One of the best things for me with planning and preparing and being on this trip was that I knew someone who had gone the year before and was going again. Having Cora, our TA, and a fellow employee at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, made the trip feel so much more comfortable and relaxed for me. I really enjoyed having her around to ask about the classes and material, to talk about random questions we had from the presentations we received from various representatives of the agricultural industry in Morocco, and to go see sites and talk about our day’s experiences. My favorite memory from this trip with Cora is being in the blueberry fields picking almost every blueberry we saw because they were so good. This trip gave me the opportunity to get to know someone I knew before but on an entirely different level and so much more than I had gathered from our just in passing interactions before. Her experience and lessons and input were invaluable to me on this journey.

The next topic, NEW! My favorite interaction of the entire trip was the very last one I had while in Morocco. I had just spent 7 hours in the airport waiting for my plane to get close so I could check in and go through security. After hours of waiting and a few naps in a random cafe, it was finally time to get my ticket and go through security. The issue was that there was a delay on the previous flight and they had to move our check in desk. There was lots and lots of confusion going on and a lot of lost souls. This is when I met my new friend, Yunes. Yunes, is from Agadir, Morocco and had never left the country and was about to embark on a journey far from home for the first time ever. He was nervous but excited. We spent the next 3 hours at the airport talking about the differences in our cultures and our goals and where we want to travel and our families and lives. He waited for me to get through security and walked to our gate with me and then after our flight waited outside the passport control in Lisbon to make sure I got in the right line to get home. I have never experienced this kind of care and friendliness from a stranger. Before we had gotten to our flight, we exchanged instagrams and still chat. Despite not being a planned part of the trip, and after everyone else had left, this was my favorite things that happened on the trip. I made a genuine connection with someone so incredibly different from me and he is an amazing friend that I hope to stay in touch with for many years to come and hopefully get to see again.