Well, we’ve been here a week, and that week has felt like a month. The summer program here is advertised as being intensive, but I think that is an understatement. We have nearly every minute of the day scheduled but have to do homework at some point. Sleep has gone by the wayside.
Some random facts about Rabat:
- Trash-cans are scarce, and litter is everywhere – I’m still not sure where the bin is in my house, so I’m keeping all my trash in a plastic grocery bag in my room.
- There are feral cats all over the place, and as a cat lover it makes me sad because they’re so skinny, I just want to buy a ton of cat food and adopt them all.
- The exchange rate is very much in our favor – you can buy a large bottle of water from the market for about 4 dirhams, which is roughly $0.50
- There are very few rules of the road here and basically no such things as crosswalks. Pedestrians do not have the right of way (actually, I’m not sure there is such a thing as the “right of way” here) and you just kinda…walk when you can. I’d be absolutely terrified to drive.
- Sidewalks are badly paved. Some women wear heels, but I don’t know how they do it – we’ve all tripped on the uneven pavement.
- Moroccans eat more bread/sugar/carbs than anyone I’ve ever seen. But the fruit is SO much better than at home.
- Dinner is LATE here – in my house it’s around 10pm, and that is early by Moroccan standards. But just because you’re up ‘til midnight doesn’t mean you sleep late the next morning. Au contraire.
- It isn’t as conservative as they try to make you believe. Some women wear tight pants, sleeveless shirts, no veil, work for a living, and can be found smoking in cafés; while others keep covered from wrist to ankle, remain veiled, and stay home. It just depends on the person.
- Moroccan hospitality = food. I think I’m offending my host-sister by not eating NEARLY as much as she wants me to, but I just can’t do it.
- I think all of us in the program have watched Turkish soap operas dubbed in Darija (Moroccan Arabic) with our host families.
- Morocco is NOT limited-mobility accessible – I have bad knees and they have hurt like crazy here from all the stairs.
- The Medina (the historic part of the city, where we are all living) is not as safe as they want you to think. I had my camera pickpocketed on day 1.
- The food is very good!
That is just a sample – it is a lot to adjust to, but I’m getting along better than I expected, and really can’t complain about anything except the workload. Which reminds me, it is the weekend, so I have lots of homework to catch up on.
More Blogs From This Author
<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);">My name is Kelila Johnson. I am a third-year student at Pitzer College majoring in International & Intercultural Studies with a regional emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa. I also work full-time as the manager of the campus coffee shop. I have been active in college governance, serving on committees in my capacity as a staff member and I am a proud member of Student Senate, where I represent the "New Resources Students" who are the non-traditional student population at Pitzer. In my free time I catch up on sleep, go to Disneyland, watch movies, read, and spend quality time with my cat. I love to travel, and I'm looking forward to improving my French language skills and experiencing a culture quite different from home.</span></p>