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Howdy gang,

This is James, the other half of the Where the be Dragons instructor duo accompanying you during your time in Jordan. I am eager to get to know you all, and for you all to get to know the different peoples and places that make up Jordan. This will be my second time teaching a Dragons course with Elley and my first time flying via the Dubai airport, where I have heard there is a giant Teddy Bear.

I’m from the suburbs of Boston, went to an all-boys Catholic high-school, then went to the same college as Elley (which is technically in Somerville). While we didn’t know each other there, we did become good friends in Jordan, which I moved to after I graduated in 2013. My first experience in the Middle East, or really anywhere outside of the U.S., was studying abroad there in 2012. I returned to Jordan to work for the company I studied with in 2013, during which time I also taught English, learned to cook a little, and played a teeny role in a Jordanian TV show. I then did a yearlong stint at a news website based Jordan focused on covering the Syrian conflict.

I’m writing to you from Washington D.C. where I have lived the last three and change years since I moved back to the U.S. I have continued working and writing about the Syrian conflict, and currently work for a research company that focuses on hard-to-reach areas. When I’m not on the office, or biking to and from it, I mentor kids in English Language Arts, nerd-out playing Magic the Gathering, and have been trying to get more into bowling. I am also active with a local Unitarian Universalist congregation.

I also love carby-cheese things, but will take cheese fries over nachos almost any day. I’m interested in hearing whatever you think is interesting about yourself and will excitedly be clicking refresh on the Yak Board in the days to come.