Tides & Tributes

October 2, 2017 by

By Bethanie Mazengia

Fine light sand

embraces both desert coast and Atlantic ocean

reaching farther than I can see.

 

Wading,

that the pleasantly cool water

brushes past,

my calves swallowed in a temperature

startling the hot breath of sun from my tanned skin.

 

Restlessly, I dance with the tides’ sweep

pivoting diagonally from the invigorating rush.

 

I’m reveling

in the squelching caress of my feet

from the saturated sand

when I watch

amazed, at how quickly my footprint is filled in,

only watery traces remain.

Like the patches of life almost lost to us,

interspersed through the medinas and twisting crosswork of houses,

tributes to stories in forgotten pasts.

Advertisements

Camels

October 2, 2017 by

camelJessica Cunnington

 

To swim in the Atlantic Ocean is one thing, but to ride camels on it is another! This is hands down one of my favorite activities from the Spain & Morocco Study Abroad Trip. We had the lucky opportunity of riding camels in the beach town of Asilah, Morocco. The camels were brought to us on the beach, and we all took our turn riding the massive Sahara native mammals. It was such a fun event on our trip because you simply can’t go to Morocco, and not ride a camel. Riding the camel at first was somewhat daunting due to the size, and how high up I was in the air on their backs! One of the highlights for me from this activity was the four month old baby camel that was brought along. All of us were able to fawn over this special moment that was completely heart warming and memorable. It was such an interesting experience riding camels, due to their docile nature. Camels are overly sweet animals, who love attention! Even though they are large in size, they’re extremely light on their feet. You can feel their hooves sink into the light and soft sand of the Atlantic Ocean as they walk slowly. These animals are extraordinary, and I’m so thankful I’ve been given the opportunity to ride one in Africa of all places!

On Return

October 2, 2017 by
When I think about my return to American, I am filled with both feelings of excitement and worry. Returning back home means a lot of different things—it means a return to the comforts of American living and being in a culture that I understand better. It means returning back to my own home, being able to spend some time to myself before the start of the academic year and get a bit of a break from both work and school before everything starts again. However, it also reminds me of being in environments and areas where my own experiences and education are only valued sometimes. Along with this, there comes the fear that my experience will be like others and I’ll have little, if any, time to be able to fully rest up before the beginning of my Senior year.
It is a… mixed bag, to say the least. On one hand, I am excited to finally return to my homeland, to be able to have and indulge some of the luxuries that we Americans take for granted—our access to food, our clean water, our cellular service. Perhaps one of the biggest things I am looking forward to is the fact that now that we’re back in the States, I will have total access to my phone everywhere. I will be able to call anyone and use the Internet anywhere within the states. Despite my own excitement, I also have some fears and anxieties about my own return.
On the other hand, my biggest fear is that my own experiences still won’t count for much in the short- or long-run, at least in regards to some people I know. I worry that all I have learned will not be taken seriously—that anything I say or show will simply be seen as mere “opinions” that can be dismissed with a simple, “I don’t think that.” While I will know for myself that these experiences, and what I learned from them, are true, I also fear that such experiences will not matter much in the real world. Then again, a part of me feels that the main fear I have is not that I won’t be taken seriously, but that I’ll begin to doubt what I have seen or heard in Spain and Morocco due to their indoctrination. Since my family has often forced these kinds of conversations on me, without truly taking the fact that I might have disagreed, I fear that they will not accept that I have learned the stereotypes they hold are simply untrue.
Altogether, I really do feel, and pray, that my experiences can help change things; that with greater knowledge of what’s going on in the world, I can help bring about reconciliation and make things better. Moreover, I can also improve myself, understand how my actions affect others and learn more about not having a wasteful, ungrateful life. With all that I have learned about how Moroccans live, I believe that I can take steps to make sure that I don’t have to live a life of utter wastefulness when many of them would do anything to have what I have. Even though I am still, ultimately, just one person, and therefore I can’t expect or be expected, to truly be able to take on every problem we face, I still hope I can overcome some of them. Moreover, in the end, my own hope is that what I have learned in Spain and Morocco will allow me to be a true force of reconciliation, if not upon my initial return than later on in life.

–By Brett Gonta

IMG_3260

Writing I: Why I Travel

October 2, 2017 by

 

The rolling green hills of the Irish Countryside; the cool, crisp atmosphere after a Canadian rainfall; the familial hospitality of a Mexican household—all of these is experienced when one goes onto travels. Traveling is more than just a way to see new sights and sounds—it is stepping into another part of the world, choosing to temporarily walk into a different land, and a different life, and to immerse yourself into what it means to be a part of that new world. It also allows one to fully empathize with the pros and cons with living in these new environments.

For these reasons, I choose to travel. In doing so, I am able to assimilate myself—albeit temporarily—into a different culture and land. Through traveling, my eyes are opened to not just new experiences and concepts, but to the people and their beliefs as well. Instead of simply reading about their culture, travel allows one to be a part of it. With the gift of being at the

In the context of this trip, it allows me to not just be in Spain and Morocco, but it also allows for me to be a Spaniard or Moroccan while I’m there. When I traveled in these countries, I was able to eat the delectable soups and breads of Spain, as well as the flavorful foods of Morocco. I am able to immerse myself within the beauty of the Alhambra, exploring the intricate architecture and carefully maintained gardens of the ancient palace. It allows me to see the Roman Volubis, to see not only the remains of such an incredible empire, as well as discover more and more about what it was like to live in it at the time.

By Brett Gonta

Yellow To Red

October 2, 2017 by

By Caroline Beresford-Wood

The Madrid airport’s support pillars gradually change hues, red all the way to yellow on the farthest side. I had noticed this when we first landed in Spain; I was so excited about the adventure ahead of me, this airport was the first step in it. When we had arrived, we walked from the red pillared side of the airport toward the yellow, toward customs and the bag claim and the bus that would take us to see Toledo. But we just walked from yellow to red; we’re leaving now, and we have to go back to real life and make sense of the whirlwind these past three weeks have been.

Red to yellow. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into; I only knew it would be uncomfortable, a growing pain, more listening than speaking. I did not expect to make the friends I’ve made, do the things we got to do, or leave with more questions than when I came here. I kept my mind and hands open to see what was to be had in all of this for me. Yellow to red. I wish I didn’t have to shift from yellow to red so soon. I already miss the calls to prayer, the slow pace, the conversations with classmates. My hands are more full than I expected them to be; there are people I never would have known before who have become good friends and there are good friends staying behind that I may never see again. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but now I don’t want to leave.

Red to yellow. I didn’t know how my life was going to play out; I hardly knew how the next few weeks will play out. I hoped that the few weeks on this trip would be eye opening, I hoped that it would be a time to teach me about myself and to get to know more about the place I have in the world. Yellow to red. I still don’t know how my life is going to play out; the few weeks on this trip have taught me how to be open, how to lean into the awkward and the uncomfortable, how to say yes and how to say no, too. These past few weeks have stripped me down, away from my comfort zone I am not the same person I thought I was. This trip encouraged me to match action to conviction, to do what I say I’ll do and let my beliefs be seen in my behaviors, especially in the ways I talk, dress, and interact with the world around me.

Yellow to red. I carry home with me now; travelling changes me into a nomad of sorts as I drink my Moroccan mint tea out of a Starbucks cup staring at the Seattle rain clouds. I don’t know where home is, other than the people I find myself at home with. I don’t know how to let anyone feel the excitement of riding the camel in Asilah, the funny confusion of trying to translate French to English and back again for my friends’ bargains, the exhausted rides home on the bus after long tours in new places. These experiences are coming home with me, beyond the movement from yellow to red; these moments are part of me, and I don’t know how to share them yet. I’m past the movement from yellow to red, I’m back now. My red roots are tangling back around my soul, reminding me of where I come from. As I look at what had happened before, headed from red to yellow and into this grand adventure, it’s hard to believe that the trek from yellow to red was only three weeks ago. As I readjust to what I’ve always known, I find myself running back and forth, dancing between red and yellow and red again, trying to make sense of my several homes at once. I’ve been blended into something I wasn’t before: the red and yellow interacted far too much to let them make it out unscathed, but I’ve always been a fan of orange.Yellow to Red

The Beach Day

October 2, 2017 by

The Beach Day

by Carolyn Beresford-Wood

We began the endeavor, and the sand squished into our sandals and got picked up by the wind. This wasn’t the ideal execution of this plan; Bella, Bethanie, Kalin, Jessinia, Kathryn and I just wanted to have a picnic on the beach watching the sunset, but the wind whipped the sand into our faces and into our food(we had to laugh at our attempts at a perfect outing). The beach was soft, but covered in trash. We couldn’t be too picky; this beach was right next to the hotel and the sky was bright with every shade of orange and yellow. The windblown sand snaked its way by and we were pretty alone out there, although it may have been the fact that we were the only ones ridiculous enough to try.

 

Regardless, everything seemed to be in harmony in this moment and I didn’t want to leave. The air was warm and I was surrounded with good people and good food, the waves crashed and their sounds felt like a crescendo as they took over my attention. I wanted to hold this moment like a gem, keep it close to me and hold tightly to it so I could always come back, but the sun sets far too quickly to deem this beauty anything but finite. We were the lucky ones;we were where we’ve never been before with people we only know so well, the water sang songs for us as we sat, relaxed, on a beach with nowhere we needed to be. We sauntered to meet the low tide and stuck our feet in, we talked and took pictures and asked questions. Three of us barreled into the water because it’s our favorite place to go, and we had nowhere we needed to be.

As much as I desperately wanted to hold onto this moment forever, the sun saluted us its classic goodbye. We had to return home, to homework, to early mornings and long treks through unknown cities, but this was so necessary. Some may have called it silly, or a waste of time, but I needed that moment of unrepentant rest. The Asilah beach and the simple tomato-avocado sandwiches and the friends who knew how to laugh at themselves brought me back to know that we are the lucky ones. Most people don’t get to adventure like this. I can’t bring everyone to that beach, on that night, with those people; that moment will never happen again. All I can do is carry that gemstone, save it for rainy days, and hope in the fact that I can collect more.

The Beach Day

“god” of My Heritage

October 2, 2017 by

by Carolyn Beresford-Wood

I walk under vaulted
ceilings and statues plated with gold. There’s beauty here but my heart breaks
– the God this chapel worships is not mine even when they share the same name.
This is not the God I know. god of GreedThe white walled cathedral is stained red and I
can’t not think about all those whom this exploited. The god of greed is my
heritage, forcing saints into breast plates, piety to carry a sword, and the Christ
to forgo justice for the sake of luxuries. These walls, altars, floors are
stained with the invisible ink of lost stories. I ache at the voices that have
been silenced, I ache that this is my spiritual heritage; I ache that we forget
what for us here, gawking at precious metals and handiwork stolen from other
people.

God, help me be aware of my inherited gods –
consumerism, greed, power – and the demons of injustice and apathy.

God, help me not forget.

 

 

Love Letter to Meknes

October 2, 2017 by

A Love Letter to Meknes

Kalin Atkinson

In only three weeks our group of students traveled across two continents and stayed in eight cities; we became experts at living out of suitcases and catching up on sleep in buses as their Spanish and French radio stations lulled us to sleep. However, halfway through the trip we had about a week to settle into a smaller urban city in Morocco called Meknes. With the help of our incredible guide, Younes, we quickly discovered some of our favorite spots in the city. After the sun went down and the evening breeze cooled down the city, we would adventure down the block and return with fresh juice in one hand and a hot, cheesy potato sandwich in the other. The Meknes market filled with an endless stock of rugs and soccer jerseys was a winding puzzle that we slowly started to solve. We even had tea with the Imam, Meknes’ local Islamic leader to share faith and perspective. Jumping from city to city had allowed us to see so many things and do more than we had even imagines, but it didn’t allow for the relief of familiar faces or spaces. This is my love letter to Meknes, the city that opened its arms to twelve strangers that needed some comfort. 

IMG_20170921_212043_373

Painted Walls: Service Project Reflection

October 2, 2017 by

By Gabby Gill

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” II Corinthians 9:8-12 (ESV)

I was seven years old when my mother bought her first house. It took a full year to be built and was far away from everyone we knew in the very hot high desert of Southern California. But it was her’s and no one else’s. My sister, Danielle, and I were dragged to Home Depot over and over again comparing swatches for the perfect beiges, greens and golds. If you knew my mom, Dana, then you would know that she hates white walls. To this day she cringes at a fully furnished home that lacks painted walls. I remember me my mom and Danielle, all wearing bagging grey sweats and listening to music as we rolled the rich smelling paint onto the fresh, bare walls. Standing back, being the smallest of the three, I always felt so unaccomplished when I saw how much of the wall was covered by my mother and sister and how little I managed to get done. And just when the room seemed to be finished, it was time to do it all over again with a second coat.                                                                                                                               Now here I am, thirteen years later, 5,600 miles away from home, painting old blue walls white. Just a few weeks before leaving for Morocco, my mother sold the house that Danielle and I grew up in. It wasn’t until dipping my brush into the fresh paint that I realized how upset I was with my mother for giving away the house the three of us took time to build into making a home. Painting these old, cracked and dirty walls was already frustrating, because there was no connection to who we were helping. There were no small tender faces that made the load of the heat and the fumes seem less harsh. On top of that, I was now preoccupied with feelings over something that I had not really given myself time to process in the first place. Though the service project is supposed to be about forgetting about yourself and doing something purely for the good of others, it became about me. Each stroke of new white paint that covered and concealed the old blue paint, uncovered my true feelings for what it meant to me to no longer feel like I had a home. In a way, I was able to get a glimpse into what these students must feel living in a place that eventually becomes home but is only temporary until they finish school.

Why I Love to Travel

October 2, 2017 by

by Gabby Gill

“…all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and being deposited in the midst of terror and wonder” (147)

Growing up in a small desert town in Southern California, I hated the idea of staying in that place forever and calling it my “home”. I loved taking field trips though they were never more than 50 or 60 miles away, but the important part was that they were away. My senior year of high school all my college applications were to somewhere foreign to where I had never been before, and not a single one was in California. To be away from home, meant to be free and to figure out where I really wanted to be. Before leaving to the Emerald City, my grandparents took me on a road trip all the way to Cincinnati, Ohio. In each state, there was something different to fall in love with. New Mexico had gorgeous copper colored rock formations that mirrored the Grand Canyon. Oklahoma had friendly livestock and hot gray skies. And Ohio had gorgeous trees, rivers, and tall long-lived skyscrapers. There was always something somewhere that “home” didn’t have, which of course made falling in love with a new place easier.

To travel thousands of miles away feels dangerous and exciting like it feels to meet someone for a first date. The first steps are always the most frightening but then all of a sudden, just as the person you didn’t know as a lover becomes home, so does the place you travel to. Everyone around me either spoke French or Darija, and I was fluent in English and English only. But somehow after a few days, I was holding hands with the cities I barely knew. I could order food in a restaurant though I really had no idea what I was saying. I could greet passerby’s, though I had no idea what their extended responses meant and couldn’t translate a word past “Hello”. I was entangled and felt as though I belonged as though I had lived in Morocco for months. I often would walk down the street or in the market and be mistaken for being Moroccan because I started to blend in so well after getting the hang of my new city, just as people say the longer a couple is together the more they start to look like one another. Ask me where I want to travel to, and instantly my answer will be Morocco as if I were longing to see my far-off lover again. But who knows, after my next visit to another far off place, my answer might change as I fall in-love again and again with each new travelling journey. –by Gabby Gill

file