I am proud to say that I have arrived in Rabat safe and sound, and officially commenced my scholarship. It’s always a bit stressful to make a move to an unfamiliar place, but so far, so good (except for the cold I brought with me from France). I’m already enchanted by the warm hospitality of my host family and the welcoming spirit of the people here. I have thus far also been impressed with the quality of my Arabic language school: Qalam wa Lawh (http://www.qalamcenter.com/).
At the same time, I’m having to learn quickly to adapt to some of the inconveniences of living in a developing country and different culture. I’m glad I finally have an internet modem, if not of the best quality. And though I’ve gotten lost already a couple times, I’ve made some friends along the way who helped me out, and I’ve discovered that in certain areas, it’s better to ask people if they know who your family is and where they live than to ask where the (unlabeled) street name is.
At first I was amused by how people here sometimes mix Arabic and French, mostly using Arabic, but occasionally shifting into French. But then I’ve already found myself doing the same, though the other way around: more French. Maybe that will change during the year as I progress in my studies. As they say here: Insha’llah! In the meantime, “Frerabic” is working rather well 🙂
I also arrived at a particularly apt time. I got to experience the last couple days of Ramadan (month of fasting) and will soon be celebrating tomorrow’s holiday (Eid), marking the end of the month. I did blunder a bit today when the heat muddled my thinking and I quaffed a juice while walking down the street… An hour later I made sense of the disapproving glances and verbal admonition that I had failed to comprehend. Anyways, I’m excited to experience my first Eid with the host family tomorrow!