Unbeknownst to my well-meaning parents twenty years ago, their daughter’s name would come to mean more than they originally intended. Though my full name is Alexa, it is derived from the Greek Alexandros, which is a composite of the verb alexo (“to ward off, to avert, to defend”) and the noun andros (“man”). Meaning, I was named, roughly, “defender of mankind.” Though it’s not the etymology that interests me, rather it’s the man who immortalized the namesake: Alexander the Great, King of Macedon and the first ruler to conquer the vast Persian Empire. A few years prior, he had raided and declared himself ruler of Egypt, founding the city of Alexandria before moving on to the Fertile Crescent, all before the age of twenty-five.
Where West Meets East is a story of another twenty-something year old, also embarking on an expedition to Eastern lands. Though unlike Alexander, my journey does not boast military might nor invasive power; rather, I travel simply with the hope of bringing back knowledge. I am an American currently studying at university, majoring in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic and who in the coming months will be traveling to Iran, and then studying abroad in Amman, Jordan. And I always have a story to tell.