On Leaving

Have you seen the new Aladdin?

Picture that city minus the magic and the ottoman architectural influences. That’s where I live.

Sort of…

I live in a city in North Africa sandwiched between the Mediterranean coast to the east, the Atlas mountains to the north, and the Sahara desert in the south. And I’m about to leave.

It’s weird. I’m so excited to go home to the familiarity of family meals, avocado toast, short-sleeve t-shirts, English bookstores, bubble tea, and Anglican services. But I’m definitely going to miss this. Why?, you ask.

Here’s why:

Now, it’s time to say goodbye. I need to find a friend with a luggage scale so I can start weighing my bags. I’ve been testing out past tense sentences in Arabic, wondering how to describe my time here. I’ve got a short list of projects to finish, people to see, and gifts to purchase.

I’m being kind of dramatic right now—after all, I’ve still got two weeks left. But transitions are always loaded and this is going to be a big one.

The other day, I was thinking about what I would say to my younger self as she was quitting her job and packing her bags at the end of last summer. Is there anything I could say to prepare her for what this year has been? Honestly, I haven’t come up with much. Life here is just something you learn by living it. So…

Dear younger me, it’s gonna be ok. You’ve got this. Don’t be scared.

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