The question on everyone’s lips was the same.
“Are you excited for Morocco!?”
I would answer with a simple but enthusiastic “yes!” to appease them, however, the reality of my fast-approaching semester away had not yet hit.
Nor had it set in as I got accepted, while packing, or even on my ride to the Montreal International airport.
My a-ha-moment finally arrived just as I did over the Moroccan city of Casablanca. Through the plane’s circular window was the breath-taking foreign sight of red-tinted buildings that went on for miles.
For this semester, no longer do I have to face the cold winds each day walking to Leavenworth or god-forbid, the Old Chapel. My next three months include exploring, studying, and experiencing life in Meknès, Morocco.
Located in the northern part of the country, about a four-hour drive from the Strait of Gibraltar, I have made myself at home in Morocco for the past week now. Though I’ve yet to begin classes, my program, ISA Meknès has instead given me and the other students a crash course on the country and culture all around us.
Upon landing, we immediately began traveling to various parts of Morocco.
We toured Casablanca, Marrakech, Ouzoud, and finally our host city of Meknès.
So far, I’ve gotten lost in the endless stalls in the medina, hiked to the largest waterfall in Morocco, and have drowned myself so much mint tea I’m unable to see life without it now. Our program group is small but mighty with 16 students. We’ve only known each other for less than a week but get along like it’s been months.
When we first stepped into our new apartment, a delicious smell wafted toward us. Our housekeeper, Mona, who the program hires to cook and clean, had prepared us a welcome feast.
On the table sat a roasted chicken and five traditional Moroccan side dishes.
After the meal, my housemates and I moved to the couches and shared coffee, mint tea, and cake that Mona had also crafted for us. As we blew the steam from the tops of our mugs, we began reminiscing on all memories we’d already made and promised ourselves to make this the best semester possible.