The past few days have been interesting. Classes have finally started for me, which means I am busy busy busy. Classes are conducted entirely in Arabic (either Modern Standard or Moroccan) except for a handful of English words to explain something we’ve never heard before. Classes last between 4-5 hours per day and then homework typically has lasted another 2-5 hours. Thankfully, the homework has slowly decreased over the past few days, but I don’t expect that to be the norm. I hope for 3 hours of homework a night.
I was really excited to have my first real conversation with a native (that’s not tied to the school). It was the first time I was in town. It was just some random passerby in the street. He greeted us and talked to some of my friends and I. We didn’t talk about that much, just the school and what we’re doing in Morocco, but I was thrilled. I’m excited to be getting out into town and such and getting to speak in Arabic. The town of Ifrane is really beautiful, it’s nice and quiet, and the weather is perfect (about 90 F at most so far). My classes so far have been focusing solely on Darija, Moroccan Arabic, so I’m struggling a bit to get some of it down. I’ll be trying to go into town and use more and more Darija so I can get it down/talk more fluidly. As for Fusha (Modern Standard Arabic) and Arabic in general, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten better. It’s now really easy for me to hear (as long as it’s in a fairly quiet place), understand, and form Arabic sentences in Fusha. I can’t wait to be using more and more Arabic. My friends and I will begin conversing in Arabic (because why use English?)
Today, for part of class, we went into town (Ifrane) to a restaurant. The objective to activate some of our Darija knowledge and skills. We had to order what we wanted in Darija and, later on, pay the exact amount and ask for change in Darija. It wasn’t that hard. During the time that we ate, we worked on other drills out of our book. Moroccan tea, by the way, is delicious. Try it with some mint. You have to if you ever visit.
Though there are some apparent differences in the culture and ways that people act here, there are a lot of similarities I’ve found. Many people are fairly polite and kind, like in the South USA where I live now. The Moroccan tea, actually, tastes like Southern US sweet tea. The music and food is very similar to that my own (my parents’, really) culture in Guyana/West Indies and there are a couple of western influences. Honestly, every day I wake up, it doesn’t feel much different from back home. I wake up, go to school, do homework, chill with friends, and so on. I don’t get the feeling that I’m in a different or strange place. It just happens to be that the activities are in Arabic instead of English. While it is important to recognize the differences in others (and other cultures), I think it’s more important to recognize how much is similar.
What I am looking forward to the most is volunteering at a local youth center. As part of this program I am participating in, we volunteer in the local community. It seems that most people in this program will be volunteering in some sort of youth center, but some have been placed in other environments such as women’s centers. I am looking forward to working with the children as well as being in an environment where virtually no one speaks English (Many people speak English, French, Darija, and MSA at the school).
I’ll be going to Fes and Meknes this weekend, so more on that later!
Haha. I’m flattered.
Spero me posse implere tui expectationes. In futura spero facere plus.
Due to internet issues, homework, and the like, my usual posts will be less frequent (if any). I will, however, be sharing with you a lot of the cool stuff I am doing/learning in Al-Magrhib (Morocco).