Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

The truth is, now I am scared to go home. I am worried that all I have experienced and all of that I have grown to be will leave me as soon as I step back into my old life. I have never been away this long from home, but I am so comfortable being on my own now.

This semester has been the best four months of my life. I was forced out of my comfort zone and I adapted to life in Morocco. Though I was completely uncomfortable with the classes I was taking, I learned more than I ever had before. I was constantly being challenged since I was not in my usual science course that I grew so accustomed to back home. I learned about major events impacting the world today, and why they are happening. I was able to become a knowledgeable world citizen, that can work to prevent Orientalist views back at home, and can provide educated insight on the Israeli-Palestine issue, America's influence in the Middle East, and how religion plays into politics all around the globe. My favorite class, Gender and Politics in the Modern Middle East, allowed me to grow stronger in my beliefs as a feminist and to hopefully continue to advocate for the importance of equality between the sexes while still uplifting both men and women. My mind is not just focused on chemical formulas, theories, and equations, but now it is more well-rounded thanks to my social science classes.

This semester was not just about the classroom, though. This semester was also about traveling, exploring the world and different languages and cultures, meeting new people, learning more about myself, and finding out that wherever I am, I am home.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunities to go to Rabat, the Sahara Desert, Amsterdam, Fes, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Rome, and Chefchouen. What made these trips incredible was not destination, but the little things, like when Dakota and I bought 50 coconut cookies from a family in Marrakesh, or when Dakota, Kelsey, and I decided to run a half-marathon without any training, two days before the actual event. Even staying home for the weekend consisted of exploring Ifrane and finding my favorite restaurant, the ladies who make the best m'semn in town, the best smoothie place in the Marche, and hiking through the Source Vittel. Each place opened my eyes more to the world and opened my eyes to see where I fit in it. I am capable of much more than I ever imagined. Life is about taking chances and experiences the world without reservation. Most of the best trips or experiences happened on a whim, or were the result of a mistake. Adapting to situations quickly and always having a positive outlook on things is so important.

I have learned enough French and Darija (the Arabic dialect spoken in Morocco) to make my way around the country for four months. I have learned about unique cultural differences that make Morocco special. I think being thrown into a new country brings out the true character of someone. I have met so many amazing souls here that are all so different, but all compatible with one another as long as we respect each other. I think what I valued the most here is the friendship formed between Dakota, Kelsey, and me. Though we still are having trouble figuring out the exact moment we all "clicked" (it was sometime in Rabat, but we don't really remember each other during that trip), I have spent more time with them than without them here. It's crazy to think that in a couple days, I will be resting my head on my pillow in my house in Ohio and I won't be able to run upstairs and see Kelsey and Dakota watching reruns Grey's Anatomy on Kelso's bed. I won't wake up at 8am every morning to go running with them and then eat breakfast and drink coffee before class. We won't have our weekly homemade mac-and-cheese and a movie night, nor will we be able to have hours long conversations that usually end in us laughing uncontrollably, even if they started out as serious ones. These little things have made this experience amazing.

I am going to miss Kinder Bueno Whites, Tajine, Hrira soup, cheap living and cheap travelling, the community here of International students, the beautiful campus (even if we are not allowed to walk on the grass), the view outside my window, all the little cats and kittens that are everywhere, ordering a kilo of clementines for only 6 dirhams, m'semn, my small classes, and my friends. I am sure I will be missing so much more as soon as I board that plane Saturday.

So goodbye Morocco, and thank you for the amazing memories that will last me a lifetime. This world is more beautiful and more incredible than can be described and I want to see it all. Though my journey in Morocco has ended, my journey through life has just begun.

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