Who can believe that it’s already December?
Today is our 3-monthiversary in the country. As a former Fulbrighter told me upon my arrival: the days are long, but the months fly by. I have just one week of FusHa class left, then leave for Malaysia and the UAE for 2 weeks, to celebrate the nuptials of my favorite brother, and to visit an old college friend. I’ll arrive back in Morocco before the New Year, then begin my last 6-week language session in Fes. As many of the Fulbrighters are going abroad for the holidays, or trickling out of Fes, the dynamic of our time here seems to be changing. It is definitely a transition period, like the end of every semester.
Indeed, Fes is getting colder, like a legit winter is on its way. I can see my breath on my runs every morning, and I have to bundle up all the time. Silly me, being so proud of myself for packing light, and paying for it now without a winter coat or proper boots. It’s warm in the sun, but the problem is that no houses in Morocco have central heating. Basically our apartment is a refrigerator with concrete walls, so Caitlyn and I have taken to drinking massive amounts of hot water and standing in the sun in our kitchen in the mornings. I sleep completely under 3 comforters, sometimes wearing a hat and gloves. The worst is when we can’t get our hot water to work in the mornings. Think: post-workout Polar Plunge before 9 am.
From summer to winter, It’s been a full 3 months. I’ve made some incredible new friends. I’ve begun learning a new language (technically, my 6th). I’ve ridden a camel into the Sahara desert. I’ve put my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. I've negotiated the dark underworld of apartment rentals in Morocco and have moved into The Red Tent with an incredible roomate, Caitlyn**. I got to see my long-lost habib after 6 months. I’ve eaten sheep’s heart and pigeon and lived to tell about it. I’ve survived amoebic dysentery (not related to the former, ironically). I’ve become a spokesmodel for a fabric store. I’ve held an American dinner party for Moroccan friends, a Red dinner party for American friends, and a Moroccan dinner party for a delegation of American feminist lawyers and academics. I’ve been to the world’s longest, most colorful wedding. I’ve experienced a miracle. I’ve extended my family to include some Moroccan sisters and brothers, a second mama, and even a Moroccan granny. I’ve climbed 3 mountains. Most of all, I’ve learned.
And I am learning still. As I am taking this time to reflect on my time here, I want to enumerate a list of some things I want to pursue further or recalibrate upon my return:
-Spend more quality time with Anas, the kid I tutor, and his family. I definitely see a little sister in his sister Jihane. I never had a little sister, and I hope that she and I can become tight. We’re planning on having an American Jazz Dinner party for Anas and Jihane, because they are interested in American culture. Only I can’t think of any foods to serve that are completely American….Apple pie? Hot dogs? Ugh…seriously, America…
-Spend more time with Marie-Meliane and my homegirls from the French church.
-Read more background materials for my research. Create a more concrete plan of research. Contact my advisor in Rabat
-Visit dear Professor Edris Makward in Agadir while he’s still here.
-Get Layla to teach me how to cook couscous and pastilla
-Get my actual Carte de Sejour! Read: become a resident of Morocco
-Open a bank account
-Become conversational in Fusha and Darija
-Find an apartment in Rabat.
-Get to know Fes’ medina better. Get lost more.
-Upload my photos. Finally.
Oh! Last thing: they posted my global competence essay on the Here on Earth website. You can find it under the links here:
**Photo Credit: All photos taken by Caitlyn Olson, history expert and photographer extraordinaire. See "Incredible roomate" above. Can also be found in the Encyclopedia under "Lalla Hip Hop"