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Monday, 05 May 2008

An American in Morocco - Page 2

Written by Kristin Cantu
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It’s human nature to want to explore and discover as much as possible about the world around us. Some of us use vacations to exotic destinations to get our fix. Others take part in community service projects abroad, whether it is for one week in the Dominican Republic or a couple of years in the Peace Corps.

INTRAVEL: What were your living accommodations during your first stay for your study abroad program?

ME: I was living with a wonderful host family in the Rabat Medina, or the 'old city' in Rabat.  I had four younger host siblings and two parents. Their home was quite traditional (as are most homes in the Medina). For example, they only had a Turkish toilet (a flushable hole in the ground) and a barely functional shower -instead we made regular trips to the public bathhouse, which I grew to love!  My host mother was sort of the epitome of a loving Moroccan mother; I got at least three or four kisses on the cheek whenever I came home.  And she was such a wonderful cook!  I still think her food is the best I've had here.

INTRAVEL: What made you decide to return to Morocco?

ME: I had recently graduated college, was relatively tie-free, and was looking to do something before I got a serious job.  A couple of my friends from studying abroad had gotten grants to come back to Morocco and knew someone in Marrakech who was looking for a roommate.  I was really excited at the idea of coming back to Morocco since I had loved my time here so much the first time around.  I came with some savings and a three-month plan of tutoring English lessons and traveling.  But, things worked out much better than I could have expected and now I've been here about a year and a half.

INTRAVEL: What sort of work do you do in Morocco?

ME: I am an elementary school teacher at an international primary school.

INTRAVEL: What are your living accommodations now?

ME: Well, I've had several.  First I lived in the Medina here in Marrakech in a traditional house, which had been converted into apartments.  I really loved it there. I had an amazing neighborhood where I could buy almost everything I could need - there were a plethora of vegetable and fruit sellers and bodega type shops literally right outside my door.

Now I live in the ville nouvelle in an apartment that the school I work for owns.  I'm living with another teacher from the school.  The apartment is totally modern, with an air conditioner, washing machine etc. and there are lots of nice restaurants in the neighborhood, but I miss the Medina neighborhood.

INTRAVEL: What are the challenges of being an American who lives and works in Morocco?

An American in Morocco, Maura Ewing, studying in Morocco, study abroad program in Rabat, Rabat Medina, teaching at an international primary school, Marrakech, Moroccan lifestyleME: I think the hardest part is to feel like an observer instead of a participant in so many situations.  Even though people are generally warm and welcoming, you always feel a bit outside of what is happening. Even in everyday situations like going to the market or sitting in a cafe.  I always feel like there is a lot going on that I don't understand, and it's impossible not to stick out like a sore thumb.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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