First Days in Morocco

I've been here for 5 days, but it feels like a month at the least! I already feel comfortable with most aspects of daily life. I'm not terrified anymore when we cross the street or intimidated when there's no utensils on the table. I feel like I've settled into my groove and it hasn't even been a full week!

I feel comfortable with my host family. I thought I wouldn't crash on the couch, but that's exactly what we've been doing! I still have my share of mistakes like saying I'm 6 instead of 16, but it provides a great opportunity for a good laugh! I have an older host sister named Zoubida, a sister my age named Fatima, and a younger brother named Soufiane. It's been wonderful so far!

I left my house in Columbia around 6 on Saturday, and then arrived in Casablanca around 9 or 10pm on the 1st. We drove to Rabat where we stayed in a hotel. The next , Monday, we walked to the AMIDEAST headquarters and had a short orientation. We had lunch at a delicious restaurant and then came back to meet our host families! Fatima, Soufiane, and Papa were there to pick us up! We got all our luggage and headed home!

We live in an apartment that's about a 30 to 40min walk from AMIDEAST. Belinda, my roommate and I share a room. Everyday we walk to AMIDEAST where we meet up with the other YES Abroad students and take classes. There's just so much to tell you that there's no time to be poetic or artistic! I'll just give you a brief summary of each day I've spent here in Rabat so far.

 On Tuesday we had a tour of Agdal in the morning, then ate out for lunch. In the afternoon we went to Chellah, ruins from the Roman Empire! It was amazing to see so much history in one place! So many different types of people had passed through those very buildings that still stand, (well sort of), today. Those same walls existed over 2,000 years ago. It blows my mind that we were actually there and not just looking at a page in a history book!

From there we went to Oudaya because the Hassan Tour wasn't open. All the buildings in the area are blue and white and very Mediterranean looking. We went to a café overlooking the beach and the river separating Rabat and Sale. Khalil said the tea there was "the best tea in Rabat!" so we all had some delicious mint tea and then walked through the old palace gardens.

That night we were invited to go to the supermarket in Sale with our host family. We all piled ito the car and headed out. The supermarket was huge! It reminded me of Costco, but a bit smaller and had a whole section devoted to fresh spices and olives.

On Wednesday we walked to AMIDEAST with Zoubida. It was a lot easier than I expected. We had a Global Citizen class and then met the country director of AMIDEAST. Belinda and I walked back to our apartment with Kate and Emma, but took a wrong turn and ended up in Akkari by the Souk, (market). It was a bit scary so we took a taxi home. After lunch, Papa drove us back to Agdal. We had a free afternoon so Kate, Jordan, Catherine, Belinda, and I walked around until we found our school. We peeked in, and then were invited in and even got a tour of the entire facility! We grabbed some delicious gelato then took a taxi to the beach and walked all the way to the end of the pier!

On Thursday, we walked a LOT, and I have the blisters to prove it! We went to AMIDEAST in the morning, as usual, and then walked all the way back home for lunch. After lunch we walked to Agdal once again and visited our school to decided what track we will take. I'm taking Science. From there we went to a café where I had an amazing lemon tart! Finally, we walked 40 min back to our apartment and crashed for a good hour. That's when we realized we somehow had wifi! We think it's the apartment above us! Shh! Don't tell them!!!! I was able to Skype my family and Measu!

Today, Friday, we spent the morning at AMIDEAST once again. For lunch Jordan, Emma, Kate, Belinda, and I went to a great little restaurant where they had Friday couscous specials. I had a crepe au poulet. Then we went back to AMIDEAST to start the Rabat City Challenge Sarah prepared for us! It was like the Amazing Race, but Moroccan style. Kate, Astrid, and I won so we got some extra dirhams for some ice cream.

So sorry if that was way too long or not artistic enough, but I just wanted to give you an idea of what I've been doing. I've been eating so much, French cafés on every corner are the best and worst things that have ever happened to me! At the same time though, we walk everywhere! On a normal day we've braved the 40min walk in between the office and our home 4 times a day. I have been blessed with such an amazing host family! They are so including and wonderful in every way! I find myself constantly laughing and smiling. I brought a small soccer ball to keep my touches up, but I ended up just giving it to Soufiane so we're always playing. I hate to admit it, but he's beaten me a good amount of times. Tomorrow our group is going to the mega mall and Sunday Belinda and I are planning to attend a local international church. We're both super excited!

Thanks so much for all your prayers and support! Feel free to comment or email me with any questions! Check out the Photo page for pictures of Chellah and Oudaya, as well as other moments from this week!


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