On an average day, I walk about 4 miles. I leave my apartment around 7 o’clock and walk 40 minutes to school. Some days I come home for lunch, and others I stay in Agdal until 4 or 5 and then walk back home. Without my parents to drive me everywhere, and the city being small enough to manage, I walk almost everywhere I go. Occasionally I’ll take the tram if I’m headed to Sale, or on an even rarer occasion, I’ll take a taxi.
At first all the walking exhausted me.The 2 mile journey home after a long day was beyond tiring. 40 minutes felt like 40 hours. I didn’t know my way around and anxiously doubted each turn. Now the time flies by, I don’t even need to lift my head to know which way to go. I let my thoughts take over and watch the city pass by. I love having the time to think. In the morning I can set goals for the rest of the day, and in the evening I can evaluate how I spent my time. Walking has been the most beneficial reflection time for me. It's when I really truly get deep in my thoughts. Yes, so many other things have molded me over this year, but it's been the walking that I really realize it. I can't tell you how many blog posts I've written in my head during a walk and just never posted.
It's been a way for me to discover the city, to really get to know the different neighborhoods and people that live there. I recognize the women making rife on the corner, the man selling strawberries down the street, and the students going to the school across the street. I know this city. I no longer have to ask for directions to get to Centre Ville, or a certain cafe. I know my way around Rabat better than I do Columbia, well... probably not, but pretty close. It's been walking that's made me really feel at home here.
I've walked in the early morning, watching the clouds turn from gray, to pink, and then suddenly the sky is blue. I've walked in the afternoon, with the sun beating down, and I've walked in the evening when the sky turns orange and the sun waves goodbye beneath the waves.
I’ve trudged my way through torrential downpours, wearing a long raincoat and bright blue boots. I’ve bundled up and braved the cold, and I’ve sweated in the heat of the intense Moroccan sun. It doesn't matter what the weather is, or what might lie ahead, I will walk there.
I can't think of a single day that I've left the apartment and not walked somewhere. It's such an inevitable part of my day, weather I'm headed to the Medina or just to the hanut next door to grab some peanuts. I can't imagine getting in the car almost every time I’m going somewhere. It's going to be such an adjustment when I come back. Sure, I won’t have to leave an hour early, but I’m going to miss my time to contemplate my experience.