The last two months of my life flew by. I really meant to write more, but in reality I found myself with very few opportunities because the program kept me SO busy! When I did have some free time, I chose to explore my surroundings and some other cities in Morocco, as well as spend time with many of the beautiful people I met on my journey. Readjusting to life in America is always a bit strange and I certainly have mixed feelings about being home. And of course, I find myself missing Morocco and all of the people I’ve shared the last two months of my life with.
My time in Morocco was undoubtedly the most challenging experience I have ever undertaken, in terms of academics but also in terms of daily existence. I feel that I don’t even have the words yet to describe it, or even try to explain it. But I will say this, at a certain point in time Morocco stole my heart and captivated me with its beauty. That’s not to say that everything is rosie in Morocco all the time, but it is to say that I was able to make myself fully present there, and tap into its beauty. I must also say, however, that I feel very blessed to be able to make that statement because it was a long, hard journey filled with struggle; all of the students faced enormous challenges there. Perhaps the difficulty is what made the experience one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of my life.
While I was gone, I learned a ton of Arabic and can say with confidence that my speaking and comprehension ability took a major leap forward. I also met some really wonderful people, including my lovely host family, my amazing and beautiful teachers, and all of the fantastic speaking partners and tutors at my school. Oh, and of course the other program participants! The trip ended on a high note – Ramadan began just a few days before we left and I am so grateful I was able to experience it in a Muslim country and with people I’ve grown to care very much about. I fasted the day before we left Fes and I was fortunate enough to be able to break the fast in the company of my classmates, and most of the speaking partners and teachers at my school at the most lovely Iftar I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.
Mad props to all the Muslims of the world fasting right now – it’s NOT easy! And mad props to all of those people who have helped me on my journey of learning Arabic thus far, particularly my teachers (you know who you are!). I look forward to continued study of the language and many more linguistic adventures in the MENA region.