I’m selfish. I shared tiny photos on social media and thought that’s enough. I’m terrible at letting those around me in on my memories and my moments. When I was abroad I didn’t reach out. I barely called my family to keep them up to date on what was happening. When we did talk, I’d share a few things, but then I’d listen and ask questions about what they’d been up to. I don’t like to talk about myself to anyone but my sister. I always redirect conversation so that I am not talking for too long. By doing so, I’ve let so much slip through the cracks. My time abroad hasn’t been transferable into words. Morocco is now a conglomerate of memories. Memories that will get fuzzier and fuzzier. I think it’s about time I try to let folks know.
When I first arrived in Morocco and got settled in with my host family I remember reiterating over and over how Morocco was my home. That it was a simple place with welcoming people and that I would never want to leave. I made plans in my mind for how I would graduate and then disappear into the Al Maghrib (sunset/morocco). I was naive. My host mom continued to share her doubts in my plan. She would say things like, “you can last a few months here, but you won’t want to live here.” I was annoyed at first, but by the end of my three-ish months in Morocco that was the truest statement.
With all that Morocco holds it is not my home. It is my family’s home, it was my mom’s home, but it is not my home. I love it for all that it is, but I couldn’t do it. I continue to be confused of my memories of Morocco. I grew so bitter with the country by the end of my stay. From being chased by a homeless man, followed by men in cars and in the streets, to my last week after traveling in Europe crying in the back of a taxi car with a driver that doesn’t speak any english on the side of the highway at night with no where to stay in Casablanca (the only time I cried during the entire duration of my time abroad). The bitterness I taste from Morocco is held in the difficulties I faced so close to the end. I felt as if Morocco made things more difficult than it had to be. As I missed my train because I was standing on the wrong deck I became numb and with the two hours I now had to endure before the next train I was fed up.
Coming home and seeing my beautiful host mother eased my anger. Fouzia became this rock that understood my scatterbrain. She didn’t fault me for my frustrations. Sometimes she was angry with her country too, but it was her home and she loved it.
During my months in Morocco, I was happy more than upset. I experienced some of the most eye-opening things. I grew patient in silence. I didn’t always understand what was happening, but I listened and those around me shared. Shared more than they had to offer. Morocco is a land of givers. Giving to others makes them happy. I see this in my real mother. Her inability to take for herself before I am well. I treasure the people’s character. Their nature of love, laughter, and most importantly laziness ;p
I’ll never forget Baba Hamid. Baba Hamid was my arabic professor. He is large man with dark features. Covered in dusty grey hair with a beard that just might touch his chest. He staggered over me in comparison. His personality was like no other. He was such a gentle man that cared deeply and felt so much pain. He didn’t understand all things the class said, he had difficulties with my sarcasm and made our four hour class as bearable as it could be. He is so full of knowledge on a multitude of subjects and loved to reference books as well as lend them out to students (I’m sorry I never read the book about the cuckoos nest.)
The endless amount of guacamole I consumed is not a memory I thought I’d have from Morocco, but it is such a big one. The wonderful ladies that accompanied me on weekend get aways also prepared and shared the green-mushy delicacy with me. We’d scavenged the markets and souqs for the ingredients and spent our evenings in whatever city we were harboring in laughing and meeting the strangest of people (I’ll never forg
et the city of Asilah and the misfortune and beautiful chaos we found @Sarah @Sara and @Meghan.)
Wandering streets, getting lost in mountains, and following strangers are just a few of the terribly good ideas I had in Morocco. I remember once I paid a man with an orange after he drove us to the train station, he was so angry with us. I would laugh until I peed. I would debate until there was no end in sight, and I would learn as if my brain had an endless retention.
“Yes.” That’s what I would say during my school days in Meknes and when I got home to Fouzia at night for dinner she would be so shocked by the way I spent my day. “Oh Fouzia! Today I went out to this ladies house who is an ex-pat and painted with her and helped in her garden and made lunch and swam and got fresh olive oil from her olive trees.” “WHAT!?” would always be her response. She was always startled about what I got myself into. Now my beautiful Fouzia and olive oil lady, Suzy, are best buddies having pool parties and sending me selfies.
I could literally go on and on and that’s what I hate. Three months of my life cannot be summed up. And it doesn’t need to be. I’ll continue to pop rock share as my memories creep back up and hit me.
Morocco challenged me, frightened me and it loved on me. It grew me into a person I love to see and that’s more than enough to know.
(The two ladies in the front left of the featured image led us out of the souq alleyways when we were lost. After we made it back to the entrance we bought them coffee from a cafe that over looked the city. They didn’t speak english, but French and Arabic were thrown around)
Message me or comment if I’ve left you confuzzeled and you want to know more.