What Have I Learned?

Isabel Clarkin - Senegal


May 22, 2019

What have I learned?
I don’t have to keep being polite to men who are rude to me. There is often no need to be in a hurry. Energy and love are two of the most important qualities within my identity. Don’t always expect other people to be thinking the same way you are. Family can come in so many different forms. People really value my words, I’m a good storyteller, I enjoy speaking. Creme bisap is amazing, it’s made out of hibiscus. God is in everybody. I can overcome a lot. Losing weight feels worse than gaining weight. Just because people show you love in a form other than what you want in the moment, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. You can really float in the pink lake. Music is really important to me. Feminism is based around whether a woman has the ability to choose, not whether she’s modeling a certain stereotype. Wolof is peace. Stay aware of patience. There are 5 calls to prayer each day. Children are so bright and intelligent, so so important. Don’t feel shy while dancing. Greetings are important. Coconut trees have fronds sloping downwards while palm trees have fronds that spike upwards. Black is a good color to use while drawing, it’s just as bright as the others. There really is a true difference between want and need. Context is important. It’s okay to fall in love a lot, just be aware of your effects. Skin bleaching is common among Senegalese women; the belief that white skin is more beautiful than black skin is exemplified in so many aspects of modern society and it’s poisonous. There’s always so much more to something than just one single story. People will show up in your life at random times, different people will be good for you at different times, and it can be really surprising sometimes. Mango season begins in May. Papayas are ripe when they start turning yellow. You’ll miss random people at random times, and you should let yourself miss them. Let yourself feel what you feel. There’s so much power and healing in music. My mom loves me more than anybody. Eye contact is important. Possessiveness of your possessions is kind of ridiculous, it’s rare that those things matter more than the people holding them, sharing is good for everybody. Fruit is the absolute best gift to give or receive. It’s possible to live out a dream. I really don’t enjoy teaching English. If you throw a white sock up in the air it’ll attract bats. I really enjoy being outside, being on a farm, I don’t get tired of sunlight haha. I often tend to try and seek comfort from men. Women are really strong, really strong. Really beautiful, I’d never felt more like a woman than I did in Senegal. I enjoy sudoku, I miss basketball. The concept of time changes allllll all the time. Earbuds are one of my most valuable possessions. There’s always more to learn.

These are only a few examples of the things I’ve learned, I know that as time goes on I’ll recognize and remember even more things. I feel so fortunate to have been in an environment exposing me to so many new ideas. Senegal will always hold a very important place in my heart and mind. 

Isabel Clarkin