I had to dedicate a post to all the cats in Morocco. Everywhere we went, there was a cat: skinny, fat, mangy, cute; you name it, we probably saw it. They found corners, crevasses, walls, chairs, cars, counter tops or anything else with a bit of a surface to sit on. We even found some in the airport, next to us in a restaurant, and napping on a motorcycle seat. Its no wonder Rabat and Casablanca don’t seem to have a rat problem.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
We all are aware that poverty exists throughout the world; however when it is put in front of your face, like it was for me this weekend, the definition and value of the word “poverty” is splattered with vivid colors inside the cavities of my mind. After accidentally wandering into some sketchy neighborhoods (the constant staring while walking through the streets made me feel most uncomfortable) and passing by hundreds of shacks and shanties along the train tracks, I started reviewing images in my head of children playing barefoot, buildings crumbling, and rubbish strewn all over the street. The two days that I was in Morocco gave me a brief view of the quality of living in cities such as Rabat and Casablanca. This does not qualify as an understanding or comprehension of their day to day experiences. However, it did refresh my appreciation for the life that I have now. Here are some of the things I saw. A lot of the neighborhoods and people I saw was not photographed. I feel my photography really couldn’t capture the essence of this dismay.
My trip to Morocco falls into a new category of experiences within my lifetime. It allowed me to completely step out of my comfort zone and see more of the world outside of National Geographic documentaries and magazines that I have viewed. I have had to break up this trip into multiple categories; each representing different aspects of culture and environment that stood out in my mind after reflecting on the few days I spent in Rabat and Casablanca. The next couple blog posts will reflect just this. I hope you enjoy.
A more leisure lifestyle has allowed me to fill my time with different activities, such as cooking, which I usually wouldn’t find myself having time for back in the states. I am finding great satisfaction, both in my taste buds and my belly, when making some of these simple but great dishes. It is a bit of a task finding or adapting to some different ingredients, measurements (note to self: my stove is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit), cooking utensils, or the language of the instructions; however when the smell of the meal wafts throughout the whole apartment, I am happily content. Little things such as these are supplements of joy in my life. I am loving every second.
This advertisement for Cruzcampo Beer does an amazing job displaying the Spanish culture. Here are some of the things that now surround my life. Below is a translation:
Andalusia…Andalusia isn’t where Europe ends, it is where it begins.Here is more or less where the New World began. We have oceans, fields, snow and deserts. We have everyone from cowboys to British soldiers. And we have art, a lot of art. El Andaluz isn’t an accent, it’s Castillian Spanish amongst friends. And the blondes are never alone – they come accompanied by tapas. Here, we don’t eat tomatoes; we drink them. Our bullfighting costumes aren’t made of light, they give light. And our sports matches always have a third round.
In Andalucia, horns don’t scare us: we fight them. We don’t unbutton our shirts, we tear them open. We don’t walk down the street, we drink it. In Andalucia, we don’t exaggerate. Everyone else just underestimates. We love olive oil, ham and colored lanterns. We love friendship, passion and midday dreaming. We love those who have left us, and those who have stayed. We love that art, that smile, that pride, that green, that white! We Andalusians love this place, and we cheers to it with this beer.
Every year ICADE hosts an integration weekend for the international students to help break the cultural barriers between the Spanish, French, German, Irish, English, Italians, and Americans within our class. School can be a bit intimidating the first couple weeks; especially with all of us coming from such different backgrounds. After spending some very close days bonding at a resort in a secluded area of Spain, we got to know each other very well. A couple of team activities, a bit of drinking, and some partying later, we soundly slept on the bus ride back with a new appreciation for our new friendships found within our classmates.
Moving to a new place is tough. And I have realized this decision to move to Spain has been no exception. It has been a little over a month now and I have finally started to settle in and create my own routine. Little things like buying fresh bread everyday on my way home from class, enjoying my new favorite snack, or trying something a little new with my style has grounded me to adapt to my new home. There has even been a little room for my wild and spontaneous side to come out.