11 July 2015

Arles

It is 2 am. I am sitting outside under the most beautiful night sky I’ve ever seen. No city lights, no noise, no pollution, just countless stars, clean air and silence.
Our train back is at around 6, so we have to be up by 4 to pack and clean out the bungalow and check out. So of course, me being me, decided not to sleep. So here I am writing my mind out.

I just haven’t had enough of this place yet; it has been some of the best weeks of my life. How much I’ve seen and learnt cannot be put into words.
To come from a city where photography is not considered art, or is something respectful, to a city where photography is everything has been the best part of this trip. This whole city is based on photography, when you walk down the street 8 out of 10 of the people you pass by are photographers, or at least have passion for photography.
Arles is a small city in France, it is the place where “” emerged as an artist, as a photographer. He was the first person in the world to turn photography from something technical into art. And so this city’s roots were watered with photography and continue to be.

A week ago I got on the train with 5 girls and a guy. Tomorrow I get on a train with 6 friends I’ll never forget, no matter where life takes me.
We have learnt so much about each other and I know I’ve made friends for life.

Walking through the city, going around from one exhibition to the next I noticed I am the only Hijabi among thousands of people. And it really got me thinking. And although some people give you the ‘what the hell are you doing here’ look, most people smile widely, and it is the most heart warming thing. I have been smiled at in the streets often, but here I noticed it more, and their smiles were different. I honestly have never been so proud of being a Hijabi as much as I was this week, I fell in love with it even more than I loved it before. Being asked about it and explaining why I wear it for people who know nothing about it reminded me of how important it is to me, and I’m thankful for that. Cause when you do something everyday it turns to a habit, a routine. And I never want my Hijab to be that. I want to wear it everyday and remind myself of the things that let me do so.

On a final note, I am so thankful for this opportunity. It has been beautiful in all aspects. As sad I am that it is over, as excited I am for the future.

Until the next chapter.