After my 20 years of life, I thought I knew myself pretty well, but travelling 3,000 miles away from home showed me I was wrong.
Making the decision to leave UNE Biddeford and take advantage of the Morocco campus wasn’t difficult. Everybody I loved and admired kept telling me that “it was going to be the best experience of your life,” and that “not going abroad in college” would be a big mistake. The opportunity was truly once-in-a-lifetime and I was excited to go.
When you pulled out of the driveway in January, your eyes were red from the goodbyes earlier that day with your best friends, and your stomach was pretzled into knots because you know you wouldn’t see them for months. You talked to Mom about random things trying to hide your lack of courage, but you weren’t fooling her. She knew you were nervous, and she was just as uneasy. Just like you, she was also excited.
After three flights, two layovers, sleeping on airport benches, and playing countless rounds of UNO, you arrived in Tangier. On the first flight from Logan to London, you were randomly seated next to two older women who had been college roommates, had travelled the world together, and were off on yet another journey. Having those ladies as your flight buddies was comforting, and you fell asleep.
After what you experienced this semester, it was seamless travel. Rania greeted you, and Lily, Jordan and David were at the airport with muffins, water and an immediate sense of safety.
Once you finally settled into your new dorm room, you cried the whole night. You looked at the pictures of your favorite people on the corkboard and longed for the familiarity of being with them. The thought of how far you were from home, and May 10th when you’d return, made you anxious. It’s okay that this happened—you were naive about your new home and didn’t know yet how much you were going to love it.
Just like everybody said, studying abroad was the best experience of my life. Now, sitting at home in the same pajamas that I wore last night, I envy you. Barrington Sarah isn’t the same as Morocco Sarah. Every day, Morocco Sarah would wake up and look out two enormous sliding glass doors to see part of Tangier’s cityscape, with your favorite mosque, the green one, front and center. The mystery of each day and what it could bring excited you; and unlike in Barrington, every day there was the possibility of wonder.
The people you met, they’re special. Hold onto their souls and spirits forever, it’ll make you a better human.