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FEATURING PABLO

Written on: 4 October 2019

Featured student: Pablo

I arrived so soon

Looking to see a different moon

The air felt unfamiliar

The food seemed superior

But the language to me was all a rune

It has been 2 weeks since I flew away from my last sights of New York, and yet I’m not missing it much. I felt such a warm welcome coming out of the airport in Casablanca. We rode the train towards Rabat watching the landscapes change, the beautiful architecture, and countless groups of people playing futbol. I knew that my life was changed as soon as I looked out that window on that first train ride.

Normally in the States, I hated eating olives. I would avoid them and I would pick them off my pizzas. But my opinion on that pickled tree-fruit changed when I tried my first olive from Morocco in Moulay Idriss. They are absolutely delicious. Olive trees grow everywhere across this semi-arid climate, so you know they are fresh every time you eat one. Even when you’re in one of the countless outdoor cafes or restaurants or even inside the humble homes of the heartwarming people, the olives always taste the same and always a full thumbs up from me.

Speaking of food, don’t even get me started on the delicious food here. I have eaten soooooo much and not once have I been disappointed. Word of caution though… if you are gluten-free, you are going to have a very difficult time here because they eat bread with literally everything. And the bread tastes great, so you know it’s not gluten-free. Good news for vegetarians, there is a variety of meatless options in the cuisine – such as an eggplant based small dish with a wide variety of spices. There is also a popular bean dish, couscous, and vegetarian tajine. For the carnivore, you are absolutely going to love the lamb, the many meat tajin, and all of the chicken. My personal favorite — the delicious perfectly spiced kofta (ground beef) with tomatoes and onions. Add a little bit of soft and fresh khubz (bread), and voila. It is very delicious and satisfying.

One of our other group members, Michelle, pointed out how special the rooftops are…

“ROOFS, ROOFS, ROOFS.” I can’t stress to you how thankful I am to have these countless terraces and roofs to be on top of. The views are great, the sounds are calming and it is a perfect place to close your eyes and just breathe. I have never experienced a feeling like this before in my life, but the skylines of these towns and cities like Moulay Idriss, Fez, and even Azrou have such an energy to them, that can only be described poetically, a vision of vibrant orange with a breeze of lavender aura.

My experience with the music in Morocco has been pleasantly surprising. Gabriel and I spent two weeks searching for a guitar, because without our cell phones, we thought it would be a nice way to keep ourselves and the group musically entertained. While searching, we realized that we hadn’t thought of looking for a more traditional Moroccan instrument. In Azrou, I had my first try at using the Oud – a three-stringed instrument with quite a haunting sound. I didn’t understand the tuning at first, but after around 20 minutes of playing this unfamiliar instrument; we started to pick it up and find recognizable notes. We began crafting songs on the spot.

In conclusion, my experience so far has been magical. Experiencing everything so unfamiliar to me during our time on course is exciting and I’m not sure what to expect for the time ahead. B’slama.

Stay tuned for our next featured student!