Tag Archives: Finals

Ce n’est pas Maroc…

8 Jun

Instead of harming the internet, my friends, family, and imaginary group of avid readers with another blog, URL link, and page that will never be checked, I’ve decided to update my current page and continue to use it as my source for these “musings.”

It’s been a while since the last update, and many things have occurred since then. My triumphant return to the U.S was relatively dull, and my subsequent month in NY even duller. I mean, let’s face it, after 4 months in Morocco, daily showers, utensils and a soft legitimate bed had never before in my life been so welcoming, but that’s not the stuff that makes stories. No one wants to read about how I was nice and clean, could eat whatever whenever, and slept like a baby at night. Comfort and convenience don’t build character, and idle hands find a video game controller much more easily than they should. As you can tell from this short description, there isn’t much here to tell other than that I caught up with my friends, relaxed, and tried to digest everything that had just happened to me.

My final week in Morocco was filled with exams, so like any other finals week, it was nothing but stressful. However, after writing over 100 pages of double space material over the course of the semester on nothing other than the shabby (but lifesaving) computers in my family’s house and the internet cafes, I will never again complain about any technological set-up that I have in the U.S. No matter what it is, anything would be easier than trying to pen a final paper under cover of night in my house hoping someone doesn’t yell at me for using the computer, or sitting in a humid internet café jammed next to 4 chatting Moroccans trying to pen a worthy research paper on a questionably legal version of Microsoft Word. After a trial like that, you begin to appreciate your good fortune in a way you never thought possible. With perseverance, some help and a little luck, everything I penned turned out decently, and I was proud of the work I accomplished. I ran the gauntlet, and spent my final hours in Morocco seeing my first sunrise and pre-dawn (much easier when you just don’t go to sleep), saying my final goodbyes and avoiding any embarrassing displays of emotion in the process (الحمد لله, or “praise be to god”), and buying all those presents I had been avoiding shopping for until my final day. My trip back was the closest to Odysseus I’d ever felt, and it was damn good to be home.

After a few days home, however, the mindset that had made me comfortable in Morocco turned around to slap me square in the face. It’s that cruel mistress we like to refer to as “reverse culture-shock.” It took the form of a crippling boredom, and a general frustration with my fellow countrymen that I question if I will ever get over. Questions like “did you eat dirt there?” “Did you have electricity?” “Did you sleep in the dirt?” still provoke a muscle spasm or knee-jerk reaction that forces me to bite my tongue lest my vocal chords betray me and turn me into “that guy.” These questions, whether joking or earnest, serve as a painful reminder that most people will never know what I know, but more importantly and depressingly, they don’t care either. When ignorance takes the step toward bigotry, toward misconception, toward an ill-informed life, I can’t help but simmer inside. Most people see Islam as nothing more than a sadistic-psycho with a really long beard chanting “death to America” and women with a veil and no rights. Maybe you don’t believe that, and maybe those people joking to me about me eating the same material I sleep and walk on don’t believe it either, but if we continue to perpetuate these defamations, all we do is perpetuate a subconscious feeling of superiority. When we start to break down these notions though, and begin to see people for who they are, we all begin to see that the struggles we face are universal. We all bleed, cry, laugh, love, hate and die. We all fight with our parents, friends, lovers and people who work at the DMV. Regardless of who you are, how big your pocketbook, brain, ego or muscles are, you will always be more like other people than you think, and only once we are able to realize this on a large scale, our path through history will not change. It’s not easy, and I myself have been guilty of these mistakes, but all it really takes is some self consciousness, and a desire and drive to improve. No one can ever ask anything more of you.

*Steps off Soapbox*

These concepts developed during my time in Morocco, and have continued even to today. In a way, this is what I feel my experiences have taught me. You may not arrive at the same end, but I can guarantee you that after 4 months away from your own language, your own culture, everything looks different. It’s an experience I will never forget, and one that will forever be a part of me. Looking back after a month has past; I don’t feel as if much has changed from the last time I wrote. I’ve fallen back into my previous life, but I will continue to feel this way for a long time to come.

My next adventure has brought me to a totally different environment, a small town on the French Mediterranean called Hyeres. I have only been here for 5 days, and the sights and smells have already begun to captivate me. The town is gorgeous, and I’ve had very few complaints so far. I’m slowly trying to remove the obnoxious “In Morocco…” from my vocabulary, and experience this for what it is, not for what it is compared to my last experience. In the end, however, I know that my knowledge will be helpful, as I’m already feeling comfortable here. In the end, I think that, just like my last experience, the people, sights and adventures will captivate me as long as I am ready and willing.  I hope the stories in my next post will be proof of this thesis.

Time to bridge the language gap:

Fi Mustakbell, Inshallah (In the future, if god wills it)

Will now be,

Si tous marche bien (If all goes well)

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