Vanessa is senior theater major and writing minor.

Aid al-Adha is a big deal for Muslims worldwide. The holiday commemorates the ancient story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, God’s intervention, and ultimately, the sacrifice of a ram in the boy’s place.

Aid al-Adha is such a big deal that it’s a common name. Aid al-kbir means, blatantly, “big holiday.” Our SST unit had the opportunity to join in the festivities of this big holiday with our host families. It was, I suppose, a grand finale of sorts for the study portion of our SST adventure.

Big Holiday was a big bloody mess. My host dad slit the throat of two sheep and one goat next to the drain outside the bathroom. Within the morning, we were eating liver, and by suppertime we’d moved onto the head. The carcasses just hung from the ceiling, making getting to the squatty potty a tricky slide between bloody sheep and goat.

Maybe it was staring into the baby blue eyes of the goat pre-slaughter, maybe it was the freedom from class or the extra time to just sit around and eat sheep intestine all day — whatever it was, I was reminded again how disconnected life can be in the U.S.

Meat comes from a package in the deli section. Trash disappears when it’s put in a bin. Water comes out of the faucet when you lift the handle. Cell phones can call the people you miss. Homes are warm, and they get warmer with a slight turn of a dial or the push of a button. There is so much I often take for granted.

It’s a thought two months in the making, but somehow dodging carcasses provided a new level of awareness. I suppose it’s a cliche lesson often brought back by students on SST, but if the Moroccans can be as blatant to call a big holiday ‘big holiday,’ I feel no shame in restating the ‘big’ SST lessons well learned.