From Kadie in Morocco

First of all, a million apologies for the hiatus in posting…amazing how quickly life picks up and becomes “routine” and you forget that, oh wait, I’m living the experience of a lifetime, and should probably write some of it down. Anyway…

So somehow over the course of my first month here, Fes has become “home.” It has those aspects of certain familiarity that, upon returning after a weekend away, just make me feel like I’m coming back to where I belong. It’s also everything I associate with my day-to-day routine, including the ever-stressful and overwhelming class schedule. And I know my medina streets, at least in and out of my little neighborhood, (the rest of the medina is still a mystery), but the woman who owns the corner shop down the street from my house nods hellos of recognition to me now whenever I walk by, and the owner of the sweet shop outside the center we all study at welcomes us with smiles and ‘how are yous’ every day now. It is a phenomenon I’m beginning to get used to, when the “foreign” becomes the “familiar.” And I couldn’t be more in love with it. Of course, there is still too much to learn about this city and this country, and I don’t by any means claim to know even a small fraction of the culture yet, but I do know that it already feels like home, that the roots I’ve laid down so far are going to be hard ones to rip out when it’s time for me to leave again.

And those roots I’m talking about aren’t just embedded in to this city and culture, but with my family and with all my fellow students as well. Two weekends ago, some of us took a trip to Chefchaoun, which is “easily” accessed by a nice 4 hour long bus ride through the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. This little city is BEAUTIFUL and tucked away in the most picturesque of valleys. The air was noticeably cleaner, and the weather noticeably wetter, and the people noticeably far less concerned with our presence…except of course when they wanted to sell us “kif.” But, if one ignores all the hustlers, and the police always walking around trying to catch them, then Chaoun can be really fun.

The history of the town is fascinating, and I’m not going to attempt to summarize it here, as I’ll probably get some details wrong, but it has been inhabited and controlled by almost every group of people one can imagine in Northern Morocco, and it’s now famous because the Jewish immigrants that arrived in the 20th century decided to paint the ENITRE town blue. So, walking through the streets, it’s as if we were dropped in to someone’s technicolor daydream…so many shades of such perfect blues, all attempting to erase all worries of the rain and the cold, and open our eyes to how beautiful our surroundings were. Wandering the streets was impossible without a million and a half stops to take pictures. And when we found ourselves with a few hours without rain, hiking up the closest mountain was the surest way to be absolutely blown away by the most picturesque scenery I have ever encountered. I found myself, once again, extremely frustrated at how the pictures I was capturing on my camera just were NOT doing the real scenes justice. The hiking felt amazing, and the friends I was with made it that much better, and, as everyone who knows me would guess…seeing more of the world always puts me in a better mood. 🙂

My friend, Ameir, and I in front of the REALLY small doors all over Chefchauen.

Me! With the view of Chefchauen in the background!

Playin in the rain in the streets.

My friend, Liz, and I in front of the waterfalls that get more and more beautiful the higher up the mountain you go.

THIS is Chefchauen.

Some cute little flower pots, blue of course.

Me!

MY favorite little café in the entire town and my favorite chairs EVER.

And it doesn’t stop there, this last weekend; we took a trip to the south of Morocco, and had the MOST tourist-y weekend one can imagine, touring the Sahara Desert on camel-back. It was a long ride (about 7-8 hours) but the entire weekend was full of the most ridiculous, stereotypical pictures of what a weekend in the desert should be like. I thought the Sahara was a lot like other deserts I’ve been too…maybe a tad more colorful (and by that I’m referencing the people). Oh and p.s.-riding a camel is NOT comfortable, so, while it was fun, and it definitely completed our experience, I now have to deal with the complete inability to sit down with any sort of comfort…who knows how long that’ll last.

So it seems, already, I’m getting a taste for all the different types of “Morocco” there is to experience. I’ve done the mountain-village, the desert, the beach, etc. Morocco really does have it all, and I’m beginning to fear that I might not have time to explore it all…three months really does go by so fast.

Camels!

Meet Aisha.

Our shadows on the sand were mesmerizing…

Camel tracks in the Sahara.

Berber man just hanging out on the dunes.

Sunset in the Sahara.

Returning home late Sunday night to news of the U.S. (and “allied” forces) and the airstrikes on Libya wasn’t exactly the best homecoming present I’ve ever received, but one can only hope that things can only go up from here? We’ll see…

OH and p.p.s, in my Arabic media class the other day we were discussing campaign/ protest slogans, and our professor asked us what our home university slogan or saying was…and we had two badgers in the class who had no real idea, so I’m posing the question, to anyone who knows, do we have an official “slogan?” The best we could come up with was “On Wisconsin” or “When you say ‘Wisconsin,’ you’ve said it all!” Haha…both of which are representative I feel like, but I’m not sure if either would count as “official.” ANYWAY…say hi to Bascom hill for me! And remember that climbing up that every day on the way to class is a piece of cake compared to the dunes we had to hike up in the Sahara…. J

Until next time y’all…

1 thought on “From Kadie in Morocco”

  1. Love your post Kadie! Your photos are beautiful–so jealous! Hmm, good question about what the UW slogan is–the Wisconsin Idea comes to mind which is that education should influence and improve people’s lives beyond the university classroom.

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