Archive for the ‘Kadie in Morocco’ Category

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Kadie: The final countdown

May 16, 2011

I have less than two weeks left. 

This [somewhat] sudden realization means about a billion and one things to me right now, but, the most important of which is that my return to the states is now “imminent” in status. So frighteningly close that I’m afraid if I blink I might miss out on the time I have left.

And that feeling has me reminiscing…I still remember my two-week countdown before LEAVING. I remember how stressed I was, trying to get everything done and fit everyone in to my schedule…I was leaving my home, my family, and all things familiar, for the complete unknown…and now, I’m back in those same shoes. I’m not ready to leave my “family” or my “home” here, and I’m not sure things back in Wisconsin will be as familiar to me now-or rather, in two weeks when I arrive-as they used to be. It’s an interesting concept, realizing that I’ve finally come full circle. Should make for quite the re-adjustment period? Good thing I’m getting so good at taking on any challenges life throws at me.

Luckily, I haven’t had much time to dwell on what will or will not be or come to pass in my very near future—I’ve been way too busy! Our academic schedules at ALIF are keeping on the go just as much as ever, and the amount of work looming between me and the end of my semester is enough to give me nightmares, but…somehow I’ve found a way to throw some fun in there too!

Last week, or…maybe it was the week before, ALIF put on a wonderful little Gnawa music concert for us all! Gnawa is a mix of sub-Saharan, Berber (Amazigh) and Sufi religious songs and rhythms—it combines dancing, in all its traditional forms, with a whole lot of head swinging and jumping about…sort of like acrobatics. The beats are strong and steady, and SO fun to dance to! We had a grand ol’ time! (Feel free to YouTube Gnawa music and you’ll get more of a feel for what I’m talking about, I took some video…but my computer and I are having a little bit of a tiff right now about uploading.)

And then, last week, one of the students from our program, Eric, had to leave and return back to the states a couple weeks early. THIS meant, of course, that we had to have a HUGE going away-fancy-dress-up Thai dinner. So we did. The food was AMAZING, but the company was even better…and it was sad to see one of us go so soon, and it made even more apparent how difficult it’s going to be when the rest of us need to say our goodbyes.


And then the very next day, my friend Liz and I were off to LONDON! (Yes, that’s right, I flew to London for the weekend…still completely astonishing how that’s possible). And after only a slight mishap with our tickets, we made it. Our first encounter after leaving the airport was with this wonderful Panamanian? Panamese? What ARE people from Panama called anyway? Either way, he was an Opera singer, and absolutely FASCINATING. It was such a random meeting, and quite late (our flight didn’t get in until almost midnight), and so refreshing. I’ve missed being completely comfortable in my language abilities. All the signs were in ENGLISH. All the menus were in ENGLISH. And everyone tried to speak to us in ENGLISH. It was kind of a nice little breath of not-so-clean, but familiar air. 


One of my favorite signs we found on the University of London campus. 🙂

But anywho, after chatting up the Opera star from Panama, and, consequentially, learning he would be performing on British national television next month, we made it to our hostel. Let me just go ahead and give a shout out to No. 8 Hostel in London. If you do decide to visit, you MUST stay there. They were so great, and I can’t give a high enough review. But more on that later.

For now, let me just say that our time in London was splendid, a perfect little vacation, and made me realize that I’ll HAVE to be going back. We did all the “touristy” things. Although finding Big Ben did take us longer than it should have…he can be quite the sneaky fellow. But, mainly, I just got really over-excited whenever I recognized something from the Harry Potter books and/or movies. (I went all the way to Kings Cross station JUST because of Harry Potter) Ha-ha, what can I say? I was loving the idea of being the same city that acts as the setting for bits and pieces of my favorite fantasy world.




Me! In front of St. Paul’s Cathedral!


The “Towers Bridge” and the Thames…breathtaking much?


Liz and I! We found him!


Liz and I, and small boy, in front of Buckingham Palace!


I get really excited about jumping pictures…so, naturally, I had to take one in front of the royal palace.

The weather was as to be expected, cold rainy, generally very grey. And, while this was upsetting to me at first, I realized that that’s exactly how London is SUPPOSED to be, and therefore I should be grateful that I get to experience it for what it truly is. And it certainly didn’t stop us from having a fantastic time. My ONLY complaint from the weekend was not getting a picture with those wonderfully colorful beefeater guards and their furry hats. Alas..next time. But, I stuck to my budget, had some perfectly-chilled (oh, how I miss ice…) pints, and met some quite fascinating people. (That would be why hostels are my fav way to travel!) There were the three French men that lived in the hostel full-time, whose accents were completely irresistible, and we had the best of conversations, about everything from musicians to economics, to Obama, to Napoleon. Then of course we met a, usually always in a slight state of drunkenness, red-haired Scottish man, who had a thick accent and kept referring to me as “lassie.” And one of my favorite new friends, Tony, the very old, yet somehow very, very-hip Malaysian man, who seemed to be one of the wisest people I’ve ever known. We got to know this little crowd, and leaving them after our short, four-day stay was a little bit sad. They really helped to make our weekend. 

But, ultimately, as I guess is the morale of this post’s story, all good things must come to an end. And, returning to Fes, in all its humidity and lack-of-traffic-rules glory did feel good. But now, it’s off to finish the homework I desperately tried to neglect all weekend, and this week is our LAST FULL WEEK OF CLASSES!!!!! Which, unfortunately, means all of my finals are next week already? And…I’m not anticipating them to be in any way easy. Wish me luck?

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Kadie: Photo montage/short updates

May 3, 2011

I will never cease to be amazed at some aspects of Moroccan culture. The Spring Break was AMAZING, and I was able to see some of the finest beaches Morocco’s Atlantic coast has to offer. (And I have the sun burns to prove it!) Upon our return home, we were welcomed back to Fes with all the comments from men in the street that we’d been missing all week. The harassment here seems never-ending for foreigners, even after we’ve been living here for two months, but at least we learned that it’s not the same everywhere in Morocco, and that the men in Fes seem to have a special talent for cat-calling. But, coming back to our new apartment and the familiarity that is Fes was refreshing to say the least. It felt good to come “home.”

Unfortunately, my roommate, Kellen, and I got pretty sick the day we returned, and so missed our first Monday of the new term to go to the doctor’s clinic. THAT was an experience. The one-room clinic had one exam table, and our “examination” consisted of the doc taking our temps, blood pressure, and then pressing on our stomachs REALLY hard. Then she diagnosed us with stomach/intestine infections. The whole process took about ten minutes. And now, we’ve been on medication for about a week. A little frightening? BUT we’re feeling much better, and I’ve learned that sometimes, trusting in the local culture and customs is really the best way to go. Besides, the man at the pharmacy, who gave us Moroccan Rotary Club pins, said she was the best doctor in town.

And then we were back in classes and back to the “grind.” Arabic is still kicking my butt, and our first test of this new term was on Friday. It’s been a cold and rainy week here, and one filled with somewhat sudden realizations that our time here is going to be ending all too soon. FIVE WEEKS before I am going to have to leave this home of mine and return to the states. The nerves are definitely starting to kick in. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things I miss about Wisconsin, but, I also know that returning won’t be easy. Good thing there are other Badgers here with me that I’ll be able to meet up with whenever I have a serious need for some Morocco-reminiscing!

One such experience that I’m sure we’ll be reliving many times – this last weekend’s trip to the “night club.” We were invited by a friend’s host brother to go to a party. So, after arriving at 5 in the evening, we were ushered in to one of the most legit night clubs I’ve ever seen…well, for being during the day. It was fun, and we danced and laughed and had a general good time—until they turned all the lights on and ushered everyone back out again at 8pm. Apparently, that’s just too late for Moroccans? We were a little stumped, but, afterwards we went out to a nice dinner and had a “girl’s night.” All in all it was a great first weekend back, until we decided to start our homework Sunday.

But I’m excited for the next few weeks! And I’m excited to make the most of everything Morocco has to offer while I still can.  It’s incredible to me that April is over, but looking back on it, I’ve got nothing but memories full of laughter and smiles and sunshine. Bring on May!

And here’s a whole chunk of photos I’ve been keeping from everyone for far too long! Enjoy!

My girls and I looking out at the Atlantic on an unscheduled stop during Spring Break!

Kellen and I dancing on the rocks!

The boys being dare-devils during Spring Break

Some of my fellow badgers and I at our Moroccan-themed end-of-first-term party.

Me with my birthday flowers from the “Brits!”

A shot of the beautifully-restored riad some of my fellow students live in-we hang out here a LOT.

Our apartment! Living room #1.

Living room #2!

Our kitchen!

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Kadie: Here’s to belly-dancing, eating snails, birthday weeks & a Good Rosé

April 9, 2011

So the smell of Jasmine is EVERYWHERE in the Medina these days, and it has made me come to realize that it is now spring here in Fes. Its April already, I’m not sure how that happened….but, as the changing weather and tree blossoms might be hinting, time never does stop or slow down.

Since my last post, I’ve had the most amazing experiences, with a few really rough days scattered in between. I guess, even when you are “living the dream” you can’t expect every day to be absolutely perfect? I suppose if they were, you would never appreciate them anyway. BUT some of the more perfect days were the ones spent in the Sahara Desert. We were able to spend an entire weekend gallivanting up and over sand dunes via camels! Let me tell YOU: riding Camels is HARD work! I was so sore afterwards…but it was also such a rewarding experience. My camel’s name, in case anyone is interested, was Petey. He did great, and he had a nose ring…which. was. AWESOME. After a couple hours of camel-riding to our camp, we were able to watch one of the better sunsets I’ve ever seen, and one of the most spectacular moon-rises. It was an interesting night, filled with a lot of clichés, but, something I’ve been realizing is sometimes, clichés aren’t so bad…and actually, sometimes, they make an experience all the better. So I clapped along with the “locals” who played music for us all night and made us tea, and I took all the touristy pictures on top of my camel, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

After such a weekend, it was almost inevitable that we would need a weekend to rest here in Fes. (Our weeks are so packed full of programming and classes and homework that no one gets the proper amount of sleep, so we’re always playing catch up on the weekends). Last weekend, a few of us traveled to Rabat (the capital). We had a relaxing few days of laying on the beach, (fully-clothed mind you, well, at least all the girls were), shopping and watching protests in front of the Parliamentary building from our hotel balcony. (No worries, everything here is still SUPER peaceful).

The girls at one of our Hefla Hefla Party Discos

Sunset in the desert

ME! on a camel!

And now, it’s our last week for our first term. My birthday is in coming up, and so are my finals, and then, our spring break! And then, it’s almost too painful to think about, my last six weeks in Fes! Its unreal how quickly the days are slipping by.

Speaking of my last six weeks, I, along with a friend of mine here, have decided a change of pace is in order for the next term. We’re going to be moving out of our homestays and moving in to our very own place here in the medina! I’m so excited about all the possibilities, cooking all our new favorite Moroccan dishes, inviting our friends over for tea, tanning on the rooftop terrace, shopping for all our weekly groceries, etc. Should make for even more fun experiences and surprises next term.

BUT before the next six-week session starts, I’ve got to make it til the end of this one. I’m a little nervous for my finals, not only because they’re on my birthday and the day after (and I’ve been known to have less than perfect concentration skills when I’m so excited) but also because a full college semester in six weeks equals a LOT of information to know, but I’m feeling okay about it for now. We’ll see if I’m singing the same tune come Friday afternoon?

And then, on Saturday, we’re setting out for our road-trip through Southern Morocco! The plan is to rent a car and see all we can/want to. Hopefully driving stick through Moroccan mountain roads is easier than it sounds?? I’m sure there will be too many stories to tell.

OH and if you’re wondering about the title to this post. Last week, this was an actual toast of ours at a party we had. YES I took belly-dancing lessons (they were awesome, and we have more planned!) and YES I ate a snail. (Mummy I still can’t believe I did it, like, I literally scooped it out of the shell and in to my mouth. I’m sad nobody caught it on film, because I realize that most who know me will NEVER believe me…but, trust me, I did it!) And we’ve already celebrated a few birthdays within our group, and mine is coming up! Along with my friend Jake! LOVE celebrating! And…well the last part is fairly self-explanatory? I’ll never turn down a good glass of wine.

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Kadie: Fassi familiarity

March 16, 2011

So somehow over the course of my first month here, Fes has become “home.” It has those aspects of certain familiarity that, upon returning after weekend away, just make me feel like I’m coming home. Its also everything I associate with my day-to-day routine, including the ever-stressful and ovewrwhelming class schedule. I know my medina streets, at least in and out of my little neighborhood, the rest of the medina is still a mystery, but the woman who owns the corner shop down the street from my house nods hellos of recognition to me now whenever I walk by, and the owner of the sweet shop outside the center we all study at welcomes us with smiles and ‘how are yous’ every day now. It is a phenomenon I’m beginning to get used to, when the “foreign” becomes the “familiar.” And I couldn’t be more in love with it. Of course, there is still too much to learn about this city and this country, and I don’t by any means claim to know evem a small fraction of the culture yet, but I do know that it already feels like home, that the roots I’ve laid down so far are going to be hard ones to rip out when its time for me to leave again.

And those roots I’m talking about aren’t just embedded in to this city and culture, but with my family and with all my fellow students as well. This last weekend some of us took a trip to Chefchaoun, which is “easily” accessed by a nice 4 hour long bus ride through the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. This little city is BEAUTIFUL and tucked away in the most picturesque of valleys. The air was noticeably cleaner, and the weather noticeably wetter, and the people noticeably far less concerned with our presence…except of course when they wanted to sell us “kif.” Kif and hash are EVERYWHERE in this region, and I’m guessing it was offered to us ohhh, 30 plus times over the course of the weekend. Its sad kind of, that this beautiful mountain village is being tainted by such a horrible industry. But, if one ignores all the hustlers, and the police always walking around trying to catch them, then Chaoun can be really fun.

The history of the town is fascinating, and I’m not going to attempt to summarize it here, as I’ll probably get some details wrong, but it has been inhabited and controlled by almost every group of people one can imagine in Northern Morocco, and it’s now famous because the Jewish immigrants that arrived in the 20th century decided to paint the ENITRE town blue. So, walking through the streets, its as if we were dropped in to someone’s technicolor daydream…so many shades of such perfect blues, all attempting to erase all worries of the rain and the cold, and open our eyes to how beautiful our surroundings were. Wandering the streets was impossible without a million and a half stops to take pictures. And when we found ourselves with a few hours without rain, hiking up the closest mountain was the surest way to be absolutely blown away by the most picturesque scenery I have ever encountered. I found myself, once again, extremely frustrated at how the pictures I was capturing on my camera just were NOT doing the real scenes justice. The hiking felt amazing, and the friends I was with made it that much better, and, as everyone who knows me would guess…seeing more of the world always puts me in a better mood. 🙂

So it is with such a mindset that I returned “home.” And now, not even today’s exam can get me down…this next weekend we’re headed south, to the Sahara….and this one is sure to be EPIC.  Can I get three cheers for seeing the world?? Hip hip HOORAY! Hip hip Hooray! Hip hip hooray!! 🙂

Liz and I next to some of the waterfalls we encountered on our way up the mountain trails!

Soooooo BLUE!


ME! In front of a panoramic view of Chefchaoun below…

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Kadie: Welcome to my Moroccan life

March 11, 2011

So I lived through the first week of classes! (This is quite the triumph, because somewhere around Wednesday afternoon/Thursday morning, I really wasn’t sure I would). So, I am now one week in to my first six-week term here at the Arabic Language Institute of Fes, and I’ve been living with my family now for about a week and a half. I’ve learned SO MUCH so far, both in terms of Arabic language, and the Moroccan culture… so that gives me a lot of hope for the level I might be at when we get to the end of this semester.

Everything with my host family is still going splendidly! Forgive me, in advance, but I NEED to rant about the FOOD!! The meals are AMAZING… breakfast is usually pretty simple—just some fresh bread with various spreads to put on it. (Butter, apricot jam, chocolate spread, etc.) And lunch is usually huge and hearty, and traditionally the biggest meal of the day. I come home almost every day for lunch in between classes, and on the days where my break isn’t really long enough to warrant the commute, my host mom packs me a sandwich! And dinner is usually eaten really late…my family eats around 9pm, and it’s generally pretty light. Anyway…some of my favorite dishes so far? EVERY kind of soup my host mother has made so far. I’ve had more soup in the last week than I think I’ve had in the last year…it’s a fairly common dinner…and I’ve also had some of the most amazing couscous in the world. OH and one night for dinner, we had this sweet pasta dish…like egg noodles with almonds and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. I KNOW it sounds weird…but it was good. Oh and we’ve had this little side dish with lunch a few times…it’s like chopped/pureed carrots in orange juice with cinnamon. Again…sounds kind of strange, but soooooo good. I love how veggie-friendly my diet has become here—definitely a good thing! We also eat chicken quite a bit…and its always absolutely delicious…I just have to remind myself not to think about the souq we bought it from.

SIDENOTE: I went to the souq (traditional market) with my host mom and another girl on the program today (who is staying with my host-aunt and uncle…we’re cousins!) We went to the one little corner store to get our weekly stock of chicken, and I watched my host mom pick out which one she wanted (it was alive and kicking and squawking) and when we returned about an hour later to pick it up, it was all wrapped up and cleaned, packaged and ready to go. Ummmm yea. I guess it’s a good thing I know its fresh??

My host family has also realized that I don’t eat fish. They tried serving it one day last week, and I tried eating it, I really did…but to no avail. So now they know, and I guess things are better that way. They haven’t yet tried to make me eat beef…for which I’m grateful…I’m not very good at pretending to like certain things…

Sorry for the ranting on food…but meals are a huge family deal here, and so they’ve come to be quite the event in my household, especially as so many of the meals are so different than anything I’m used to. I can tell you one thing though, after being on my own for so long, and cooking for myself all of last semester (PS: I cannot cook…ask anyone), it is wonderful to have home-cooked meals every day again. I know this will be one of the things I miss most when I’m gone…

But besides the food in my life…everything else is going well too! Classes, as you might have assumed from my description of my last week above, are hard. My brain is constantly swimming with Arabic, Arabic and MORE Arabic. Most of my day is gone about in Arabic…and it’s hard, but rewarding at the same time. It’s a lot more class hours per week than I’m used to, and a lot more homework than I’ve had in a long time, but I’m adjusting. I’m being challenged again, which, in my opinion, is never a bad thing. I just hope I can keep up with it all. When we were walking through the souq this morning, and I was looking around, I realized for the umpteenth time how lucky I am to be living this life. I became conscious of just how crazy this ride has been. Sometimes, I can’t believe I’ve made it this far…I can’t believe I’ve been able to do it all…and then sometimes, I don’t think I’ve done nearly enough. It’s an interesting feeling…and one that seems to hit me at the strangest of times…like when I’m weaving my way through a crowded souq street, dodging yells of “Andik!” (Watch out!) And trying to avoid the heavy-laden carts, and occasionally donkeys, and giant vans and trucks that think they can squeeze their way through the throngs of people going about their weekly shopping. It all keeps reminding me of something my mother said to me numerous times while she was here…it feels like a movie. My life…sometimes…feels like a movie, like there’s no possible way it can be real.

Another small side note-yesterday we did a girls day at the hamman, (the local public bathhouse) and my host mother took us. I’m grateful she was there to show us what all to do, and to explain to us how much it should cost, so next time, when we brave it on our own, we’ll be pros! I think we might turn it in to a weekly event? Something about sitting there in the hot, steamy room just chatting for however long we please, as we go about getting really squeaky clean is just so much FUN. What a wonderful part of ancient Arab life…even if it is a bit awkward to our American-cultural senses at first.

For the rest of the weekend, I believe some serious shopping (I am so in love with the scarves and the traditional dresses here…I must have them!) and some serious tudying are in order. And next weekend I think we might try to organize a group trip somewhere? Get away for the weekend? Not sure yet…oh and I’m still taking suggestions for where to go for our spring break!!! SO if anyone has any, let me know!

And here are some more random samples of pictures….

The girls in front of the Royal Palace in Fes el-Jdid


Donkey love.


Shoooooeeeeessss!


This is our nice little study center in the Medina..and where I sit to upload all my blog posts!


The garden at said study center…

I prepared a presentation for one of my classes last week on the protests going on in Madison (we needed to use new vocabulary, which, coincidentally, includes such words one would use concerning a protest)…anyway, hope that democracy is still alive and well back home. It’s been so great being able to talk about it with some fellow badgers who are here (there’s five of us!). After an entire semester of being the ONLY Midwesterner around, it’s nice to no longer be the odd one out?

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Kadie: Life in Morocco!

March 6, 2011

I’m now all settled in with my new family, and let me tell YOU– it was so nice to FINALLY unpack! My room here is HUGE, and it has two beds in it…apparently this is because they have hosted two students at once before. Actually, it seems they’ve hosted quite a bit in the past, as there are all sorts of books and calendars and coffee mugs from various places decorating the modest apartment. Anyway, there is my host mother, this sweet, little Arab woman who dotes on me way more than is necessary. And I have an 18-year old host brother, who is still a bit shy, and he’s only ever asked me three direct questions…but I think he’s warming up to me? Neither one of them speaks any English…so that’s been fun…haha. Luckily, my Arabic skills are getting me pretty far, or at least they have been since I moved in. There’s still quite a bit of hand gesturing and mumbling about, but we make do. My would-be host-father passed away six years ago now, and as we were comparing stories on the night I moved in, I realized how very similar this family in Fes is to my own back in Wisconsin. Ironic much? I feel like I’m living in what would be the equivalent of the exact counter part of my family, only halfway across the world. And, while the similarities are striking, they all add up to even further proof that I am exactly where I should be right now. I feel so at home here already and while I have no idea how the rest of the semester will turn out, I know that being here, with this family, is the right thing for me right now. I couldn’t be more positive.

As far as our home goes…there’s no internet, which, sadly, has been really difficult to get used to for me.  There’s also no real toilet…it’s just a porcelain hole in the ground…that’s also been fun to get used to. But otherwise, everything about my new living situation is just swell. I live in an area of the old Medina of Fes called Ziate, and a few of the other students are really close by, so we can walk through the winding alleyways together. (This city really is a giant labyrinth…it took me three days to really remember how to get to and from my home!) The view from my rooftop terrace is absolutely breathtaking, and I love being able to hear the Ithan (Call to Prayer) every day. Walking through these streets is quite the experience, as donkeys and carts laden with fruits and/or bread, as well as motorcycles and bright-red taxis try to squeeze themselves in to the smallest of streets. It’s funny because this ancient Islamic city actually reminds me a lot of the old city of Jerusalem…they’re so very similar in so many ways…

My schedule is now officially put together, and it’s going to be a DOOZY. I will have 20 hours of Classical Arabic instruction per week, along with another 4 hours of Arabic literature (which is being taught entirely in Arabic…ahhh!!!!) and then another hour and a half of Moroccan History and Culture. THAT means I have over 25 hours of class each week, and only one of those hours will be in English. AND that’s not including homework. AND my host family doesn’t speak English. Haha…it’s sure to be quite the challenge I guess?

For now, I’m super excited about it all, and I have literally no real complaints. (Key word being “real”—I don’t count whining about not having internet as a real complaint). This weekend my host mother will be taking me to a local Hammam, and I’m going to go with the family on their weekly souq-run (shopping in the traditional open-air markets). And MAYBE catch up on some much needed-rest, and anticipated load of homework.

There’s SO MUCH to look forward to and to learn about and to be thankful for here. Life is “mezzian” for now. (Arabic for “wonderful” or “magnificent”…strikingly close to the Hebrew word interestingly enough….)

OH and here’s a few pictures of my time here so far, but I’ll have lots more soon!:


Leather Tanneries in the old Fes Medina


View of the Fes Medina from the Southern Palace…umm yes, this is my new home!!


And THIS is the view from my roof!!


My street view from the roof!

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Kadie: Ahlan Ila Al-Magrheb!!

February 18, 2011

I am OFFICIALLY on Moroccan soil!! And I couldn’t be happier or more excited or more ready to begin this next chapter. BUT before I move on to everything Moroccan, let me give a quick re-cap of my last couple weeks.

Getting to Morocco was…long. I came from Spain, where I had been traveling. I took a bus from Malaga to Algeciras. Then I walked from the bus station in Algeciras to the Port in Algeciras. Then I boarded a ferry that went from Algeciras to Tangier, Morocco. Then I took another bus from the Port of Tangier, to the Train station in Tangier. Then I got on a train in Tangier, headed south for Rabat. Then I hopped in a taxi, and FINALLY, arrived at my destination. And this destination turned out to be the cosiest little Riad, and, before saying a quick, two-second hello to the woman who greeted me at the door, I was ATTACKED with the world biggest and most emoitional hug. My MA!!!!!!! She arrived a couple hours before I did, and so was anxiously awaiting my arrival. I haven’t seen her face since the day I left the states, which was a good 7 months ago. And our reunion, like I said, was emotional and so exciting. We both had so much to tell each other that we were talking over each other all night. We had this AMAZING Moroccan meal at our Riad that night, and spent the next day in Casablanca. (we also just watched the classic movie of the same name tonight haha). Casa was so cool, and we had the perfect day. It was warm and sunny and had absolutely stunning views of the Atlantic. While we were easily distracted by our photo taking sessions and beach-promenade walks, it was a hard day. It will always be a hard day, but having my mom there to share it with was an indescribable pleasure.

A few days ago, we took the train to Fes. I wish I could say it was a more exciting day, but the Train was long, and it was raining alllll day. My arrival in to this city in which I’ll be living in now until the end of May was a little anti-climactic to say the least, but..I’m HERE. And I can’t wait to start seeing all that I can with my ma by my side. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain again, but that’s okay…we’ll be checking out a local Hammam. I am SO excited to see just how much foreign-ness I can get my mom to put up with. Haha…

The next few days are sure to be some of my favorites. I’m already having the greatest time with one of my all-time favorite people in the world. And then NEXT WEEK my orientation starts!! AHHH!!! Its all going so fast…..

I know one thing for sure though..I’ve already fallen for Morocco. It stole my heart on that first train ride from Tangier, when we needed to stop on the tracks to let the herd of sheep cross. I am back in the Arab world baby.

Can’t wait to post more updates and pictures! I hope everyone had a good Valentines Day…again, it never ceases to amaze me how much love and support I and my family have been blessed with. I would have never made it this long without any of it, that’s for sure.

Until next time y’all…

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