As many of you already know, I arrived safely in Morocco on Saturday evening. And after a 2 hour drive from Casablanca to Rabat, we nuzzled into our hotel room beds. Our studies have extended to Morocco, but it feels like we are all just on holiday! The dorm styled living, unlike our home stays, allows us a lot more time together, which is essential for exploring Rabat.
Before I delve too much into my Morocco excursion however, I have to sum up my week in Amsterdam. My assimilation into Dutch culture and Amsterdam is rapidly occuring. One evening, my host sister biked while I sat on the back wheel cover, which is very common in the Netherlands. And let me tell you, you don’t know a near death experience until you ride on the back of a bike. In proper Dutch fashion, I also effectively balanced my overstuffed bags filled with juice, milk, and fruit. I now label myself an athlete after biking while balancing my groceries. I don’t know how Dutch women do it with two children on both ends of their bikes.
On Friday, I, along with my two other caretakers Taylor and Abi, cooked American pancakes for the SIT group. The three of us figured we could us a good American meal. (Each week on Friday, a different group of people cooks lunch for the whole group of 16.) On Friday evening, Mel, Annalise and I watch Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist at Annalise’s, which is always a classic movie night flick! During my tram ride home, I had two groups, one French and one Spanish, ask me for directions to different parts of the city and how much public transit was. I luckily was able to assist both groups like a true Amsterdammer!!
Saturday, we travelled from Schiphol airport to Morocco, which has already won over my heart. I have already done so much in two days it is unreal. My friend Idil and I got lost, in a good way, around the markets of Rabat until a man gave us directions out of a dead end. We ended up on narrow side streets filled with beautiful architecture. The architecture of the houses here makes everything feel like a palace. While in the market though, we purchased the most delicious tangerines, dried apricots, and pastries. Our bargaining skills are so superb that we even had one shop owner chase us down a quarter mile.
After a lecture on Monday, the SIT students were graced by a traditional Moroccan band. Two of the women who work at the CCCL danced along with us. I haven’t smiled as much as I did tonight in quite a while; I absolutely loved it!
The sights and smells within the Medina of Rabat are overwhelming and magical! Every couple of feet, I find new shops selling dried fruits and nuts, while another is selling handmade leather backpacks for only 120 dirham. The one thing that I was not expecting was the openness of the men to speak with you in the street; this is known as street harassment. I have experienced everything from men singing Beyoncé to a friend being asked to kiss a man. While this is something I am not used to, I never feel unsafe. Morocco is pushing me beyond my comfort zone, and I could not be more grateful for that. I look forward to what Morocco has in store for me this week.