OK so this is really cool – I’m on the plane to NY at the moment and I’m using the wifi on the plane FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!
This is so cool, even though it’s slow as sheeeeet – I’ve never really experienced this but this is simply friggin radtastic! And what’s even better is that I am watching Deadpool, while cuddling Jamie the orangutan. Seriously, life’s pretty sweeeeeet atm.
However, I have spent the past 15 or so hours traveling from Casablanca to Rome to Milan and it has been a rollercoaster of emotions! I’ve had a lot of time to reflect back on my experience of living in this strange yet wonderful land of Morocco for the past 3 weeks.
There is a mix of feelings as I think of my time here and am feeling bittersweet having to leave.
On the one hand, I am looking forward to my adventures in Jamaica, being a *real* traveler who catches a bunch of flights to get to their destination, communicating with people in English without the mental strain of not being understood, having a change of cuisine that doesn’t start with T and end with agine 😉 , working with kids who I can help more than ever, and getting one step closer to returning back to Australia, where I’ll be finishing up my studies AND BE REUNITED WITH MY RADELAIDE FAMBAM! ❤
But, on the other hand, there’s the beauty of the friendships that I have created here and how difficult it was to say goodbye, and the beauty of this country as a whole – not having had the time to visit Marrakech or Casablanca or experience the Sahara Desert on a camel, and the super comfy bed that I have been sleeping on, for the past 3 weeks (man, I could really go to sleep right now!!) and taking on the daily challenge of getting through my placement by working hard despite the language barriers. Also, the obvious adrenalin rush that a seasoned traveler gets from traveling to new and unknown areas, from jumping between flights and airports to get to a final destination…to opening your eyes to see the world from a whole, new perspective.
Do you see the predicament I am facing? I guess a traveler doesn’t really have a proper place that they can call “home” – they are always yearning to be on the move, always on the prowl for adventure, always looking for different and unique things to do. So, while I am happy to be moving on to a new family, I’m going to miss the one I called family back in Morocco.
One thing that I am definitely happy to leave behind in Morocco is the daily ordeal of catcalls that I faced every single day as I walked down the Medina, down the street, into a cafe, to school, when fetching cabs, when buying a ticket to a tram…when being out in the open.
If it weren’t for my gazelles, I don’t think I would’ve dared to explore Morocco solo. It was disgusting, uncomfortable, unnerving, and so distressful – and probably one of the major reasons why my anxiety levels were off the charts throughout my 3-week expedition here in the North African country.
In summary (#sorrynotsorry it’s long and not even remotely close to the concept of a summary):
- Morocco is a truly beautiful country, with a vibrant culture, an appealing cuisine, and a gorgeous people – it is best enjoyed when traveling with someone/anyone (preferably someone with a knowledge in the French and/or Arabic language)
- It is super easy to make friends here, if you can pick them right and aren’t shy to approach them with a positive and bubbly personality.
- The speech therapy project I participated in can prove even more beneficial if you know Arabic and have a sound knowledge in topics around the speech pathology field, particularly speech and language intervention in kids with autism, intellectual disability, and cerebral palsy
- Volunteer nights hosted by Projects Abroad is the perfect ice-breaking session that you can use to build new friendships and improve on your self-confidence, in terms of being a people’s person and being approachable (as well as approaching those from a different culture/country)
- Cherish all the moments you have in Morocco – whether good or bad – because you will learn from them and end up a stronger person than you know
- Never underestimate yourself – I thought I was completely useless at my project for the past 3 weeks, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the teachers and assistants in the classroom recognized my work and appreciated my suggestions for improving upon the children’s performance (despite the language barrier)
- If you are overwhelmed by the culture or the project or the people, it is totally acceptable to coop up in your room and devour a jar of Nutella. Seriously, just do it. Or journal your thoughts. Or write a blog (it doesn’t have to be great – case in point 😉 ). Or talk to your friends and hang out with them and collectively bitch about everything that’s going wrong. We all need an outlet of some kind so that we can feel better afterwords. These are just some options I used, but you may be more creative and turn to art or music to do the same.
- Be aware of the necessities that are more like luxuries here (toilet paper, anyone?!) and accordingly stock up on all that you need, especially when you go traveling
- Get a travel money card because OMG is it a convenient little thing and saves you heaps of time (and money, funnily enough).
Also, let your bank know you’re heading overseas. Always use ‘credit’or the ATM might eat up your card (as what happened to one of my friends in Morocco), in which case you’ll need a proof of ID to claim it back from the bank! NOT WORTH THE HASSLE, GUIIIZE.
You’ve pushed me to the limits of adapting and adjusting to new, unknown, and difficult situations and have in return, made me a much stronger person than I was 3 weeks ago!
Ma’a salama, Morocco! xxx