Now Look Back At It

So here’s a little #tbt blog post to remind you that A) I’m still alive, and B) I’m back in the United States after living a completely opposite life for almost the whole year. Needless to say, there’s some last minute thoughts on the summer traveling and the experience as a whole that I want to jot down for you all.

Here’s a brief synopsis on what went down during summer 2k16.

After my semester and brief return home to sunny Southern California for a month of In-N-Out and work, I set back off on another summer adventure through France with my family. There are two conclusions I came to from my time there: I don’t like vacations my whole family, and I don’t like the French (minus Estelle and Jules, you two are the exception ALWAYS bisous bisous bisous). Food was pretty bomb though so I can’t complain.

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One skip hop and a plane ride, and I was reunited with my true love Coleen, and together we discovered the beauty of southern Spain in the city of Sevilla. With sangria in hand and empty wallets from shopping, we discovered the deliciousness of paella and the elegance of architecture.

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Spain seemed even more magical after Coleen and I had the most stressful travel day of our freaking lives, but we were determined to get to Morocco and surprise our boo thangs. Which we did, and they had no idea, and it was adorable. And after a couple days of rest, we set out on more adventures in the places I love like Chefchaouen and Tangier. It was nice to be back in a familiar environment after my brief time at home.

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Then we got to explore Agadir and Marrakech, places that I didn’t really get to spend a lot of time in. I knew leaving Morocco the first time that I didn’t see enough, so I found the summer trip to fill the travel-bug voids. And wow, am I grateful that I saw Agadir and more landscape in Marrakech. The beautiful beaches, the insanely salty water, the delicious taste of Domino’s (I know I suck I’m sorry), it all came together for a magical final adventure.

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You’re probably wondering, “why is this blonde chick rambling on about her adventures again? Weren’t we over this months ago? This is irrelevant.”

Because now that I’m back, I don’t have a clue in hell how to balance my old life with my new experiences. It’s like study abroad limbo.

Although I hate to admit it, the reverse culture shock got to me more than I thought it would. Everything that was warm and comforting had become unfamiliar to me. All the things I had looked forward to coming back weren’t as comforting as the things I had left in Morocco. It’s weird walking into the classroom every day knowing that this is where you’ve always been, but not where you recently were.

I found myself sitting on my bed questioning my place in this world, wondering what the concept of “home” really is and where I belonged the most. The fact that I was able to live a completely different life thousands of miles away and found it to be more of a home than I had felt anywhere else scared me. It was a terrifying moment coming back and realizing that the concept of permanence really doesn’t exist when you’re a twentysomething. Home isn’t where your heart is, it’s where your heart feels the most full.

With school starting, it’s been a lot easier to deal with since I’m busy allllllll the time. As my friends can tell you, I’m doing something every minute of every day and if I’m not, then I’m asleep or in bed watching Narcos and Futurama. I got a lot of great advice on how to deal with the shock from facebook friends (thanks y’all, that helped a lot more than you think), so it’s getting better day by day. (And if anyone ever needs someone to talk to about it, PLEASE contact me. I am always here to listen and validate your feelings.)

I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to travel like crazy this year. I’m privileged to have the opportunity and financial resources that make adventures like this possible, and I’d like to thank my Mom and family for all the support and all that you do. To have both a semester abroad and a summer trip? Wow, the big man upstairs is really looking out for me. I’m grateful to have an amazing boyfriend that made my Moroccan experience the best it could be (even though the loser is from Libya), and to have a family of friends that went out of their way to make my second Moroccan trip the best it could be. And I am forever and ever in gratitude to my beautiful roommates and friends at Chapman who have listened and loved me through and through, even on my grumpiest days. I owe you all the world.

I don’t know when I’ll go back to Morocco. I don’t even know if I’ll ever have the chance to go back to Morocco. But now I feel like that chapter of my life has finally come to a close, and I’m glad that I was able to experience everything that I had wanted to. I’ve gone to all the places, seen all the things, and made the best memories. It feels complete.

So truly, thank you Morocco. I’m not exactly sure what you changed about me, but I know that it’s for the better. img_3023

All My Love,

Ellie L.