Hello أمريكا (America),
I have missed you all very much. It's been about seven months since I have seen all the McDonald and Quicktrip signs. As May approaches, I am filled with sadness, my time in Morocco is drawing to a close. This second semester has been a semester of plenty of reflection and acceptance. It has definitely been an emotional roller coaster, but I am learning to let unimportant things roll of my back.
Last semester, I did not fully appreciate Morocco. I constantly ask myself why did it take me so long to come to this point of revelation? I was extremely homesick and didn't even know..
When packing for Morocco, back in August (ages ago), I did not expect myself to fall into a perpetual state of homesickness. I was thinking to myself, Morocco; colorful long skirts and shirts. Not once did it ever really hit me, I was going to be gone for one year, 365 days. I never asked myself, what I should take with me to a distant place, drastically different from home. I urge those who are planning, considering, or beginning to study abroad to make sure you bring a piece of home with you wherever you go.
I have struggled with mild depression before coming to Morocco, visiting my counselor once a week during the school year, I addressed the problem points of my life. When the opportunity of traveling to Morocco came up, it never crossed my mind that I could fall back into my perpetual state of depression. I was thinking it will be all things Sunny! What was there to worry about? Nothing. Well, I was mistakenly wrong. The first semester in Morocco where incredible, until I came back from Ethiopia in January. I just tried to cope with life the same way I do when I am at home--study, study, study, but the longing to be home in Ethiopia with my mom and sister got the best of me. I would sometimes come straight home from school and sleep for hours beginning of this semester. I still traveled on some weekends, enjoyed some moments, but I was not living the moment. My mind was constantly bogged with dreading coming back to Morocco which I *thought* would draw me into this perpetual cycle of sadness, but it was my own reluctance to address my issues which trapped me in my room.
I just needed my family, especially when I came back from Ethiopia. I hadn't seen my sister or mother in five years so coming back to Morocco felt so much harder than it actually was. Looking back I wish I just would have left my apartment, I wasted so much valuable moments and time. All I needed to do was get out and see something, breathe, meditate, but I choose instead to ostracize myself. My friends tried to encouraged me to go, but I made the ultimate decision.
What the solution? HONESTY! Call your loved ones.
I encourage all those who can, call your family! There is nothing better in this world than hearing the voices of the people you love. Their voices bring so much comfort and encouragement, you feel you can conqueror the world. I am EVER so blessed to have a family and school who supports me. Without the help of my aunts, uncles, sisters, cousins, brothers, dad, mom, friends, and UMKC, I do not think I would have been able to get to the point of realization I have recently came to this semester. Life is not about your expectations, it is all about making your expectations met life. This preconceived notions about life abroad people have are wrong. Same you + different country = same you, BUT you have to choose to take advantage of the opportunities you have and it saddens me that it took me this long to realize this! It is such a simple answer to a simple question.
I have this theory that life is actually simpler than people make it, I am accountable for making my life more complicated than it needs to be.
As I was sitting at Pizza Hut eating the closet "American" thing I could find. My thoughts had consumed me. That was the moment I knew, I was homesick. Soon after this realization I knew I had to do something about it to enjoy the rest of my semester. January was definitely some long days of sadness, trying to break this funky mood I was constantly in, I starting running everyday. Exercise and mediation is helping me in my progress to move towards a positive direction.
Homesickness is not taken seriously, it's my seventh month in Morocco and I am just getting over the milestones of homesick. People need to understand studying abroad isn't all rainbows and sunshine, but it is about creating your own sunshine and pushing through those cloudy days. It has taken me a long time to let the small things roll off my back. It's for the better, control what you can control and don't worry about the rest.
I just want to take this time to let everyone know, it is OKAY to be homesick, it's natural. We just have to work through it all the good and bad.
Find something which gives you peace and be self-aware. Whether it's sports, writing, singing, dancing in the rain, hiking, YOU have the ability to change how you feel.
Sending positive vibes from Morocco.
ليلة سعيدة (Good Night),
Enjoying some sunshine in Rabat!