Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Taste of Family Flavours: An Intern's Tale

By Leila Meglio

Three months ago, I packed up all my most essential belongings, kissed my family goodbye, and traveled halfway across the world from Boston, Massachusetts to Amman, Jordan. I came here to study Arabic, to listen and learn from lilting accents and try to understand a new way of life.

A few months ago, I learned of this amazing opportunity to intern for a real Jordanian magazine: Family Flavours. I was excited and felt so lucky; I study literature at my university in the States and hope to one day work in the publishing industry, so I felt it would be a perfect fit. I remember how nervous I was, too, before coming in that first day: here I was, my wearing my favorite shirt and best shoes, trying to look and act adult yet feeling like a child on her first day of school.

But the nerves didn't last long. Very quickly I began to feel at home in the office, comfortable speaking to everyone. It was helped by the way I was treated; from the start, it was made very clear that I was not just an intern who would make coffee and file papers, I would receive the work--and respect--of any other employee. It made me relax when I felt I was treated in the same way as the others, and I wanted to be worthy of that respect. I think this was one of the most beneficial aspects of my time in Jordan, for I had never felt as though anyone considered me a serious adult, even at 20 years old. All of my jobs previously had treated me well enough, certainly, but here at Family Flavours I was regarded an equal.

It was also eye opening to see all the work that goes into composing a well-rounded and engaging magazine. I would edit once, twice, three times--to make sure everything, from the cover article to the shortest caption to professional advertisements, was perfect. Those pages which looked so glossy and easy, welcoming covers inviting me to read, were actually alive with the effort and careful planning of designers, writers and editors. I remember sitting in on my first ideas meeting, listening to all the writers different concepts for articles, being invited to share my own ideas. Isn't it amazing how one simple idea can turn into an article, complete with perfect photos and a by-line, how a thought can travel from one mind into the homes and hands of many?

It's December now, and my finals are approaching. Soon I will say goodbye to Amman, my home away from home, and say goodbye to Family Flavours. I am of course excited to see my family and my friends back in the States, but I can't help but feel that the time has passed too quickly. I wish I could live in two places at once: stay here and continue this life I've been developing without abandoning everything waiting for me. I feel so privileged to have had this experience, both in this country and in this magazine. I have learned and seen things that people twice my age have never been exposed to; I have seen the whirring of printing presses churning out thousands of magazines and I have felt, for the first time, the pride that comes with seeing my very own words laid out and ready to be printed for mass consumption.

Thank you, Family Flavours. Thank you, Jordan. I will soon be far away--but know you are close in my heart.

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