As most of you have seen, reports of the missing aircraft that was traveling from the Charles de Gaulle national airport in Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt have been overwhelming international news outlets since Thursday morning. Speculation of the cause of the disappearance of the plane is mounting with every update, as Egyptian and French delegations continue to scour the Mediterranean for the wreckage, and, God-willing, any survivors. After seeing the breaking news that morning, I began to worry for my family. My leaving the country for three months was already hard enough on them, but this breaking news was a little too close for comfort and undoubtedly going to make it even worse. I decided to bring it up to my mother to see if there was anything I could do to alleviate the stress. But the response she gave me was far more alleviating than anything I could have offered in return; my mother told me about how her mother used to always say that worry was a wasted emotion. I found this maxim especially powerful, and here’s why:
There’s no beating around the bush... The world can be a scary place. Over the past few months, I had grown used to the raised eyebrows and mildly disapproving looks from people upon sharing my upcoming travel plans with the Lumos fellowship. In an effort to redeem Morocco, I tried my best to understand their perspectives in hopes that I could respond in ways that would inspire confidence and curiosity in them to see Morocco beyond presumptive impressions. Now let me be clear, I don’t mean to say that these concerns aren’t valid: I only meant to encourage them to look beyond those concerns to also see a deeper understanding of what I am trying to accomplish by specifically choosing to go to a Middle Eastern country in Northern Africa: a true cross-section of culture that will supplement my education in a way no college course ever could. It saddens me to think that anyone could misunderstand my intentions, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince everyone.
Nonetheless, the way I see it, we can spend our entire lives trying to hide from danger, but there’s almost a guarantee that no matter where we go, danger will still find us. This is why it is so important to accept that our fate in this world is simply not ours to decide. We cannot see the future; we can only make the best of the present. And with that being said, I would personally hate to let fear prevent me from seeking the true beauty to be found throughout the world. So as I myself prepare to fly in and out of CDG in just a few hours, I find peace in the overarching uncertainty of life. I have no idea what lies ahead: not in Morocco, nor anywhere else. But what is certain is that worrying will change nothing, so I believe it better to focus my energy on things that absolutely will make a change... such as the honest pursuit of newfound cultural understanding.
And with that being said, T-minus 24 hours until I land in Rabat and begin my project abroad! I’ll catch you guys on the other side of the Atlantic!