Started From the Bottom

Meghan Johns
April 25, 2014

It was difficult, arriving in Morocco for the first time; it was a challenge for us all. Unacquainted and confused, we entered a new world that we would attempt to make our home. Fortunately, many of us became friends fast, and with each other’s company, studying abroad became an even better experience. So, here’s to our spring break – with a great group of people and a dance party to celebrate the fellowship, I mean friendship.

This video was filmed in the Canary Islands.

SPRING BREAK! Finally. It seemed well deserved. (And needed, since we all had to leave the country as to not pass the 90 day limit of staying in Morocco without being fined for a visa.) Many of us went to Europe. I first decided to take part in the trip to Granada and Cordoba, Spain that IES offered. It was super fun, interesting, and relaxing because all had been planned for us. Also, the weather was beautiful, and it was liberating to dress in shorts, skirts, and tank tops again. The food… delicious (And I ought to mention, free when bought with a drink in Granada!) It was also neat to see a different IES center, the one in Granada, which was fashioned greatly like the homes of Morocco… The purpose of the trip was to see the similar Arab influence in southern Spain, so it all makes sense. Though maybe I am a bit jealous of their center… but ours has its perks too! The outdoor tents. Can’t top our tents, Granada. But the city sure is beautiful.

View from Alhambra – Granada, Spain

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

After the Spain trip was over, a group of seven of us trained over to Sevilla, Spain where we spent almost two days (and one hostel night, with Kevin or Vincent) exploring the city on foot. It was really beautiful. There was a great, old cathedral in the center that we toured. And I greatly admired this piece of public art:

The Metropol Parasol designed by the German architect Jurgen Mayer-Hermann

From Sevilla, our group (minus one!) flew over to Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands. Here we went one night in a hostel. Oh, the hostel life. I truly love it. The chance to meet people from all over the world and to be immediate friends for only the night – Splendid! I’ll do it again and again until I’m old. We didn’t stay long on this island because our plans were set for Tenerife. We took a ferry over to it the next morning, and that was a rush (quick deats – cabs going farther than they should have, us six girls running on foot, buying tickets in a mad dash, jumping into a van that sped us onto the ferry… Needless to say, we were late, but we made it. Humdulilah.)

Canary Islands!

In Tenerife, we rented an Air BnB. It was a cute little house in the south that had three bedrooms and a swimming pool. It was so nice with a well-equipped kitchen that we all pitched in for groceries and cooked our meals at home! I would like to give my biggest thanks to Selene and Rachel for doing most of the cooking (as I am not one to often be seen in the kitchen); your food was delicious and greatly appreciated. A downfall of Tenerife was the weather. Colder than expected, the clouds came all too often with some rain, but we profited as much as we really could. A trip to the beach and a trip to a volcano were accomplished.


Kirstin, on top of the world

After Tenerife, two of us (Frodes and Samwise) broke away from the fellowship and headed north for the night. As the rest of our friends headed back to Spain, Kirstin and I gradually made our way back to Morocco. Only… a twelve hour layover in Casablanca stood in our way. Highly not recommended, but this was not a choice. This was a major setback.

A cave-like home, just south of Agadir, directly on the ocean, was our next stop. Equipped with beds, bath, kitchen, candles, and wild dogs, it was absolutely lovely. One night here was not enough.

To finish the two-week journey, we made our way to the city of Essaouira, by grand taxi. Ah yes, the beloved six-person taxi. This time it was us two girls and five other men. A Moroccan treat. But all in all it worked out well. We made a stop at one point so that the men in the car could get out to do their prayers. Only, one man didn’t exit the vehicle, and when the taxi driver returned, he seemed to be scolding this boy. (This is only speculation because our Arabic is not up to par). We arrived safely and again lived the hostel life in Essaouira for two nights. We ate seafood fresh from the sea and spent a little too much time getting lost.

Alas. Spring break was greatly enjoyed and spent in the best of company, but arriving back in Rabat had its perks, too. We have become comfortable there. Arriving in at the train station felt like home. It was a relief to no longer need maps or the help of others. Now only a month remains of my study abroad in Rabat. It’s time to power through final papers and make the most of my time left here.

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Meghan Johns

<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);">Hello, everyone! I am Meghan Johns, a 20-year-old student who comes from the small, but lovely Carthage College in Wisconsin. I study studio art, art history, and the French language there, but I am really excited to begin learning Arabic in Morocco. In my free time, I draw and write music. Traveling is always a must on my to-do list. I cannot wait to see what Rabat has to offer. You can guess how excited I am to start my adventures there this next semester, but the only thing I&#39;ll love more than having them is sharing them, with you.</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Carthage College
French Language
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