In Jordan, I am my father’s son and that is enough.

That’s how I’m introduced to relatives I’ve never met before or don’t remember. An endless stream of people ask who I am and why they haven’t met me before.

The answer is always the same: “ibn Nabil min Amreeka.” Nabil’s son, from America.

It’s strange being here. I was born in Jordan and look more or less Arab, even though I’m only half.  Although I’ve learned Arabs look like everything, with an endless combination of hair and eye colors.

Every day, I’m approached by someone and asked something in Arabic. I fumble around searching for the appropriate phrases in a language I should already know, but that I’ve only started to learn in college. My usual fallback is to say “ana mish faahim.” I don’t understand.

I often catch myself thinking what might have happened had my parents not moved to the States when I was baby. I wonder what my life would have been like. What language would I think in – arabic or english? Would I even have the same personality, beliefs or tone of voice?

Everyone has the possibility to lead many different lives during the course of their own, but few people have as clear alternatives as I have.

My father told me that I should come here and try to get a better sense of who I am, where my roots are, but – honestly – all that my travels abroad have done are convince me how American I am. I walk like American, talk like an American and – most importantly – think like an American.

On Thursday, I leave here for Jerusalem and the West Bank. It’s a trip that should take about an hour but which, if nothing goes wrong, will take the better part of a day.

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