"We are all limited by our own experiences..."
I love Morocco.
I love the place. I love the people. I love the adventure.
I love the opportunity to engage in "religious" conversations, comparing beliefs and values and morals.
I love waking up every morning to the sun peeking over the mountains. That's right- there are mountains in Africa. And I'm live right up in them.
I love experiencing a culture different from my own and learning a few words of the local dialect. I love walking into town for breakfast and eating ice cream at least three times as often as I do at home.
I love how meals are long gatherings because taking time to sit and talk with friends and classmates before, during, and after your meal is valued above being on time to things or getting homework done. American individuality could learn a lot from the community valued in other cultures. It makes life more pleasant and easier to handle when you don't try to do it all on your own and at top speed.
I love having very few items here with me. Learning simplicity brings freedom to life.
Now, not everything is perfect, but nowhere in the world is perfect. Living life here looks an awful lot like living life anywhere else. They just speak a different language and eat at later times and have a few rules we don't.
What in the world have I been up to?
-When Dad and I arrived in Morocco we spent a day in Casablanca before heading to Fes for a couple nights. We explored and tried new foods and saw one of the most incredible Sacred Spaces in the world.
-The first weekend here I took a trip to the city of Rabat with a bunch of people I had just met. We wandered around trying to navigate with very little Arabic. We ate dinner at 11pm like it was normal. We squeezed extra people into cars and tried to hide them when we passed security checkpoints. We adventured and enjoyed a new place.
-I went back to Fes with a couple of girls and we shopped for beautiful hand-crafted goods.
-I went on a hike with the Interfaith Alliance group and shared a massive plate of couscous with those I happened to sit next to. I witnessed a vegetarian eating her first bite of chicken in 12 years that day. I also met several new people and heard their stories as we walked across streams and through random fields and somehow ended up where we were supposed to go.
-I got lost in the woods with my friends one day when we went hiking but it wasn't a big deal. We just sat in the dirt and talked and listened to music before deciding we should probably figure out where we were. We walked right into a shepherding village and it took us at least an hour to walk the road back into town.
-One of my best friends boxes, and he decided he would train us all, so I had my first experience hitting someone in the face and getting hit in return.
-I went to Casablanca with a friend of mine who lives there. We ate pancakes and watched a chick-flick and got Starbucks- normal life stuff.
-CHEFCHAUEN. Let's talk about a beautiful city. All of the walls are painted blue, and no one knows why. We explored the city and climbed a ways up a mountain to get a nice view of the sunset. We hiked two hours to a waterfall that was colder than any water I've ever submerged myself in. We stayed up late and talked like old friends and watched cats try to slip through our windows into our room. I loved the experience and the city, but I mostly loved the group.
-I went on a beach retreat with the Christian community here in Ifrane. We spent lots of time talking and eating together but also explored the idea of seeking God's kingdom, challenging one another and being refreshed in the Lord. We swam in the salty waves and took a moonlit walk on the beach. I am thankful for community here.
-My typical days have lots of homework, some time in class, and lots of time talking to friends, going out to eat, or star-gazing.
Here's the bottom line: I love Morocco. I recommend it to anyone considering coming and to everyone who hears Morocco and thinks "Moscow."
BUT experience is really about the people. My Moroccan friends are so kind and have stepped in as a family while I cannot be with mine. My international friends are just as kind and fun and are great travel buddies. God has blessed me with this opportunity.
As a few quick last thoughts for this quick update:
Do not judge a place or a people group or a race based on popular media.
Get outside of the city and look at the stars.
Make the most of where you are. You are living life to experience it. Participate in it.
God is good and He alone sustains. Don't forget to turn to Him.
Remember that you are limited by your experiences. Changes in perspective challenge you and help you grow immensely.
Treat yourself to such an opportunity :)
- I have recently been elected as the Interfaith Alliance Co-President here on campus. I have NO idea what my responsibilities in this role will look like, but pray that I take full advantage of the opportunity to serve and to serve well.
- Distance: There are days I have a hard time being far from my family. As we just lost my grandmother, my heart hurts to be separated from them. Pray that I will be ever-reminded of my place here and that conversations even of death could lead to conversations about eternal life.
Thank you for your prayers and support! Sorry it took me so long to give report :)