October 10, 2015
I am on the ship now. It’s quiet and homey. I’m cool because of the miracle that is air conditioning. And I’m clean. I just took a thirty-minute shower to wash the dirt, sand, and sweat off, but something that cannot be removed from me is the memory of today.
No matter how many times I’ll drag myself out of bed early to watch a sunrise, I doubt I’ll ever be able to top today’s. The sun came to life as it emerged over the golden dunes of the Sahara. It was magical.
I got on my camel this morning – turban and all – and made my way back to civilization, but I returned with more than the sand in my hair and sunburn.
Morocco has cultured me. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower and strolled down the streets of Russia, but Morocco is the country that awakened me. I can’t explain to you what I mean by that, but being immersed in a place so different gives you a jolt. It makes you realize that the world is much larger than you thought – much larger than your own little sphere of yourself.
You always hear about different cultures. You see them on TV. You read about them in books, but somehow they always seem like a different universe. Like a world from a fictional story. Henceforth, you go on living your life in the world in which you’re comfortable – the only world that really exists.
You can travel to the tourist destinations you want; however, there are places beyond the resort beaches and the bustling cities that you’ll never imagine unless you experience them for yourself. To go completely out of your comfort zone: that is what cultures you.
When you realize that there are people out there who have never been to a school, or seen a Bible, or eaten an ice cream cone: that cultures you.
If you’re in a different land where almost everyone has a different religion than you, particularly a religion that many assume is equivalent to terrorism, you become cultured.
When you don’t shower for three days and you spend the night completely surrounded by sand you become cultured.
When you watch a mother slap her young daughter because she didn’t get enough money while begging… that is what cultures you.
In the other countries I’ve visited so far – yes – each has presented its own culture, but each of them have also held some type of reflection to the place I call home. In Morocco there has been nothing – absolutely nothing – that resembles where I come from. That has cultured me.
As I reflect, I see that Morocco has been one of my favorite countries because of the enlightenment I received there. I have never been so far out of my comfort zone, and because of that, I have grown as a person. I have truly been cultured.