Cynthia Velazquez
July 10, 2014

So this past week was the start of Ramadan. To be honest when I signed up onto the program I had no idea that Ramadan fell right in place so that it ends the day we leave Morocco. So, naturally when I found out it was the time of Ramadan, I was a little scared. I’ve never fasted for that long and I was kind of scared that I was going to be asked to join in. Knowing myself, I knew that if I did I’d probably faint at some point during the day. But as the days kept getting closer, I realized that maybe I would mind fasting for at least one day just to see what it was like. However, when we arrived in Morocco from Senegal it was obvious that I wasn’t going to jump right into it.

To start, Morocco changes its time during the month of Ramadan. When we arrived from Senegal we changed our time to the Moroccan time. However, overnight it changed again. It was forwarded one hour. So I set my alarm to wake up at 9:00am on Sunday for breakfast. Once I walked into the dining room my host mom said to me, “Did you decide to sleep in?” I was just like “What? It’s 9:00am just like you said. Turns out it was actually 10:00am and my phone hadn’t automatically changed the time. Oops.

The thing that stood out to me the following Monday was that as I was walking to class on Rue de Consuls, it was eerily quiet. All the shops that were usually open at that time were closed. It was quite unnerving actually. And as we walked home fewer shops were open than usual. There was still a lot of people but not as many as there usually was.

I’ll be honest; I have come to love Iftar. Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast of the day. And it happens at exactly 7:45pm every night. I’ve learned that it is traditional to break fast with three dates because that is how the Islamic Prophet Muhammad broke his fast. There is also the traditional Moroccan soup, Harira, that I have come to love and that my host sister makes. It has so many ingredients that I can’t even begin to name them all.  My host sister always piles more food on my plate before I can even say “Lla, shokraan” which means, “No, thank you”. The food that is eaten during Ramadan is specifically for this time of year and it’s amazing. I love all this food, but if I have learned something about food here in Morocco it’s to not say that you really like something unless you are able and willing to eat vast amounts of it (Which is something I am willing to do only occasionally)

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Cynthia Velazquez

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am a sophomore studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In my free time I like to spend time with friends and family. I also enjoy going out to town and trying new things, such as food and activities. I like to explore new places. I am excited to be studying in Rabat this summer and I hope that blogging about it will help record all the experiences I hope to have.</span></p>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Biological Sciences
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