It suddenly just occurred to me that I’ve gotten so into my daily routine that I haven’t shared most of it, so, here’s a quick rundown of a typical day for me as told by my iPhone camera.
This is where I wake up every morning at 7:00 sharp to get ready for class. Not pictured are my desk, wardrobe, and window. My bed has lots of thick blankets because it gets really cold when you’re in a big drafty house with no heating or carpet.
Once I'm ready, I head out to the dining area for breakfast, which always consists of a glass of hot chocolate and meloui, which is kind of like a thick, sweet tortilla that I spread with cheese, honey, or jam. I sit with both of my host siblings: the sister, who's 11, and the brother, who's 16.
Around 7:45 I head out from my home in the medina, which is the old city. Basically every Moroccan city has two parts: an “old city” and a “new city.” The medina is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, lined with shops, souks, and crowds of people. The new city is a bit more of a western concept of “downtown,” with apartments, workplaces, hotels, cafes, etc. Living in the medina is definitely a fully immersive experience, and it can be pretty hectic trying to navigate through.
After about a 20 minute walk, I arrive to the center to start my Modern Standard Arabic class, which I have every weekday.
I have two other courses that are two days a week: Islam, taught in French, and US & North African Relations. Then, once a week I have a Social Action Seminar, which corresponds with my internship with a local NGO, that I work at least 6 hours a week. I currently edit articles for the site Morocco World News.
In between classes, since the walk to and from home takes a chunk of time, I usually opt to stay at the center all day. IES has some really nice places for us all to study, eat, and hang out.
Here’s the garden area:
The first floor tent:
And the rooftop view:
Also, because I’m at the center all day, my host mom usually packs me a lunch. On Fridays, however, I go home for lunch because Friday is couscous day! The whole family gets together and eats from one giant bowl. It can vary from beef to lamb to chicken. Sometimes it’s sweet with almonds and chickpeas or savory, like the one pictured, with carrots, potatoes, fava beans, and a few other vegetables that I still have yet to identify.
By the time I head home in the early evening, the medina is at it’s busiest, so it can take me almost twice the time to navigate through the crowds. There really are some true Moroccan treasures if you have the fortune to stumble upon the rights shops.
Take this “Couscous Party” shirt for example. I’m really thinking about buying this.
Finally, when I get home for the night, my host dad and brother are usually sitting here watching soccer. Moroccan homes are just lined with couches. I live on the second floor with the immediate family, but there’s always extended family downstairs for various occasions.
We usually don’t start dinner until 9 PM, which has been hard for me to adjust to. My host mom has had to ask me a few times to try not to fall asleep before dinner starts. Oops. Here’s a classic dish that my host mom frequently serves called kefta. It’s meatballs and poached eggs served in tomato sauce. It’s a staple here that you’ll find in pretty much any restaurant.
After dinner I'm usually so stuffed I pass out right away once I get to my room. 7:00 AM then comes again quickly enough and I do it all over again!
So there you have it! A typical day for me here in Rabat. Some of these things that seemed bizarre to me at first are now just another part of my daily life that’ll I’ll actually have to adjust to living without when I go home. That’s the beauty of living abroad!
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<p>Assalamu Alaikum, Bonjour, Hello! I'm Camille and I'm currently in my second year studying Political Science and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I'm thrilled to be spending my semester in Rabat, Morocco and hope you all enjoy hearing about my journey! Expect bad puns and lots of pictures of food.</p>