Living and Learning in RabatRabat, Spring 2010
One of the highlights of my semesters abroad in Morocco has been my host family experience. Living with a host family allows students to truly experience the culture of their host country. Whether enjoying freshly prepared meals, conversing in the local language, or attending family gatherings, one is constantly learning in the foreign environment.
I adore my host family in Rabat. I live with a retired couple and their older unmarried daughter. My host mother’s food is fantastic. My host mother and I have prepared the typical Friday afternoon meal of cous cous on multiple occasions. I hope to reproduce it for my own family when I return to Minnesota.
I enjoy conversing with my host parents in French and practicing Darija with my host sister. Despite my limited Darija, Asme and I have successfully discussed subjects as banal as my difficulties in opening the door to our home and as profound as gender roles in marriage within our respective cultures. Asme is always amused by my Darija efforts. “Elbab humuk! Mashee Mezzian! Ana mushkeel wah elbab saaiba walakin ntee mashee mushkeel wah elbab. Alaash ana mushkeel wah elbab?” (The door is crazy! This is not good! I have a problem with the difficult door, but you do not have a problem with the door. Why do I have a problem with the door?) The topic of the crazy door resurfaces daily.
Besides providing me with a place in which to practice French, Darija, and Moroccan cuisine, I am able to exchange basic phrase in Wolof with my host brother! My host brother Yassine has lived in Senegal for the past 8 years while working towards his doctorate. Exchanging our memories of Senegal has been a great way for me to learn more about the cultures of both countries.
Spending time with my friend Cindy and her Moroccan host family has also been a positive experience.
Cindy, an IES Abroad student, is my neighbor in Rabat. I occasionally have afternoon tea with her family. Cindy lives with a family of five comprised of a mom, dad, two brothers, and one sister. Cindy and Khadija, her 18 year old sister, are very close. They frequently go shopping in the medina, spend time doing henna with Khadija’s friends, and work on Arabic homework together.
Whenever I stop by Cindy’s house, her parents always remind me that I am welcome and that I should consider their family as my own. Her father greets me enthusiastically with “Marhaban Jordyn! Koolshee mezziyan? Laa bess? Et la santé? Comment va la famille en Amérique? Mamuk et Babuk ca va?” (Welcome Jordyn! Everything is fine? How are you? And your health? How is the family in the U.S? Are you mother and father fine?) The positive responses to these questions are always met with a wide grin and the exclamation of Alhumdulilah (Thanks be to God).
I am not looking forward to my departure from Rabat as I will sincerely miss my host families.
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