I Catch Feelings, not Flights – Anna Cunningham

Thomas the Train

Thomas the Train

Stomach: knotted. Skin: dried out and a little burnt. Body: dehydrated. A few days ago, it felt like I only had two short-circuited synapses left in my brain. Like Thomas the Train, it was time for me to leave.

I’m still ready to go, but after a bittersweet (think mint-that’s-been-left-too-long-in-the-tea kind of bittersweet) graduation and a laidback evening, I also feel more refreshed, not to mention more emotional. Murphy’s Law contributes a little bit to these feelings: my flight is delayed until tomorrow at 7 AM. Another flight has been extremely delayed as well, and as I type this, I can hear a man’s voice barking at a Royal Air Maroc representative. I’m grateful that I’m not in that cramped office.

Fortunately, my extra time in the airport has introduced me to plenty of nice, unfrazzled people as well. There was the family from New York (two kids, the mom is from Morocco, the dad is a wedding entertainer) who reassured me everything would work out when they heard my flight was cancelled. Afterwards, one of the Royal Air Maroc agents printed my boarding pass without making me wait too long in line. Another passenger shared her table with me. More recently, I had a ten-minute conversation with a Kenyan woman who is also stuck here for the night. It was her first time in Morocco too. On some pseudo-intellectual level, my station at one of the four charging outlets in Casablanca Airport attracts so many different people that it reminds me of the old trade routes around the Arab Gulf. I suppose the frameworks of Tribal Modern can cross an entire continent.

I still feel some residual helplessness and panic after waiting more than an hour in four different lines. I have places to be! I have things to do! America is calling! My airport sleepover feels simultaneously fine and scary. At least the wifi here can numb any feelings of isolation – I’m a true millennial after all. Similar to many other things in Morocco, I have little control over this situation, so I have to accept my reality. Things will happen here, inshallah, God willing. If – or when – they don’t happen, that’s okay too, inshallah.

On some level, I bought into this mentality a little too well on this trip. My meals, my taxi drivers, my excursions, and almost everything else were always out of my control, so at times it felt like I had no control over anything, including my reactions. As I had to practice patience and visualizing my happy place today (it’s a silly, but effective technique), it felt empowering to realize that my philosophy of relinquishing control was flawed. There is more balance to the control/no-control dichotomy than I realized.

Dealing with the unexpected has been just as fun and exciting as it has felt defeating. Salat, Bailey, Molly, and I managed to hop on an early train to Casablanca because we were flexible. I took advantage of our less structured time in Tangier, so I poked around the Caves of Hercules. I still remember my delight when we accidentally discovered little tide pools outside of Rabat. These memories don’t change that I’m stranded in an airport across the Atlantic, but they certainly help.

I’ve got places to go, hard airport floors to sleep on, and even more unexpected, crazy adventures in the future. So… Yallah!

Took a Train to Morocco

Took a Train to Morocco

Band-Aid Phone

My Band-Aid Repaired, Cracked Screen Phone aka My Untrustworthy Companion

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