Words can’t describe how I feel right now. The car ride from Fes to campus was beautiful. It was up a long winding mountain road passing though tiny little towns that look like something out of an episode of Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain.
When we arrived at the school I was surprised to see a guarded gate around the outside of campus. The gate made me feel both safer and uneasy at the same time. It was comforting that the school takes its security seriously and at the same time thinking about why there is a need for guards is unsettling. The first building we went inside was the Residential Hall Administration Building which is a very popular place being that 98% of students that go to Al Akhawayn live on campus. The man at the front desk was so kind. Everyone I have met from Morroco has been so kind. Not that I expected anything different I’m just so grateful for their kindness.
Walking across campus in the dark for the first time I couldn’t help but smile the entire time. I did it! I’m here!! I made a promise to myself and kept it.
My first impression as I walked into my dorm room was that it looked like a prison cell. But after being here for a while I can’t help but compare how my experiences in Morocco is just like this room, prepared but ultimately a blank slate.
Opening my bags to grab clothes to wear to bed turned out to be what sent me over the edge my first night in Morocco. They say the sense of smell triggers the strongest emotions and memories. When I opened my bag I couldn’t help but cry because I was overwhelmed with the smell of home and the reality of how far away it actually was at that moment.
But I wasn’t just crying because I missed home. I was crying because I was overwhelmed with happiness. I was crying because I was so relieved to see a bed in front of me and not another plane seat. And I was crying because I had just accomplished the most important goal I have ever set for myself in my life to this point.
Once I finally caught my breath and got settled into bed I couldn’t help but smile as I fell asleep thinking about how lucky I am to be here.
Let the adventures begin!
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