If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.
This summer, June 17-July 26 2013, I have the monumental honor of traveling to the majestic and unique country of Morocco. I recently found out I am one of the recipients of a scholarship which is given to high school students from the State Department to study critical languages abroad, NSLI-Y. I will be studying Arabic in Morocco (either Rabat or Marrakech, I don’t know yet) for nearly 6 weeks this summer. I enormously grateful, and am so excited I don’t know what to do with myself. Since I found out about my acceptance, I have been researching Moroccan culture, history, customs, etc. I have found that though in the past I had recognized Morocco as a pretty cool place, I had no idea the degree of “pretty coolness” it is host to in reality. With each thing I read comes deeper curiosity and fascination. I have to admit though, I read a couple of web pages detailing the non-use toilet paper, and the new custom which I am not as enthusiastic about. Throughout my previous travels (specifically, Peru, Colombia, and Turkey) I have often encountered difficult and trying experiences having to do with my good friend TP. I have never, however, had to go for an extended period of time without toilet paper. Apparently, in Morocco (indeed in many, if not all, Muslim countries) they wash themselves with their left hand and some water. Nast. This is the reason they do not use their left hand when they eat (they don’t often use western eating utensils). Frankly, I am dreading it. I guess it is just a price I will have to pay for my interest in the Middle East. *insert long sigh here. This little discovery however has not, for the most part, lessened my anticipation for this trip. I have been studying Arabic feverishly, no able to get enough. I have to admit, I have suffered a few headaches while trying to wrap my head around the foreign sounds and alphabet. I have treated these with a hot cup of “Moroccan Mint” flavor tea (in expectation for the excess of mint tea I will surely be consuming). I hope to have mastered the Alphabet, sounds, and basic conversational skills by the time I leave for DC (we have a couple of orientation days before leave), as well as having a basic grasp on what I should expect as far as customs and cultures, and have a good enough understanding of current events and history as to avoid embarrassing myself.
In summation, I am hugely excited for this incredible opportunity, and hope to use this blog as a method of documenting my experiences and extending my knowledge. Hopefully coming up will be summaries of what I have learned thus far and some of the things I hope to learn.
Here are some links about Morocco because I just discovered this fantastic little trick. Meheheh.