Good sunny December afternoon y’all!
So when I wrote my most recent post, I was sitting on the beach in Algeria with my husband, and feeling really quite bitter and jaded about my living situation.
As I am writing this over the weekend, I am sitting in my nice beach-resort hotel in the Tunisia town of Hammamet. It is sunny outside, there is a lovely bathtub in my room and a covered swimming pool downstairs, and I got a great half-board deal. Needless to say, I am pretty darn comfortable.
Besides the nice little rest and material comfort, however, my trip to Tunisia has made me start to reflect on so much more.
When I wrote my last post, I was so depressed about the current situation in Algeria-the lack of government and structure, as well as the lack of many, many Islamic principles that I consider to be at the core of the religion.
I was also feeling a little unhappy about the situation in America: I used to feel safe there, and practice my religion much more freely and easily than I do over here, but now, after the elections, I am just not sure about that any more. Will I be safe? Will I be able to practice freely and without restriction like I used to?
Taking this little weekend trip to Tunisia made me remember that you can find good in anything, and that there are always two sides of the story.
Tunisia is a beautiful country, especially in the beach towns like Hammamet, and the nature on the drive from Algeria to Tunisia is especially stunning. The people here are, for the most part, so nice and welcoming, and I find that often they are willing to take the shirt off their back for you.
But there are things that I miss about Algeria now: I don’t hear the athaan here, and it is difficult to find another woman covered like I am. Because it is such a tourist-y area, you also have to be really careful about making sure that your food is 100% halal (my husband has found pork in his hotel food more than once, and it is not exactly difficult to get your hands on alcohol here). Plus the theft rate is pretty darn high, which means clutching my purse for dear life whenever I leave the hotel.
In short, staying here has made me appreciate the good things about Algeria.
And my stay in North Africa in general has made me appreciate all of the luxury that my lower-middle class family enjoys in America.
I think this was such a needed break for me, to get away from a familiar place and to really put my thoughts back into perspective. I guess that is why the Qur’an itself stresses the importance of travel:
“Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah, over all things, is competent.” Qur’an 29:20
Travel is such an amazing way to change your perspectives, and at the same time make you appreciate what you have. It is also such an amazing way to learn, especially when you travel to places that you are not comfortable in, or that you do not know well.
It is a way to expand your thinking and knowledge, and take in this beautiful world that God created just for you. And it is an excellent opportunity to remember your Creator. If He has done all of this, can we even imagine what else might be out there?
Anyhow, these are just some thoughts from me from Tunisia. I hope you are all enjoying the sweater-weather, and I hope everyone can find a little extra time to go take a trip somewhere; whether it be that holiday that you have been dreaming about forever, or just a day-trip to somewhere you have never visited before within your own city.