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Friday, July 15, 2011

Are you afraid of difference?


I was mobbed by spiders though they didn’t know,
they didn’t know because spiders don’t think
“Hey there’s lots of us,
maybe we can take on this giant beastly thing.”
They didn’t know because all they thought about
was how I was an enemy to them,
bigger than them

What’s the saying?
I could squash them like bugs?

Did you know I’m scared of spiders?
How pathetic am I to panic at the site of
those creatures?
Those little tiny creatures that would never hurt me,
or so says my friend Bob the arachnologist (arachnophile if you ask me),
“They are just misunderstood”
Right Bob...

Murder next door, and I’m afraid of spiders.
The flies took her life, and I’m afraid of spiders.
Spider genocide in the streets, and I’m afraid of spiders.

The mob dispersed and as one lone spider walked towards me
my defenses rose and my heart started to race.
Suddenly in a foreign accent he asked
“where is the toilet?”
I smiled and started to laugh.
No matter what language you speak,
You know how to ask for the bathroom.

Today I saw a spider eat a fly.
Today I saw a spider clinging for life
as the storm came.
I picked it up and brought it inside.
Made it dinner, had a chat, learned its story
Brought it back to life.

He told me, no one listens to us spiders,
we have no voice.
I told him, he had a beautiful voice,
it’s people who are too afraid to listen.

Guess they didn't think I was an enemy.
Guess all they wanted was a friend.


So while I was leaving Pisa packing up my things at my hostel, I realized that I lost my tickets that I ordered months before to go to Nice. Luckily, the train was running late so I had time to buy another ticket. However, once I got on the train I realized that it was not at all great that the train was delayed because I had a connecting train to catch, and there was only a 10-15 minute layover. Once we got to the connecting station, Ventimiglia, I saw that I had missed my train. It was the last train to Nice for the night, so I had to stay the night. But the interesting thing was that the second I got off the train there were swarms of people, cops, and news crews. It was crazy. There were over 200 people staying in the station with me waiting to get on the next train to France. I had no idea what was going on. To be honest I was a little scared for my life, my passport, and my identity. I mean the police were everywhere, and they were packing some serious firepower. And all the people around me were speaking a language I could not recognize.

About an hour into being stuck there, I learned from another student who was traveling that all the people were refugees from Tunisia. After hearing that I freaked. I didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of refugees. What if they want to hurt me, take my passport, kidnap me for ransom? There were so many thoughts going into my head. Then suddenly someone walked up to me and asked if I had a cigarette. I said no. I sat there after that and thought to myself, well that went fine. Then I looked around and thought no one is trying to kill me or anything like that. I felt foolish. The looks on their faces said it all. All they wanted to do was get somewhere safe. They ran away from home and were as much a foreigner as I was. They were just as scared as I was. Scared they may not get into France, scared they may have to go back to the country they left to find a better life, and scared that they may never see their families again (there were only men). It was such an experience for me. I often regret not going up to one of them and asking them what they were doing. I don’t know if any of them spoke English, but I should have tried. I should have learned their story. Because after reflecting I now see that they are more than just refugees, they are people, with husbands, wife, mothers, father, jobs, and lives that go far beyond the refugee part. But even without talking to them it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

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