It’s officially halfway through the semester. It has been six weeks. It feels like I arrived in Rabat, I blinked, and now we’re here. But coming back from a long and relaxing sojourn in Portugal and Spain, I realized how much Rabat is becoming a home to me.
Of course, going to European countries is refreshing in some sense — they’re basically like America lite. There’s alcohol, pork; there’s no call to prayer to wake you up at 5 a.m. blasting from the five mosques surrounding your house; there aren’t 150 cats on your walk back to your place; most people speak English.
And it really was nice to get back to a lifestyle that’s closer to home for me for a while. Before I left, I made a list of the things I missed about home. It went like this:
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Wearing warm clothing and not sweating
- Iced coffee
- Having hair that is not frizzy
I experienced all of these things over spring break. But when I got back to Rabat, I realized how nice it was that I was so familiar with the city. When you’re traveling, you’re constantly stressing over logistics. What’s my next connection? What time will it arrive? How will I get from point A to point B? How much will it cost? Where am I going to eat dinner? How will I get there from my AirBnB? Does my phone have enough battery to use Google Maps? But in Rabat, I know my way around. I don’t need Google Maps. I know how to get from point A to point B. I know where all my meals are. When men who assume that I’m a tourist stop me on the street and ask if they can help me, I can say:
انا اعرف الطريق.
“I know the way.”
In six weeks, I’m going to leave. And I’ve spent the last six weeks getting acquainted with this city. It wasn’t always easy. Plenty of people tried to trick me or make me less than comfortable. But I have a family in the medina, and I have another family back at the center. I want to spend the next six weeks with them, not stressing over logistics. It’s good to be home.
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<p>Hi there, I’m Emma, and I’m from Hinsdale, IL. I’m a senior at Brown University studying computer science and Middle Eastern studies. No, you are not the first person to tell me I should work for the CIA. I like stories, and I like data. I like combining them even more. Follow my blog for an in-depth look at Moroccan culture!</p>