A lot of you might be wondering what I've been up to since then--and why I'm in Taipei instead of back in New York City. The truth is, I got to do all of the above and more--including some serious soul-searching. The more countries I saw, the more music I played, and the more people I met who had different stories and struggles, the more of the world I wanted to learn about and experience.
Most of all, the desire to leave an impact wherever I could--not just on the musical/artistic level, but on the societal level, became indelibly burned into my conscience, and as much as I longed to go back to New York, I knew it wasn't time until I figured out the next step in figuring out how to accomplish this.
So, this little chick drummer decided to try her luck in the big world of public affairs. First came the heart-wrenching decision not to return to Tunisia and instead expand my perspective from a totally different continent. Then came the dreaded GREs, followed by another transoceanic move, across the Pacific this time, to Taiwan. Daily 8AM Mandarin classes (as rewarding as it has been daunting). And of course, graduate school applications, a process that brought me to the furthest edges of my ontological threshold and back again!
Finally, 10 months later, I've been accepted into my dream school, Columbia University, in what has always been and will always be my dream metropolis--New York City. At the School for International and Public Affairs, I'm planning to study cultural diplomacy, non-profit management, and social activism in a global context. I hope to answer questions like: How do we ensure that artists continue to have places to live and work as the world urbanizes? How can we educate a new generation on the plurality of cultures and languages that confront us in a globalizing society? How can the arts be used as a tool for social advocacy? (It goes without saying, of course, that I'm planning to continue playing music the second I set foot on dry land. Some things don't change.)
I find it so fortuitous that this journey has led me back to where it all began. I've made so many amazing new friends throughout this entire process, and I have also seen how profound and unwavering my relationships are with my close friends and family, many of whom have supported me through some very difficult moments.
So there you have it: I'm coming home, everybody. You have no idea how excited I am to see you again. :)