Home, Home AgainRabat, Fall 2011
If I could summarize the last two weeks of my life with a single word, it would be “weird.” It is weird that I’m no longer constantly surrounded by my classmates and IES staff (whose existence I wasn’t even aware of in August) that made my three and a half months abroad so wonderful. It is weird to think about how my host family will continue to live their lives without me, just as they did before my arrival. It is weird to know that I must soon return to my school-year stressors, including but not limited to: essays, financial aid, rent payments, internships, and extracurricular activities. It is weird that I don’t live in an area where I can just go down the street and buy freshly-picked fruit for chump change. It is weird that all of the things I missed while I was in Morocco stayed exactly the same. I mean, I didn’t think that there’d be some sort of horrible change while I was gone, but everything I missed almost seems…boring. Snow is still cold and wet, driving is still liberating (and bad for the environment), and black coffee is still not espresso. I thought I’d be more surprised by the wonder and novelty of these items/actions. Nope. If I could summarize my time in Morocco with a single word, it’d be “weird.” It was weird that I was just outside of the United States for the first time and spent so much time away from my friends and family. It was weird that I had the opportunity to ride a camel, visit Roman ruins, live in a UNESCO World Heritage site (the Fez medina), hang out the side of speeding trains, and take two ferries on the Mediterranean Sea. It was weird to not live in the suburbs. It was weird that I ate questionable, may-have-been-cat ground beef sandwiches for dinner without a second thought. It was weird that I spent my fall break not at home watching American football and sleeping, but exploring Spain and Portugal. My lives on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean were weird. And that’s okay, because I learned that life is a little weird, depending on how you view it. It is weird that some Americans only pray once a week, drink alcohol too much to voluntarily lose control, and drive when it is perfectly acceptable to walk. It’s also weird that Moroccans don’t eat potato peels, urinate in public, and believe that walking on tile floors with just socks on your feet will leave you susceptible to evil spirits. But that’s okay. We’re all the same people, fighting for the same basic tenets of life: happiness, security, love. We just play different games to achieve those goals. You can believe all of this from your couch, but until you get off your butt and dive into a different culture, you can’t really know it. الحمد لله (Thanks be to God) for the last four months. Hasta luego, y’all.
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