Ahh. There is so much going on that I feel like I need to relax and breathe for a little bit. I like having a busy schedule but it also means that I’ve been doing lots of living in the moment (or whatever you call that lol) instead of slowing down and reflecting on what I’ve done (which is healthy). Honestly a good chunk of what has taken up my days has been various errands that I have to take care of, but it’s also a good feeling to be up and moving—and productive, too.
But it also means that I’m not writing enough! I’ve been journaling most days, but those thoughts are super raw and include to-do lists and ideas and planning and complaints and so on. So that doesn’t really suffice. Before coming here I’ve never really journaled or blogged, and after starting to do so I’ve realized that I really like it and that I’m becoming more perceptive as a result.
I owe this December life update not only to whoever reads this blog, but also to myself.
First: college applications. I’m not done with them yet, but applying to college from abroad was a long process that involved lots of necessary communication that I could only do through email. Long story short: I won’t be able to graduate from my former high school back home because they don’t accept class credit that comes from outside the school—but in order to be eligible for certain colleges that I’m applying to, I will have to acquire a high-school diploma. Right now I’m trying to sign up for an online English course that will, per North Carolina guidelines, give me the last English credit that I need to graduate. I may graduate from adult school in North Carolina or as a homeschool student. I’ll still have to sort the rest of it out.
I’m sad to say that college apps did end up taking up a good chunk of the first few months of my time here in Morocco, but then I remind myself that I am a senior abroad and that by spending my senior year abroad, I’m making the necessary sacrifices to do so. And one of those sacrifices is having to complete college apps here in Morocco. For me, a lot of the time spent was dealing with the logistical issue of applying to college while not graduating from my former high school (since I kind of like writing college essays lmao), but nevertheless it was a huge amount of time spent that I could be using to enjoy Morocco and/or learn Arabic. Oh well. Can’t do anything now! And it’s (almost) over.
Second: school! It’s sometimes good, sometimes not good. Good is when it’s Tuesday and I can spend time talking to my classmates because we have gym class (the girls usually don’t do anything during gym class, the guys play basketball or soccer) for two hours and then French/communications class after that, which isn’t important because it’s not on the baccalaureate exam for our classmates.
Actually, school is good Monday through Thursday. Friday is not good (it’s the only not good day, don’t worry) because there are three hours of math and four hours of physics/chemistry. So I spend seven hours on Fridays copying things down from the board because school here is very memorization based. The teacher tells you exactly what to write down, you write it down, you learn it, and then you don’t ask questions.
Outside of classes, though, I really like my school. It’s like a big family. People are very, very nice.
Third: host family stuff. I will stay in my host family by myself for the rest of my exchange. Before coming on exchange I’d always thought of myself as someone who would almost definitely switch families just because I want to see and experience different things—that was a huge priority for me. However, now, I’m living in my current family for the whole year, I really like my family, and I don’t plan on switching because I like my family a lot. This goes to show how much your expectations for yourself before exchange can change while you’re on exchange, and how unpredictable an exchange year is.
Fifth: internship. I’m still interning at Association Marocaine des Petits Débrouillards—it’s a science/math organization that provides learning opportunities, specifically environmental education, to young children in Moroccan schools. I take the tram to intern with them twice a week and I’m currently doing French-English translations of flyers and card games. I really like my internship and I’m super happy that I found them at the beginning of the year 🙂
Fourth: food. My host mom cooks the most delicious food and it’s hard to stop eating it, haha. Today for dinner she made a cauliflower and cabbage gratin with pumpkin soup, beets, and artichokes ❤ The food from the cafeteria at school is pretty good, too. I’m eating a looooot, but I’ve also started going back to Gym Garden to use their weight machines, so maybe that will even out lol.
Fifth: celebrating the holidays in Morocco. Colleen held a potluck dinner at her house on Christmas eve, and on Christmas day we six YES Abroad students got brunch together and opened our Secret Santa gifts for each other. Then we went ice skating at Mega Mall (an American-ish mall with elevators) with some of our friends at school. They say that the holidays are the hardest time to be an exchange student, but for me it instead reminded me of how lucky I am to be here, that I’m surrounded by great people, and that I’m almost halfway done with my exchange and that I have so little time left in Morocco 😥
Sixth: Darija. I love learning Darija (Moroccan Arabic); it’s a beautiful language that’s a mix of Fus’ha (standard Arabic), French, Spanish, and Amazigh (Berber) languages. I definitely understand more and more, and am able to speak more and more, as the days pass. Some of my happiest moments in Morocco have been speaking Darija to people I sit next to on the tram or people I meet in the streets.
There is a lot going on! But it’s a good thing. I’m excited to share the rest of my exchange with you ❤ 🙂