in Texas which pretty much kicked my butt. Better late than never: Here’s South Africa! 😀

South Africa was an experience I can NEVER forget! I am sad I didn’t get to do a safari or scuba-dive, but at this point in the trip my budget was dwindling so I picked and chose my expenses carefully…and dare I say it..I HAVE NO REGRETS!

For me, South Africa kicked off with a host family stay in a local town-ship – These are often underdeveloped urban areas that, until the end of the Apartheid era of South Africa, were initially used as a segregation neighborhood for non-white South Africans.

This was a simple, over-night experience which was pretty neat! The neighborhood kids all taught us games and dances, the family (which was a huge family crammed into one tiny home) was very nice and humorous; they cooked us delicious meals and told us all about their lives in South Africa!
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Following my host family experience,I gathered some friends and we headed out to Hike the famous Table Mountain! This beautiful mountain has a flat top and looks over the city of Cape Town, reaching just over 3,500 ft in the air. I was a little said because my friends did not want to take the rough rout, which included a lot of climbing. Instead, we took a kiddy rout. Or so I thought. IT WAS NOTHING BUT STAIRS! I hate stairs! But, in the end it was worth it. On the way up we pulled over for lunch which we packed, and at some point I ran out of water….I was pretty sure I was going to die until I turned the corner to see a water-fall. best part? Table Mountain is known for her beautiful drinkable natural water! I was saved! and it was so fresh and tasty too!

At the top, we watched the sun set, bought some souvenirs, and took the cable car down. I looked up at the beautiful stars in the sky through the clearing of our cable-car.

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The day after table-mountain was another sky-high adventure.
except I was falling..from the sky
actually from 10,000 feet. Table Mountain looked like a tiny spec.
Yeah, I SKY DIVED!
(picture coming later, got to extract it from a DVD)
It was……AMAZING! Again! Again!

My last two days consisted of me and some friends visiting a Cheetah Outreach and meeting and petting cheetahs! I got to play with a cheetah, guys! Afterward the rest of my time was spent relaxing at the water-fronts mall, using wifi, listening to live music, and eating lots of yummy foods! I also spent some time on the famous Long-Street – known for their amazing bars and clubs! oh and can’t forget I also went to a local soccer game!! Which also consisted of us being stranded at the end of the game due to lack of Taxis…and the cops had to give us a ride..ahh, good times!

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