Goodbyes

It’s hard to believe that in six hours I will begin my journey from Fes back to Seattle. This past week was the perfect end to our program.

After our final we had a day off to pack and say goodbye to our host families, then we were on our way to Marrakech. After seven weeks in Fes it was really interesting to see another part of Morocco. Marrakech is very different to Fes. There were so many tourists there. I think I saw more tourists my first hour in Marrakech than I saw during my entire stay in Fes. During my time there I felt as though I was in a fake Morocco. It was as though everything was made to look extra Moroccan. You could tell they were pandering to tourists. Despite the cheesy feel, we managed to enjoy ourselves. We wondered through the Medina, saw snake charmers and street performers, ate some pretty good food, and drank some amazing fresh orange juice.

We only stayed in Marrakech one night. After that we spent the rest of the week in the coastal town of Essaouira. It was beautiful there, and the weather was lovely. At night it actually got cold. It was the first time I needed a sweater in seven weeks. It was so pretty and peaceful by the sea. In Essaouira, we were free to have our own schedules. Most of our time was spent relaxing and remembering what it was like to have nothing to do.

Our final week in Morocco also happened to be the first week of Ramadan. I was really excited to experience Ramadan in a Muslim country, but I think I experienced Ramadan lite since we were in what was basically a resort town. It was fitting though, that our last group activity was eating iftar together on our last night in Essaouira. Iftar is the meal eaten after sunset to break your fast during Ramadan. The food was good, and the entertainment was better. We listened to live Gnawa music and danced (me unwillingly). It was really hard saying goodbye to everyone as I headed back to Fes for my flight home. We had relied on each other, faced challenges together, sat in class, laughed, and sometimes cried together for seven weeks. Some of us will continue on in Arabic together and others will move on, but I’m glad I had this time in Morocco with each one of them.

Now, I’m excited and nervous for my trip home. I’m excited to see all my friends and family and my dog again. I hope I will adjust to life back in the US fairly easily and keep all the lessons I learned in Morocco.

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