Extra Sauce

In the month of December, I worked alongside my father for his company, Dracut Plumbing and Heating. Every day, like clockwork at 11am, we would climb into our box truck and drive to the nearest sub shop or cafe for lunch. One day, we stopped at Brother’s- a sub shop in Dracut, Massachusetts. I ordered a spinach and feta calzone with a side of pizza sauce. However, when it arrived at our table, I noticed that my side of sauce was missing. The waiter placed our food in front of us with a smile and asked if we needed anything else before walking away. In previous situations like this, I would freeze up and just politely say that everything was fine. But this time, at Brothers, I frowned at my dad and said, “I’m missing my side of sauce!” My eyes pleaded with him not to make me call the waiter myself. He knew how shy I was and he refused to do it for me. We ended up arguing about it in our booth until my dad finally asked me, “If you can’t even ask a waiter for extra sauce, how are you going to manage in Morocco?” This conversation made me reflect on myself as someone who has always been a homebody. Even on family vacations, halfway through the trip, I would just want to go back home and sleep in my own bed. So how did I end up in Morocco? What compelled me to break out of my comfort zone and travel across the world to study abroad? It goes against my nature to try new things unless someone forces me to do so; sometimes I still resist leaving the safety of my bubble. Before coming to Tangier, everyone seemed convinced that I would lose my nerve and back out of the trip last minute. How could the girl who struggles to order extra sauce move to Africa? How could the girl who drives home from college almost every weekend to see her dog leave for four months? But when I made the decision to go, I didn’t let myself think about how I was going to do it or what I would do there. Instead, I focused on why. Why did I want to go to Morocco? I even made a list to help me through any doubts or fears: this experience will be amazing for my education and will make me stand out when applying to graduate school; I will get to explore the world; and Zoey, my dog, won’t forget me and it’s only four months out of my whole life. I reminded myself that I am young and healthy and capable of doing this for myself. And once I arrived in Tangier, I only needed to read my list once before feeling confident and not shying away from sticking up for myself. Whether it was hailing a cab or speaking my mind, I wasn’t afraid to put myself out there. And riding on a camel like a Bedouin princess in the Sahara desert? Piece of cake.

Caleigh Pimentel is a Health, Wellness and Occupational Studies major at the University of New England.

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