Fall Break 2014

From the day I got to Allegheny College, Fall Break has always been something I had been looking forward to. It seemed quite far away and the fact that it is already over is kind of scary. However, up until last Wednesday, I still did not know for sure what I was doing for said break! The main reason for that is because there were some booking problems with the place we were going to stay in. But eventually, everything unfolded and I had somewhat a plan: I was going to take an overnight bus to Chicago, spend a few days there with some of my closest friends who are also on exchange programs in the US, and come back to little Meadville. In fact that was all I knew! Without further ado, these are the events of my Fall Break!

After spending the night on a bus from Pittsburgh, PA, I was picked up from the Greyhound station in Chicago by my friend Safae who was already on the her before last day in the Windy City. Not only did we get to reunite after about 3 months, she greeted me with coffee!! After managing to get a hold of my other friend Amal, Safae dropped me off in Navy Pier where I was set to meet the West Virginia University exchange students with whom I would spend the following 3 days.

The Chicago skyline from Navy Pier!

The Chicago skyline from Navy Pier!


We did not spend too much time in Navy Pier before deciding to make our way to Millennium Park. I honestly cannot even remember how much we walked because it feels like that is all I spent my break doing! Our first stop in the Park was Wrigley Square. We then moved on to Cloud Gate (Of course!) before making our way to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the BP Pedestrian Bridge, and finally the Crown Fountain.

Wrigley Square Credits: Amal Bouguerch

Wrigley Square.  If you are wondering, this is what I look like after a night on a bus! Credits: Amal Bouguerch

Amal and I being the adorable people we are.

Amal and I being the adorable people we are.

The center of the Bean.

The center of the Bean.

Little kids under the Bean.

Little kids under the Bean.

Chicago getting ready for the Bank of American Chicago Marathon!  The picture was taken from the BP serpentine bridge.

Chicago getting ready for the Bank of American Chicago Marathon!
The picture was taken from the BP serpentine bridge.

After an hour or so in Millennium Park, it was time to head over to Grant Park. Again, we walked there, and this time Amal and I had a great time singing French songs along the way. We really missed being in Choir together! Since we were walking on the same streets the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was going to take place in the next day, there were sound installations everywhere and music was playing almost throughout the whole way. A lot of random dance sessions took place. It was almost as if we were in a 1980’s teenage movie!

The wonderful people I spent my Fall Break with. Also know as Kappa Kappa Unicorn. F-t-B, L-t-R: Dani, Ramon, Pedro, Amal, Fran, Hamza, Jack, and Guille!

The wonderful people I spent my Fall Break with. Also know as Kappa Kappa Unicorn.
F-t-B, L-t-R: Dani, Ramon, Pedro, Amal, Fran, Hamza, Jack, and Guille!

After spending sometime in Grant Park, we started to make our way towards the Northerly Island general area. That was when we split up into two groups. The first one went to the Field Museum, while the second bigger group went past the aquarium and planetarium towards the Lake Michigan shore.

The Chicago Skyline from near the Adler Planetarium.

The Chicago Skyline from near the Adler Planetarium.

Northerly Island Credits: Francisco Hueto

Northerly Island
Credits: Francisco Hueto

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My feet really did enjoy the cold water of Lake Michigan.

By the time we were done enjoying the beach, everyone had started to feel too hungry to function since it was already late afternoon. We decided to head back to the city and look for a place to eat. After that, we met up with the group who had gone to the museum and we walked around the city some more. The next “attraction” we went to was the U.S. Route 66 plaque that marks the beginning of the famous road. It is safe to say some (most) of us were underwhelmed by it.

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U.S. Route 66

After about another hour of walking, we decided to go back to the house which was about a 25 minute ride on the transit. Amal and I got ready and Safae and her friends (all three of them are exchange students in University of Dayton, OH) picked us up for a much-needed girls’ night out in the city. I guess the highlight of that would have to be us getting photobombed by a stranger as we were taking a selfie!

The next morning, we made it to town around 11 am and went to Willis Tower. I may not be a fan of tourist attractions of the kind, but I have to say I did enjoy the tower! For lunch, we could not skip Giordano’s infamous deep dish pizza. I don’t have any pictures of that because I was too busy eating. My only regret is that we did not make in time to town to see the marathon take place.

Ceiling selfie on the 90 second long elevator ride to the 103rd floor of Willis Tower.

Ceiling selfie on the 90 second long elevator ride to the 103rd floor of Willis Tower.

Amal and I, being adorable, again. Credits: Hamza Lamzadri

Amal and I at the top of the world.
Credits: Hamza Lamzadri

Chicago from Willis Tower.

Chicago from Willis Tower.

You can see people gathered at what I believe is Grant Park for the after-Marathon party.

You can see people gathered at what I believe is Grant Park (not entirely sure) for the after-Marathon party.

After lunch, it was time to walk to the Magnificent Mile helping Dani look for a winter jacket. We ended up going into the Nike Store which was holding a day long party because of the marathon. Following that, we split into two groups again, and I was amongst the people who took the car and went to United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls (NBA) and the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL). Our second and last day in Chicago ended after a midnight walk around the neighbourhood where our house was and a late night run to McDonald’s.

Blackhawks statue in front of United Center. L-t-R: Ramon, Francisco, me, and Amal. Credits: Hamza Lamzadri.

Blackhawks statue in front of United Center.
L-t-R: Ramon, Francisco, me, and Amal.
Credits: Hamza Lamzadri.

One of the many theatres around town. I mainly took a picture of this one because of its name. There used to be a Cinema Palace in my hometown in Morocco.

One of the many theatres around town. I mainly took a picture of this one because of its name. There used to be a Cinema Palace in my hometown in Morocco.

Nothing like Chicago in Bokkeh.

Nothing like Chicago in Bokkeh.

Monday morning was when my initial plans shifted. Instead of spending one more day in Chicago alone, I decided to go on a road trip across 5 states with everyone else since they were all going back to West Virginia. We woke up quite early, packed up our things and hit the road at around 11 am. We only stopped for a significant amount of time once and it was in Detroit, MI. I have to say that when I learned that I would be spending a semester in the United States, the last place I expected to go see was Detroit. I guess the world works in mysterious ways!

In Detroit, we first checked out the Heidelberg Project, which is by far one of the creepiest and most intriguing things I have seen lately. It was almost as if we have stepped into a post-apocalyptic, dystopian near future where relics of people’s lives were assembled into weird statues. We then went to Michigan Central Station where we got a taste of one of the emblems of ruins photography. It was just as haunting as our previous stop. Finally, we walked around the Hart Plaza and Riverwalk before hitting the road again towards Morgantown, WV.

Heidelberg Project.

Heidelberg Project.

More of the Heidelberg Project.

More of the Heidelberg Project.

Michigan Central Station.

Michigan Central Station.

You can see the General Motors building in the back!

To me, this picture represents Detroit, MI. You can see the General Motors building in the back!

Hello Canada!

Hello Canada!

We made it to Morgantown around 1 am on Tuesday. After spending the morning with Amal trying to figure out how to get to the bus station, I got on my bus to Pittsburgh while she went back to her dorm room to study for a midterm. I was finally back in Meadville yesterday in the late afternoon.

The headwrap is my new way of dealing with the migraines!

The headwrap is my new way of dealing with the migraines! Credits: Amal Bouguerch.

I would say that I had a very successful Fall Break, especially considering I visited 2 more states than I was predicting! Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving since I am going Home to Olympia, WA!

PS. All pictures were taken by me unless stated otherwise. You can find HD version if you click on the pictures. Feel free to use them as long as you give credit!

Chicago!

It is 11:30 pm on a crisp Autumn night in Pittsburgh, PA and I have been sitting in the same spot at the Greyhound station for the past 2 hours with still one more to go.
This is how my oh-so-anticipated Fall Break starts
With a 10 hour long trip in prospect, I am taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi to download e-books for the road. Not only will I be delving into my subconsious during these long hours of alone time, but I guess I will also see how I feel about switching from paperform to digital form. I was once advised not to invest in books in paper format until I settle in a country where having the home library of my dreams is an easily attainable goal. Thus, I will be trying out the Kindle app for Android.

Now Reading: Bad Feminist Essays by Roxane Gay

PS. I know this is a ridiculously short post. I am basically trying to publish something that will leave everyone wanting more, including myself, so I have an incentive to blog more regularly!

Trip to Denmark!

As most of you know, I was in Denmark from August 3rd to August 8th for the Amnesty International Nordic Youth Conference. While 4 of the 6 days were full of Human Rights Activism and Advocacy, my first and last day were spent walking around Copenhagen! My trip to Denmark was not only my first time in a Nordic country but my first time in Europe all together. You can imagine my excitement!

When I first got to Copenhagen airport on Sunday afternoon, I was greeted by an Amnesty Youth Activist with whom I stayed for the night. After making our way to her house in Norrebro and having dinner. We went out to a little coffee shop in the area called Tjili Pop. It is actually a place I loved so much I see myself going there on a daily basis. On top of being decorated with chalk boards, typewriters, and old record players, they played the perfect playlist ever! The most striking thing about the city at that point (after basically spending 5 hours in CPH) would have to be the number of bikes I had seen. I am pretty sure I lost count after about an hour and before we even reached Atussa’s house.

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First view of Denmark as we leave the airport on a metro! Note: You can see all pictures in bigger sizes if you click on them!

One of my favourite pictures from the trip.

One of my favourite pictures from the trip.

The next morning we woke up quite early, got a copious breakfast and then headed to the bus station towards downtown Copenhagen. The plan was to drop off my bags at the Amnesty International office, since the conference started in the afternoon, and then go out and explore the city. Since it was raining cats and dogs on Monday morning, the only good picture I have is of Copenhagen from the 12th floor of Atussa’s building! We did however walk through all of Strøget (the shopping street in Copenhagen), we then went for a quick-lunch before heading to The Coffee Collective booth in Torvehallernekbh for some awesome lattes! This was the end of my time with Atussa as we had to say goodbye once we had reached the Amnesty office.

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The view from the 12th floor of Atussa’s building.

The Nordic Youth Conference was held in Sankt Helene in Tisvildeleje, Denmark. Despite having a really tight schedule most of us still managed to go to the beach Tuesday night after our last country group meeting. It was probably 10 pm, if not later, by the time we reached the beach. I took advantage of the low light to play around with the shutter speed on my camera. I even got a shot of the starry sky! It was not until around midnight that the last four of us made it back to the conference center. We then met up with some other people from the group, went on a mini “adventure” in the woods, before settling for a capitals game during which Karan enjoyed questioning Emil and I about all the capitals of the world.

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The beach on Tuesday night in Tisvildeleje. This might be one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken over the past year.

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The group walking in the water a bit after sunset.

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The ridiculously starry night sky!

I think that on Wednesday, everyone was so focused on the Public Action that the moment we got a free opening in our schedule we all went to the beach for some much deserved relax time. Again, I did not take as many pictures seeing as I was too busy swimming, but here are a couple from my Instagram account  (feel free to follow me @Kipepeo_Bee).

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The sea a few minutes before I went in!

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Some kind of Nordic totem poles that we found on the way to the beach. They were rather creepy the night before.

Thursday was definitely a bittersweet day since I had to say goodbye to the new friends I had made during the conference. Initially, I was supposed to check in at my hotel and then go to meet the people whose flights were not until later in the evening for an early dinner before they departed. However, due to some faulty communication, I could not get a hold of anyone and neither could they so I ended up going for a walk around town alone. Some of us did get to take a last selfie before leaving the bus, so at least there was that!

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One of the numerous street performers I stumbled upon in the shopping street. Definitely my favourite thing about Strøget.

Later that evening, I got in touch with some people from my university: Amine, who spent his summer studying at Copenhagen Business University, and Peter, my Danish friend who was an exchange student at AUI last Fall. They picked me up for my hotel and we spent the night walking around Copenhagen. I’m always a fan of the way cities look late at night/early in morning. Naturally, I’m really glad I got to see Copenhagen at 2 am. One of the highlights of my stay would have to be sitting on the dock near the Royal Danish Playhouse overlooking the dark still water and the illuminated Copenhagen Opera House.

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I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the lights but I only had my phone on me :(

For my last day in the Danish capital, I wanted to get a taste of the not-so-touristy Copenhagen. Peter picked me up again and after we dropped off my bags at his apartment, we went on one very long walk. I think we walked for at least four hours and it was not until I got back to Morocco and looked at a Copenhagen map that I finally realized the distance we covered.

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Copenhagen on Friday morning

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What Peter and I liked to call Hansel and Gretel’s house!

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Little bridge in the middle of foliage in one of the parks Peter and I went to.

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Some dew on a leaf just for the heck of it!

We spent most of our time in different parks around Frederiksberg. We then ended up somewhere near the old Carlsberg factory, which is now a visitor center. We finally crossed the city, got some coffee, went into a bookshop. and went to the King’s Garden where Rosenborg Castle is (The castle is used to store the crown jewels).

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Near the Carlsberg Visitor Center

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Statue from King’s Garden

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Rosenborg Castle with the Danish flag in the background.

After  lunch, Peter drove me to the airport where I had to wait for an hour and a half to check in (typical) and then fly on a plane full of hyperactive kids. Yay-not. Either way, I made it to the Casablanca airport around 10 pm and between the time it took to get my luggage and drive back to Kenitra, I was not really home until 1 am. All in all, my stay in Denmark was really enjoyable. Also, Copenhagen has definitely secured a spot on my TOP 5 cities I’ve been to so far. It is safe to say I will to go back some other day and see more of it!

PS: All pictures were taken with my Nikon D5000 or my phone and edited with Adobe Lightroom or the Instagram app. Please let me know if you want to use any!

The Nordic Youth Conference 2014

As a youth activist from Morocco, I got the chance to participate in Amnesty International’s Nordic Youth Conference in Denmark and I have to say that when I first confirmed my attendance, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Actually, I did not know much about the host country other than the fact that it is a monarchy and that they make great pastries. Now as I’m sitting on a plane next to a kid constantly speaking to himself, surrounded by crying babies and grumpy adults, I am realizing just how much I have learned in the short period I spent between Copenhagen and Tisvildeleje.

Skill sharing workshop! All the participants had to present an action they had done in the past or are planning to do in the future in less than 3 minutes. Credits: Nina Antonov

What are sexual and reproductive rights to you? During one of the introductory workshops of the campaign, we had to answer a question about how we relate to SRR as individuals. Credits: Klara Bengtsson

The Nordic Youth Conference this year was about Amnesty International’s campaign My Body My Rights with a focus on the discriminatory articles in the Penal Codes of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. As a young woman first and an activist from Morocco, I hold this cause really close to my heart. I could spend days talking about how changing each one of those articles would affect me or somebody around me in direct or indirect ways, but I will not bore you with that.

The flashmob/choreography team (minus Signe who is behind the camera) brainstorming plans A through Z of what to do during the Public Action. Credits: Signe Davidson

The flashmob/choreography team presenting the plans to the rest of the participants the evening before the Public Action. L-to-R: Signe, Waseem, Patrik, and myself. Credits: Maria Talvela

When I first joined Amnesty International a year ago as an intern, and later on as an activist/group founder/member of Youth Advisory Council, I could not even allow myself to fathom the possibility of me being sent to Denmark to represent my section. Being chosen was an honour that I had to live up to. Of course, this was neither my first AI related event, nor the first time I was in a setting where I was known as the only Moroccan, but this time it felt different. It took me a little while before I realized that we were all in the same place because we believe in the same ideals, we all aspire to live in a world where we are all equal, yet we show it in different ways. Some choose to wear statement shoelaces while others fetch the cinematographer in them to show support to the people who need it most. Or if you are like me, you channel your clothes making “talents” to manage to create 2 no-sew-wedding dresses out of linen in less than half an hour for a public action. My point is, we are all activists in our own way, we don’t have to all do the same exact thing, we don’t all have to go out to the streets and protest, a simple signature can sometimes make all the difference needed.

On the bus to Copenhagen on Day 3 for some presentations and the Public Action. Some singing of ABBA and Lion King songs was definitely in order! Credits: Maria Talvela

During my presentation on the My Body My Rights campaign in Morocco and the youth’s participation in it. It was a warm day in Copenhagen! Credits: Maria Talvela

The NYC also helped me really understand the International  side of the organization. I have often found myself thinking that I was the only one outraged by all the wrong things going on around me. Working with Amnesty International initially helped me understand I was far from being alone in my country. But then again, I still sometimes felt like we were just a minority who truly care about Human Rights. That was until this conference where I saw that no matter where we are from, we are affected by the same kind of issues and problems just as much as the person on the opposite side of the Earth. Seeing so many people from Nordic countries take real interest in the state of sexual and reproductive rights in North Africa is not only refreshing but a good omen as well! It is a true testimony of how the most important thing is not our nationality, sexuality, gender, or age, but rather the simple fact that we are HUMAN!

In the process of making a “wedding dress” with the help of Emil and Signe (not pictured) for our public actions in Copenhagen on the 3rd day of the conference. Credits: Klara Bengtsson

Getting the flags of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria as target countries of the My Body My Rights campaign painted on my arm for the public action by Danny. Credits: Klara Bengtsson

 The amount of learned lessons I am taking back home with me is unimaginable. It is the conviction that I want to do this forever. I want to advocate for the causes close to my heart and make a job out of it. I want to keep on using a framework that not only helps make a difference, but also helps contain the fire within me. For the longest time, I was a dormant volcano, full of fury, indignation, and wrath within and ridiculously motionless from the outside. Amnesty International in general and the Nordic Youth Conference in particular have taught me that it is okay to be mad at the world as long as you are proactive about it! Even when that means letting the lava out in the form of what seems like endless streams of tears.

The wedding taking place in Nyhavn in Copenhagen as part of our Public Action on Wednesday. The objective was to attract people and get them to sign petitions to the governments of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria urging them to change discriminatory laws in their penal codes. Credits: Klara Bentsson

While writing this, Charlie’s Last Letter from The Perks of Being a Wallflower came up on my playlist. Somehow a couple of sentences in it are so perfect fitting that I am sitting here on this plane with a little tear in the corner of my eye and a lopsided grin on my face. For me, the realization of all of the things I learned during the NYC was not while going on a drive and listening to a special song. It was while sitting on a concrete wall, overlooking the ocean at midnight, in almost complete darkness. The bright half-moon reflecting itself on the waters while peeking through the clouds. In a way, it was the perfect example of how important it is to always look for the light, even when it is not right in front of us, blatantly staring at us and drawing us towards it. Those are the real quests worth taking.

A group picture with the huge puzzle we are proud of! Credits: Johannes Haugen-Kossmann

A group picture with the huge puzzle we are proud of!
Credits: Johannes Haugen-Kossmann

Lost

“Every man at some point is going to lose a battle. He is going to fight, and he is going to lose. But what makes him a man is that midst that battle, he does not lose himself.”

You cringe at the gender exclusiveness, yet you know these words ring a bell of sorts.

You have always thought of yourself as strong. You always achieve everything you set yourself to, you hold on to everything as if your life depended on it, and you care so much it sometimes hurts. But when you hear that sentence, when Coach Taylor whisper-yells it at the Panthers during half-time, you realize your definition of strength is far from being right.

You know what? Forget all of that. Scratch all of it. I tried to write in second person, sticking to that writing style that allows me to connect with the readers but it is not working, not this time. Everything racing through my mind right now is too personal for me to be so detached from it in such a way.

You know when you hear something and everything just clicks? It happened to me with that sentence. I spent days trying to figure out why is it so easy to relate to? Why does it hit home in such a way?

It was at 4 a.m. As I was racing through my studying session before birds start chirping and the sun rising. It hit me. Just like that.

I fought, and midst the battle, I lost myself.

Going back on the events of that battle, I can see how in denial I was. I was naive, lost, broken, and holding on with all my might to something that I never had. I thought I was as true to myself as I possibly could, while in reality, it was the most Out of Character chapter of my life. It almost is as bad as some poorly written fanfiction that you decide to read just to kill time. I had failed myself in ways I did not even know possible. The worst part is I kept denying it. I did such a good job with the denial that it took me a whole freaking year to actually accept it. I was simply infatuated with a person, in love with an idea.

My inability to even fathom the raging storm inside me into coherent sentences only adds up to the emptiness eating up on me. I have been so terrified of losing my battles and failing at everything I do that I did not think I was losing myself slowly.

I have fought and lost, and I have not forgiven myself for that yet.

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Allow yourself to feel.

Allow yourself to immerse thyself in the depth of your emotions.

Allow yourself to feel as complexe as can be.

Allow yourself to feel as superficial as possible.

Allow yourself to feel bad if you want to.

Allow yourself to think highly of yourself. You are radiant as the sun. Always.

Allow yourself to put high standards for everything.

Allow yourself a little bit of pride and a lot of ambition.

Allow yourself to feel for imaginary characters. We both know they are not imaginary in the now.

Allow yourself to cry, for not a single reason in the world. It helps. I promise.

Allow yourself to crave human attention and touch.

Allow yourself to be free as the wind. Stand at the edge of all things.

Allow yourself to lose your breathe for the smallest things, for their size does not really matter.

Allow yourself to feel alive. Allow yourself to feel numb.

Allow yourself to be in control.

Allow yourself to let it all go.

Know you are not a right or wrong, yes or no creature. You are a ball of rubberbands forever intertwined. A multilayered onion with a soft skin. Allow yourself to dwell on that. Allow yourself to do all that because you can. Because you deserve it.

Joss Stone at Jazzablanca – The Concert of a Lifetime

Anyone who is friends with me or has any remote contact with me through social media (mainly Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) probably knows by now that I went to Joss Stone’s concert last night.

As the opening gig of both Jazzablanca and the Joss Stone Total World Tour, the British lady held a concert last night (Saturday, March 29th, 2014) in Casablanca. To say it was my favourite concert ever would be an understatement!

The ‘shitty phone camera’ quality picture I took because of course I forgot to take my camera with me!

My dad, sister, family friends and I headed to Casablanca around 6pm and were at the concert venue around 7:30 pm (some 1h30 before the start of the show) after waiting in line in a small breeze and some cold, we had access to the actual concert room around 8:30 pm and the actual concert started sometime around 9:15. Let me just say it was really worth the wait!!
In a long sleek blue dress and her usual bare feet, Joss opened the gig with none other than The Chokin’ Kind a slow song after which she brought the whole room to their feet covering different songs from her repertoire. With her joyful persona on stage, she managed to take everyone with her on a musical journey. From You Had Me to Right to Be Wrong not forgetting an iconic cover of Janis Joplin’s Little Piece of my Heart , Joss Stone managed to entrance the whole audience and I for one could not sit down throughout the whole thing!

The other songs she performed (not in order and sorry if I forgot any one):

 Put Your Hand on Me/Baby Baby Baby medley, 
Big Ol’ Game,
Fell In Love with a Boy,
Jet Lag,
Less is More, 
Stoned Out of My Mind,
sideways Shuffle
(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People
While You’re Out Looking for Sugar
Teardrops
The Love We Had
 However, my absolute favourite moment of the night would have to be, without contest, the duo between Joss and the Moroccan Oum. The two ladies sang Stone’s Newborn and I, naturally, cried! I later on tweeted about it and my tweet was favourited and retweeted by Oum herself. Yet another reason for me to fangirl about last night!

Joss Stone and Oum performing Newborn on stage! Credits: Mo Styles

We could feel the concert coming to an end but Joss started singing snippets of some songs a capella, like This Is a Man’s World and Snakes and Ladders before her unofficial final song. She closed with Right to be Wrong changing the last line to “Don’t you leave me alone!”

The whole audience was standing on their feet, clapping as loud as possible before Joss came back on stage for an encore with Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now. Not before she jokingly scolded us a little and made the audience promise to go to sleep right after.

Credits: Mo Styles

All in all, it is easy to say that this was my favourite concert so far. I don’t think I sat down throughout the whole concert, or shut up for the matter! That was the first time I went to a concert and knew the lyrics to every single song. Good thing I was almost front row and there were no people in front of me that I might have/could have annoyed.

Credits: Mo Styles

It is safe to say I am currently going through post-concert-depression. Let’s just hope a video of Oum and Joss’s duet will end up on the internet because that kind of performance should be seen by the whole world!

Wonderfully Lost

Upon taking a part time job last semester and a few freelance things here and there, I decided that I wanted to spend my money on travelling. What better way to do that than show a group of at least 25 people around one of the oldest cities in the country.

After an alright first week of school, I decided to join a group of exchange and local students on a day trip to Fes. Seeing as I haven’t been in the old Medina in a very long time, I was as much of a tourist as people who were there for the first time but that did not bother me at all. I enjoyed the I’m kinda a tourist thingie and brought out my camera at every possible occasion.

Something about Old Medinas just screams Black and White to me.

Something about Old Medinas just screams Black and White to me. (I know it’s a bit out of focus, I still love it)

I am trying to think of one highlight of today and so many things just keep flashing in my head. From craming 20 people into an already packed bus to getting invited into a shop that apparently sells flying carpets (I swear I am not making this up, their tagline was “come in, we sell flying carpets”) not even forgetting an afternoon spent walking around the whole of Fes looking for old doors and gates to take pictures of. Today was full of a bunch of moments that made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt and I loved every single bit of it. Even the part where the Grand Taxi drivers at the taxi station started fighting (fists and all) about the fare they should make us pay. But hey! At least we made it back to campus in one piece!

Hands down, my favourite picture of the day

Hands down, my favourite picture of the day

 

Happiness

I am sure you have often come across quotes by some famous, or not so famous people, talking about happiness. I bet most of them say things like you are the master of your own happiness or that your happiness is only real when it is shared with others or things of the sort. I am one of the people who upon reading one of those sentences wrinkles her nose, laughs sarcastically and moves on to the next thing. The main reason for that is because I am cynical and pessimistic in almost all possible situations. I expect the worst from people and events in order to avoid being disappointed. I also try not to get people to have a certain image of me so as not to disappoint them! However, this year I decided I should maybe, just maybe, try to be a bit more optimistic and have a more positive outlook on life.

I was browsing through my Tumblr dash one evening when I found a rather interesting concept. It was some sort of positivity jar. Basically, all you had to do is write down one good thing that happens to you each day on a piece of paper and put it in a jar throughout a whole year. Eventually, you would read all those pieces of paper and reminisce on the good times you had over the past 365 days. Considering that I have a vivid memory and in a year I would most likely remember what I was doing tonight, I figured I could adopt the concept for my own purpose.

My Positivity Jar

My Positivity Jar 

I have started this on January 1st, and so far I have not skipped one day. Trust me, the fact that I have found at least one good thing to be happy about (yes, on certain days I was hesitating between different events during one day to write on that tiny piece of paper) is much of an achievement. Now, I am not going to say that I completely agree with the statements I spoke of above or that I will be putting them as my cover picture anytime soon. That is probably never going to happen. However, I will tell you that happiness can be anything. It might be hanging out with your best friend doing nothing but talking about random nonsense and enjoying each other’s company. It can also be a good morning text or even finding out that you are not as sick as you thought you were. Happiness can be anything from a word, a piece of cake or chocolate, to a sunset, or even and event. Happiness is what you make it to be. In Albus Dumbledore’s words: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”