Learning

Last night I could barely tell my host sister I was exhausted and wanted to sleep (they invited to go out at like 11..but i was slowly dying lol) I spent forever just tying to get that across, even though I knew all the vocab for such…yet this morning I am able to have a fairly speedy conversation with my host mother, in Arabic, about how I have gained scholarships to live my dreams from schools and government, and spoke a little about my family life (with little to no charades)…Why does the Arabic side of my brain insist on turning off and on? lol. In any case. thanks to Qalam wa Lawh Center for Arabic Studies I have indeed learned a lot these past two weeks 🙂 I would have never been able to talk about scholarships, government or anything related before coming here. 6 weeks lefts!
keep checking back because I’ll be posting more logs and photos! My next topic is going to be donation and “beggars” on the Moroccan streets. I have a bit on my mind about that subject.

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Fortunes.

Before Morocco I had a fortune from a cookie that read “you will be traveling and coming into fortune” . I placed it inside a small bag, which I use as a wallet, for safe keeping. I thought it would be cool..you know..

As I strolled with a friend through a major souq in Rabat, i found myself amazed by how vast it was, and how it differed so greatly from the U.S and Korea. Busy with people, busting with energy, the smell of street food (that I have not yet grown to trust) really made the entire experience.It reminded me, in ways, of the outdoor markets in Korea, but still it differed so greatly. I purchased a lovely flowing shirt with a tiger on it. Maybe cost roughly 10 bucks, and I’m completely in love with it.

Upon hailing a taxi, I soon realize with my friend and I that my wallet was missing. Beginning to panic, my friend gave me a hug and proceeded to give me a handful of money. He really was a big help with reducing my anxiety of loosing my wallet (which was a small bag) in Morocco. I was silly and by mistake this morning threw that that smaller bag in my back pack in a rush. Inside of it consisted of all my money and credit cards as well as identification. It was gone forever, and I headed back to my host families house to make an attempt at explaining, in arabic, that I think my money bag was stolen. Upon return to school the next morning, I am told there was a call that a man found my bag. Apparently it must have fallen out of my purse. He tracked me down because I had a piece of paper in the bag with the phone number to the school on it. When he arrived at the school, and gave me my bag back, everything was intact. In fact, he would not accecpt any kind of reward..he just said In Arabic to me over and over “Money is not a problem for me, please just watch what you do”. That’s when I found the fortune in my bag..”you will be traveling and coming into fortune”…yes…I was quite fortunate. Words cannot describe how incredibly grateful I feel to that honest man, and the luck by my side..

souq
The Souq of Rabat, Morocco

Moroccan Desert

another amazing view

“What am I doing with my life…” The above is a simple quote from my roommate I had when we stayed in a hotel somewhere in the mountains of Morocco. We awoke to sunshine, birds, and the greatest most beautiful surreal view I have ever encountered. Endless beautiful mountains and the sight of the Sahara desert in the far distance. That was our destination for today. The day before simply consisted of a long drive, visiting wild monkeys, and stopping in at a hotel for the night. The real adventure began in the morning. As we drove to the desert, we passed by many Nomad camps, and interesting, basically ancient civilized houses. It was interesting to see this because it made me see life in a different perspective; my life is mine, and it’s astounding to see how it can vary from person to person as you change destinations.

beautiful view

~let’s fast forward a bit: now comes the time I pick my camel! And up I go, and we’re off! A 2 and a half hour camel ride to our sight. Who ever said the desert is boring? it’s so fascinating and vast, I believe I’ve fallen in love with it. “The sand in my eyes feels like paradise. Climbing sand dunes, and reaching for the moon.” I kept singing over and over again to myself. A little tune I made up while I sat under the stars in the beautiful Sahara night-time sand! The camp sight was amazing; I felt so much like a nomad. It was a feeling of fantasy but in complete reality. Tents were available, but it was so warm everyone moved their pillows and bed-pads outside. As did I, along with my group of friends I have gathered here in Morocco. During dinner I encountered wild cats in the desert. So skinny, I almost thought they were unhealthy. But they’re desert cats; what do you expect? They all started out rather skittish but once I started offering them my chicken tagine(traditional Moroccan dish) they began to take a liking to me..a little too much. In the middle of the night those little stinkers made their way to my bed-pad and plopped themselves on top of myself and my friends. Everyone was rather annoyed with me; I always attract cats but it’s something they will just have to get used to 😉 One cat beckoned me to follow it at 3 in the morning. Unsure why, I followed him a great distance until I came over a small dune to see a different camp sight.

Kind of an awkward photo; but that tea sure was good! I turned back still unsure what this cat wanted, but it was an amazing walk that felt so much like a dream…my favorite part of returning to my bed-pad at night was having to pass by our line of camels. A feeling I can’t explain, but as I looked into the distance to see the endless Sahara, the beautiful sky, the unique camp sight, the desert-specific outfit I bought at a market here in morocco, with a scarf wrapped around my head and the line of camels I really began to think “What is my life? Who am I? What am I doing?” in the most amazing sense of course.
meow :) Sahara Kitty
our camels

Tomorrow is Monday; more classes which I always fancy, and my host family said they want me home after classes so we can go to the super-market together. Tomorrow will be a chill day, which is what I need considering I have not truly slept, aside from 2 hours in the sand, in well over 24 hours.

 [read more on my adventure in Morocco at https://elusiveambitions.wordpress.com/category/morocco/ ]

Meow Meow! qata qata~

Oh Morocco. How I love the endless cats. 🙂 There’s is a small colony of kitties who live near the ally I live in; that’s how I usually recognize that I’m in the right place – by the cats around! It’s fun, and so cute. but honestly, more than anything, it’s sad. Most of them are sick, starving and unhealthy. A group of friends and I took a walk today and found a random little outdoor cafe. I got a giant plate of food, two glasses of Moroccan orange juice (really good btw) and it came with fries, a little rice and bits of pasta – main part was a giant clump of chicken, all costing less than 6USD (yeah, wow.) …of course, I shared over half this chicken with a couple cats, haha. I had to be sneaky about it..I’m sure the owner would not like me doing so. But it was just a kitten, begging for food…….I don’t care if you think I’m doing more harm than good, I could not help myself while I stuffed my face and a baby starving cat begged for food….I don’t have it in my heart. Besides, Moroccans for the most part seem friendly with the cats. The worst I have seen is someone bend down and just..literally ask the cat to leave. ahaha. I don’t see much chasing or shooing. The cats don’t mind people, and most of the people don’t mind the cats! Then again, Islam is heavy on the moral of respect for animals. A lovely aspect! 🙂

Anyway, I’m beat. Good night!

Edit: reflection; scratch that. Some Moroccan’s can be cold horrible people towards animals. It’s just depressing. I’ve watched kids and adults alike kick, throw and torture cats like a sport….ugh.

kitten inside restaurant
kitten inside restaurant

Marhaba ya Maghrib!

Qalam center
Qalam center

BEEEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP. What’s with the way people drive here? There are no rules. People drive in the left lane, right lane, in the middle of the two, barely dodge people, park in the side-walks, park on the roof tops! (don’t ask.) I thought NYC was merciless. Then I thought Korea was merciless. No, Morocco takes the cake here! Congratulations! Crossing the streets in Morocco will take a unique skill, one like no other! Bring. It. On.

Yes, I’m safe in Morocco. The first two days looked rough and for the first time I experienced culture shock in my life. Really? In Korea I had absolutely zero and I knew little to nothing about the culture, and assimilated just fine. But in Morocco, a culture I have studied for the past couple years, hit me like a bullet train. The host family placement started out rough. My room was awkward with no where to put my stuff and no door. Also, I had no way of getting on the internet anywhere – even the school’s internet was down! Contacting home  was a very expensive process with my international phone. Anyway, host family is very kind and fixed all the issues. Thanks to a employee here at Qalam who does his job prompt and well – so everything was magically fixed within a day. I bought a Marac Telecom modem, so I have 3g net everywhere I go. SO EXPENSIVE. RIGHT? no. holy crap. it cost about the same as 5 USD a week. SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN THE U.S WOULD COST HUNDREDS….you think 3g will work in the Sahara? lol. Camel and facebook- hell yes 😉

My host family’s house is, well to say the least, Moroccan. Something like 6 stories. But it’s so different. First floor – bathroom living room. Second floor, two rooms bathroom. Third floor, kitchen room another living room. And the rest is just more living areas, and prayer areas. Something I didn’t expect, but it’s very interesting to say the least!

Last night I went on a random adventure with a Canadian guy studying here at the institute with me. I needed to get to a shopping area to buy a towel and other amenities. Turns out, thank God, he knows one that’s within walking distance. I got what I needed, then we decided to go fine some high quality dining. In Morocco is actually hard to find a restaurant that serves Moroccan food. Families make Moroccan food at home; they go out for French food! Which is what we did, a high quality dining experience at one of the best hotels in Morocco – Hotel Rabat. Servers speak French to you, serve you on silver platters, organize your table for you as you eat – everything. thing is, the food was about the same price as, I don’t know, an Apple Bee’s in the U.S. My Moroccan standards- expensive. By U.S standards for what cha got – CHEAP.  I hated the fact my plate ended up having Pork on it……but we WERE in a Western style hotel (French actually) So I should have expected as much. Nevertheless, pork aside, was still pretty good. Before had we actually get to a pub and listened to music and had a drink – the singer was amazing!

I type this as I use my 3g, sitting outside under an Arabian style tent with pillows, rugs and blankets! It’s beautiful and I think this is going to be a great adventure! I got my class placement just now and I did get into the level I am supposed to be at. (Advanced Beginning – Low Intermediate ) I’ll be where I need to be upon return to Michigan.

(AS ALWAYS: Pictures come eventually! I have not been able to take pictures as of yet, but I will tomorrow for sure!(EDIT: Pictures come flowing in! 🙂 )

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Tent

DSCF0989

Back yard of Qalam center
Back yard of Qalam center

Morocco in 2 short days!

Yes, the time has finally come! On Saturday I hop on a plane to Rabat, Morocco where I will be spending the next two months of my life! With dedication to this next amazing chapter in my life, I have dedicated a powerpoint to learning some of the basic Arabic Language! This Powerpoint is made especially for those with little to no Arabic study (I didn’t even include any of the Arabic script as I know how hard it is to read it especially as a beginner) And although I know my imperfection is great, I still believe this could be helpful to those interested in Arabic! I have some very very tiny mistakes I noticed in the powerpoint but it’s all harmless little grammar tid-bits that most natives would not even notice! (like, i might have forgotten to put what we refer to as “AL” (THE) in arabic in some places) I will be posting all about my trip here on my WordPress (and on my tumblr notwithoutwings.tumblr.com) so follow me and stay posted! 🙂

Maa’salama! (Bye!)

basic-arabic-useful-phrases-and-grammar-rules