Monday, July 20, 2015

A Series of Firsts

By: Azeb
Azeb and Victor: First experience of danzon at the Zocolo

Lately my life has been a series of first time events. Starting from being the first in my family to graduate from High School to meeting my first Muslim-Mexican in Veracruz. I remember taking a trip to Eastern Washington University and thinking how I could never live in the “middle of nowhere.” I thought I’d feel so secluded and cut off from the rest of the world, and that the loneliness would lead to depression. Veracruz has shown me that the distractions I was holding on to mean nothing, that what matters more than the things I have and the places I want to go, is the quality of the people I interact with everyday.

Azeb and Zion at the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa
Being in Veracruz is the first time since I was in 5th grade that I completely forgot that I was Muslim in a way where I wasn’t constantly aware of uncomfortable and scared looks from others. I’m usually trying to make sure that others know I’m friendly and harmless by smiling and apologizing if I even do the slightest thing that might be taken offensively. I haven’t felt the need to do that in Veracruz. There’s no propaganda that has been constantly fed to them about how Muslims are “terrorists” and a threat to everyone. It’s refreshing to be able to start a conversation with someone without them having all these preconceived ideas of me. I don't feel like I have a badge that repels people from getting to know me. This also makes me want to make sure I interact fully and gracefully with everyone I meet because it’s probably the first and only time they’ll ever meet someone like me who is an African-American Muslim.

Visiting the Museo De Antropolog√≠a in Xalapa reminded me of why exactly I'm so attracted to studying film making and Anthropology. If I got paid to film, blog, and take photos of people and places from around the world I’d truly be happy in life. I’m so glad that I'm getting to experience Mexico first hand. It's the kind of experience I want to give people through my films. I want all the bullshit the media feeds us, in order to separate us, to deteriorate. For us to genuinely feel each other's presence. I can honestly say that this trip so far has been cleansing and just what I needed before I start the next foreign chapter in my life!

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