A December to Remember (11/25/2011)

People become who they are from their experiences.  Whether it’s a job, friends, family, or traveling.  Traveling overseas is something I have always wanted to do, but never had the chance to.

Whenever someone would ask me if I ever traveled outside of the United States, I would always respond with, “Does Canada count?”

And now when December rolls around, I will no longer have to say that.

After waiting years and years, I’m finally going to visit Libya – which has been recently liberated from the 42-year-old dictatorship.

Throughout the Libyan revolution, I caught glimpses of Libya on the news and I just can’t imagine what it’ll feel like to finally be able to see it with my own eyes.

As strange as it may sound, but I am glad that I haven’t gone to Libya before, because it was never free before.  I think the fact that it is now a country free from brutality makes it that much more amazing.

Although the country is undergoing reconstruction and attempting to get back to their normal day-to-day lives, it is still going to be a life changing experience to be able to see the country after its revolution.

To be able to stand in “Martyr’s square” and to visit the prison where Gaddafi committed one of his many crimes – the massacre of 1200 political prisoners in just 3 hours – was unimaginable for me a couple of months ago, but now it’s a reality.

My parents haven’t been back to Libya for 32 years, and I haven’t seen my grandfather for 20 years.  My mother’s parents have both passed and I never got the chance to meet them, and my father’s mother just passed away last year.

All I’ve heard of Libya is the beautiful beaches, the ancient Roman ruins in Sabratha, the amazing tuna, and the joy of seeing your entire family.  But it doesn’t end there with the good things – there is always the negative side to everything.

And in the case of Libya, people have said that the driving is horrible (seeing as they have no traffic laws or traffic lights for that matter), and there is a slight chance that your family will trick you into eating camel meat (yikes).

So as you can imagine I’m having mixed feelings about this trip.  I’m definitely excited to go there’s no doubt about that.  But my nerves take the best of me knowing that I have to be in a plane for 10+ hours.

That’s not the only thing that worries me, but the fact that I will be away from 24/7 internet access and my cell phone is on my mind as well.  As pathetic as that may sound.

I’m hoping my visit to Libya will be an experience I’ll never forget.  I look forward to learning a lot more about my culture, and finally meeting the rest of my family.

Experiences ultimately shape who we become.  This experience will help me grow as a writer, I feel like it will give me a different perspective and allow me to see life differently.

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