Free Time in Morocco

If you asked me to describe what a regular day in Morocco might look like for me, I don’t think I could do it. Each day seems to have an adventure of its own. Of course, I have classes every day, but even those aren’t a reliable basis for a steady schedule as one class meets just once a week, two classes meet twice a week, one class meets three times a week, and so on. Even the way I spend my time in between classes can turn out quite differently. Sometimes it’s homework, other times it’s connecting with friends, and yet other times its going out to grab a snack from a hanute (small corner shop), tea, or if I’m feeling particularly hungry, chawarma.

                Sometimes it seems that simply stepping out the door opens another to an adventure, no matter how small. Of course, part of this feeling may just be that there are so many new things to look at, even in heavily westernized Rabat, that I think everything is new and interesting. Still, it’s not hard to find a new experience, even if it’s only talking to someone on the street. People in Morocco are so open and welcoming it’s not hard to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. So far, my friends and I have discussed religion (and have been told numerous times to consider converting to Islam), the Western Sahara (depending on who you ask, the Moroccan Sahara), language, and have scheduled a pick-up soccer game (yet to be played), just to name a few subjects of conversation. Aside from the daily conversations, there is an endless amount of cafes to explore, and the whole maze-like medina (old city) that I can spend hours exploring without getting bored.

                At first, you may think that there are more cafes than there are people, but you quickly realize during the busiest times that this is not the case. Every café will have most of their tables occupied as people come to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It didn’t take long for me to also grow accustomed to this amazing custom. I spend a lot of time at cafés as they are useful both for socializing with friends and for a change of scenery when I need to get large amounts of homework done.

                About once a week my schedule will allow me to go surfing, which has quickly become one of my favorite ways to spend my free time. Learning how to surf has always been one of my goals, and thanks to my proximity to the beach, it’s now possible. I’ve started learning at the man-made beach just underneath the city’s Kasbah where the breakwaters yield small waves perfect for complete beginners. However, I hope to move over to the next beach where I can practice on bigger waves as I progress with the basics of surfing.

                One thing I had no idea I would do when I came to Morocco is to teach English, but when I learned about the opportunity I jumped at it. I had no experience teaching English and therefore was slightly apprehensive at first about exactly how I would be able to teach, but the program coordinators quickly reassured us that some of the best English teachers (or teachers of any language) use only English to teach. Furthermore, the students that my friend and I have been teaching already know enough English to be conversational, so the main goal now is to find activities that will challenge them to practice new grammar and vocabulary.

                Café-sitting, surfing, and teaching are three consistent activities I know I’ll continue to do for the rest of my time here. However, who knows what will happen with the rest of my free time-I’m sure that I’ll have many more awesome adventures and experiences.


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Filed under Area & Arabic Language Studies, Douglas Tatz, Morocco, Rabat

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