As odd as it seems, I became much closer to my great-aunt Nevin after her death than I had ever been when she was alive. In my childhood Nevin became increasingly sick with each visit; she disregarded our pleas to admit her into a nursing home, as she had never rested a day in her youth, and joked that she did not intend to start now. Her apartment reeked of antibacterial creams and scented candles, and it reminded me of a clean, dormant clam concealed deep under the seabed of Üsküdar—and cut off from the world.
Before I went to Africa, I had wildly false misconceptions of this continent. But my trip amended these false ideas that have derived from a life of privileged ignorance. I quickly learned that Africa is amazing and beautiful. More importantly, my journey showed me how big the world is and that it's okay to feel strange and different.