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About Smoke And Colors

All I try to do is to put as many colors as I can on the canvas every night.”
-Leslie Odom

I have been living abroad for the last two years of my life, meeting people from all over the world in terms of age, gender, social background, race, nationality, ethnicity, philosophy, religion and political affiliation. The amount I learned from them outweighs anything I could have been taught at school and university combined, and I consider this to be the greatest experience and advantage of going abroad. This does not mean that I do not miss my home whenever I get the chance, on the contrary; however, it does mean that I want to keep travelling around the globe and discovering new things and meeting more people.

“The world is a wonderful book and those who do not travel have only read one page.”
Saint Augustine

Believe me when I tell you that there is no such thing as too much traveling. There is always more to discover, and even when you feel that you have seen it all in a city, the simple fact of going back to that city during another time of the year will make you new things, and make you look at the same things under a different angle. For me, the most important aspect about traveling is the people whom you travel with, as well as those you will meet along the way. They are the ones that can and will turn this trip into an adventure of a lifetime.

Looking back on it all, I might forget an important amount of things I saw, but I will never forget those who were with me when I witnessed those things. The people I met on campus, in hostels, at parties, dinners, football games and so on. I have learned from all of them, mainly on being more open-minded to differences, questioning my own beliefs, discovering new music and traditions.

I also learned that at the end of the day, we are all humans, meaning we all have our weaknesses and bleed when we fall down. I started learning about other people’s difficulties related to where they come from, whether it is a wealthy family from Sweden or a small village in Burkina Faso. Truth be told, when meeting new people and getting to know more about them and who they truly are, we start to know ourselves better, based on our attitude and reactions to what they tell us.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in this world.”
Gustave Flaubert

Although I might occupy a tiny place in this world, I feel like the king of the world when I think of all the amazing adventures I went on with the people I met. I feel like a blank canvas turned into a masterpiece thanks to all the laughs and love received and given. I feel like a balloon about to explode in smoke and colors, coloring the gray parts of the world around me. I might still look the same, but that is not the case from the inside. The colors inside of me have changed. The perspectives are different now. And for that, I am more than grateful.

To the people I met from: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taïwan, Turkey, United States, Vietnam, Wales.

I tell you:

Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for the memories.
Thank you for everything you taught me.
Thank you for pushing me to take on new endeavors.

I aim to keep on coloring the lives of others, not with just my own set of colors, but with the colors that you have added to my life as well.

Until we meet again!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2020 from all of us at Change The Lens!


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