The summer before sophomore year was a pivotal point in my teenage life. Our family trip to Morocco and Spain opened my eyes to the wonderful secrets God has created around the world just waiting to be seen by my ready and receiving eyes.
Morocco exposed me to a culture I had never imagined. Veiled women in Marrakech, wild monkeys in Tangier, and the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca intrigued me to learn more about the history of this wonderful country. The bright colors and delectable smells told me more about the traditions than a human voice would ever be able to. I became absorbed in the Moroccan and European way of life of enjoying the company you are surrounded by. Dinner often continued past midnight as we reminisced on our day relaxing at the beach, visiting historical sites, or walking through the markets. After spending two weeks in Morocco, my family and I took a seven-hour train ride from Casablanca to Tangier where we hopped on a ferry and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain.
Our plan was to rent a car and city-hop through Southern Spain. We first stayed in a quaint little town named Rhonda. My breath was stolen right out of my lungs as I saw the magnificent sites. Being in that romantic town brought me so close to something much bigger than myself. The olive and sunflower-filled gorge kissed by the light of the falling sun continues to fill my eyes with tears today. Such splendor used to only reside in my dreams. Standing on the ledge of this ancient city, I realized the wonders of creation and the individuality in everything the hands of God formed.
In Seville we visited the striking Alhambra castle. With hundreds of running fountains and thousands of mosaics surrounding me, it was easy to imagine myself living there in the 14th century. One room captured my heart the most; it had a painted ceiling to look exactly like the night sky. At first glance my eyes were tricked into thinking there was no roof and that I was starring into the heavens.
Visiting Spain for a week and then going back to Morocco was difficult. My heart was romanced by the pure beauty in Spain. Plus, our trip back was not at smooth as we hoped. On the ferry we failed to hear the announcement to get out passports stamped. We then missed our train ride home, and Tangier is not a safe place to be at night. We found a taxi to drive us back to Casablanca, and I will never forget that ride as long as I live. Being a fourteen-year-old girl, I was very frightened to drive with a strange man in a strange country, yet I had no choice. My mom was finally able to allay my fears when she told me to look for shooting-stars. God showed me so many that night I couldn’t even count them all. Then, half way through the ride, I looked out the window and saw the most glorious site. The moon was rising over the Sahara Desert with a vibrant orange glow. If we had caught the train, I never would have been able to experience such an amazing gift.
I will be forever grateful to my mother who made it possible for us to take such an eye-opening trip. Being young and traveling made me more accepting of other cultures and other ways of life. The world is my backyard and I will forever play in it.
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