I will elaborate in a blog later on, when I’ve got more time, but I have to write this stuff down.
I’m experiencing so much everyday with all of the new people I get to meet and the conversations I’m having, hearing multiple languages and point of views; it’s as if I’m getting lost in my own head. I told my mom this and ironically she gave me the same advice that my Three Religion, 3 People’s, One God professor gave our class yesterday…don’t write to impress, write to express.
And I HAVE TO express to all of my friends, family, and other readers how my home stay is going so far. I’m living with 4 beautiful souls that you’re going to hear plenty of things about. There is Fouzia, my house momma, Omar and Soufiane, my house brothers, and Jess, my roommate that I met at the University of Arkansas in Intensive Arabic I. We originally planned to study abroad together the first class we had because we were both interested in going somewhere in the Middle East or Morocco to further our study in the Arabic language. We landed on Morocco for many reasons that you’ll soon read about in another post later on.
Homestay. I want everyone of you that are considering to study abroad to please please consider staying with a family within your host city. I’m learning about the language, culture, and myself so much more than I think I would have living in an apartment. It’s crazy because this was the one thing that I was worried about before I left the states. All of my friends asked me how I was feeling and what I thought it would be like, and I kept saying I hope my home stay goes well. Fouzia really makes us feel at home. We eat three meals a day, normally a Moroccan dish, but yesterday she made us homemade pizza. Typically tea, coffee, and pastries in the morning, a big lunch, and a late dinner. Omar and Soufiane, her sons are our age, so it’s been amazing seeing the city through a locals eyes that we have so much in common with.
Speaking of similarities, I’ve started to play guitar, so I brought it with me on this journey. My 2nd night here, I found out that Omar started playing a couple months ago, so not only have I been practicing, but we’ve been able to teach each other new things.
My new friend Tabby, from Washington State, told me a quote when we were eating Tajine in Marrakesh…”with music, you don’t have to understand it, you feel it.” Jess, Omar, and I first met this week and we’ve already become pretty great friends and part of what helped break the ice if you will, was him coming into our room because he saw my guitar case. He may not have none exactly what to ask me in English, but he knew he could play the guitar. We both knew that. Also being in the car with Jess and Omar we both like Biggie Smalls, and Khaled’s “C’est la vie” even though Omar would answer the phone in Arabic and have conversations the entire afternoon in Arabic to everyone we were around except us. We have many things in common, and a lot of people in the states have this mentality of this culture as so much different than us at home. There are different customs, beliefs, languages, etc. but we also have so much to learn from each other. And share.
Omar, Soufiane, and Fouzia all speak French, Arabic, and English, but we each are teaching one other a lot about our own languages. They are also all Muslim, which I am sure is a question many of my friends have asked. Probably more liberal and “open-minded” is what they called it to one other, in comparison to others, but we can have conversations about Islam, politics, religious differences, without prejudice.
I wanted to talk about the elephant in the room because it is September 11th and I see many posts on Facebook about the lives that were lost in the United States by the terrorist group in 2001 that associated themselves as an Islamic organization. I’m not writing this blog to make light of the situation, but to encourage every one of you not to lose faith in people. Today is about love, not fear. There are good and bad people everywhere and we are all here to do one thing. To love. The Muslim family that I’m living with here share the same values as we do, to do good. They welcomed two strange American girls into their home and have really made us feel like part of the family. I’m in awe with who they are and how much they are teaching me. I know that reading this you still will not understand how wonderful they are or this place is, but I hope that if anything you get something out of this post and from my further posts to come.
الله يرحمهم (May God rest their souls)
مع كامل عشقي (With all my love),