Cultural Experiences and Trying New Things

In the past week or so I have tried some new things and am eager to share my experiences. It includes surfing, communal bathing, adventuring and trying new foods.

Surfing in Rabat

Cowabunga! Lets begin with surfing! A group of some of us from the ISA program traveled for a weekend trip to Rabat, Morocco. We had stayed at a surf hostel right in the medina. This hostel was very cool and extremely convenient because of its close access to the ocean and the medina. We also had rich conversations with other people staying in the hostel from all over. We met people from Spain, London, the states, other abroad students and got to have language exchanges. We got to have rich conversations in Spanish, some French, and talked about life, politics, travelling, and shared long through the night. We sipped tea, shared snacks and stories while enjoying one another’s experiences, the view, and the sunset.

Now, surfing how did it go you might ask? Well in all honesty I had completely failed at mastering surfing. We put on our wet suits, grabbed the surfboards and were on our way to the cold ocean. It was a beautiful sunny day and the waves were not too big, which is perfect for us! We ran some laps on the beach to warm up our bodies, do some stretches and were on our way. I swam with excitement to try my first wave, but wiped out immediately when the wave hit me. I tried again and again and got similar results. I found it comical in my attempts as I would stand for such a short time on the board then be washed up on the shore from a serious wipe out. Others in the group were much better at getting the flow of standing and balancing. I found myself often being wiped out by the wave, but I did make progress and this was just my first time surfing. I had really enjoyed trying something new and I felt as if I had absolutely no worries when thinking about surfing.

I remember being out on the ocean and hearing the call to prayer and just enjoyed the moment while wading untop my board. I took in the moment of the sounds, the smells of the ocean, and the beautiful sight of the ocean. The call to prayer is something I had never experienced hearing really before. And now it is a part of my everyday life. For me when I hear call to prayer, I allow myself to not think about my daily tasks or stressors and to just enjoy what I currently am doing or have accomplished that day no matter how big or small.

Hammam Experience

Now communal bathing is such a weird concept for Westerners, I know it was for me too. But guess what I faced my fear and have lived to tell the tale of going to the Hammam with other students in my program, and bathe with the local women. Yes I loved it and it was a very rich cultural experience you should definitely try when going to Morocco. It is a way for women in the community to come together, converse, and be pampered. It is a very basic room with faucets all around the room and is hot like a sauna. We enjoyed being pampered with the argan oil soap, lathered in henna, getting scrubbed and a deep exfoliation. I would go again, but I will give it some time for the exfoliation was pretty intense and my skin would need a break.

Culture and Food

I have had no issues with adapting to the Moroccan foods and have enjoyed many of the dishes I have encountered. For one I am very open when it comes to trying new foods and am willing to at least try it. Moroccan food includes a lot of color and the presentation of the food is important. Couscous is a must for Fridays and often a “siesta” or afternoon nap follows as a tradition I could definitely get used to. The rest of their foods include tagines, stewed vegetables, rice, potatoes, beans, seasoned meat, and bread to eat it with. I will miss having Moroccan mint tea everyday as I can easily drink a whole pot by myself. Enjoy some pictures of foods I have tried and I will continue to keep trying new foods.

This was sooo delicious. B’stilla with tamtuka and olives. Tamtuka is eggplant with tomatoes stewed together. The b’stilla is filled with vegetables and had a lemony fried bread.

This is pastilla a sweet bread covered with powdered sugar and chicken stuffed inside. Also bread for the side and I got eggplant with it.

This is a vegetable tagine, on the side is the meat kebabs, and featuring my favorite– Moroccan mint tea 🙂

Salam, until the next blog!

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