Ahlan wa Sahlan! ..Bienvenue?!

I’m in Casablanca! After being in 3 different continents in 36 sleepless hours, and 6 months of planning and talking about it- I’m here in Africa! My first disappointment of the trip: from the air, Paris looks a lot like Ohio. Somehow I expected it to be more alluring. My plane landed in Paris at the most confusing airport ever- damn you Charles de Gaulle! After catching several buses and going through security all over again, I met up with a wonderful woman, Bonnie, who I happened to start chatting with by chance [after nearly nine hours of not talking to anyone in English I was desperate for some chit chat!] who went to boarding school in Morocco as a teenager and was on her way back to visit some friends. She had so much wonderful advice and helped me manage being in Paris; it was so wonderful to have someone who speaks French looking out for me there! At the gate we met up with two other kids who are in my study abroad program and the four of us stuck together until we got to Casablanca. From the gate we had to take a tram to the actual plane [you quirky Frenchmen!] and from there we made it to Morocco without incident. A cool moment happened on the plane though: a Frenchman was sitting on the end of my row, Bonnie was in the middle, and I was on the other side. Because the Frenchman didn’t speak English and I don’t speak French, the only way for us to communicate was through Bonnie. It was a fun kind of international game of telephone and it really made me pause and appreciate how diverse Europe is. After a turbulent landing, we got separated from Bonnie and Alexa, Patrick and I went through Customs and found our luggage without incident- masha’allah! Then we met up with our ISA group and here comes the fun part: waited in the airport for over five hours for the other participants’ flights to come in. Awful! After being on a plane for a day, the last thing I wanted to do was chill in an airport..but it did give us a chance to all get to know one another. Finally we got on board the coolest tour bus ever- the ceiling was completely carpeted like a 70’s van, -the best part!- the floor wasn’t carpeted; it was covered in GRASS! From there we drove 45 minutes to our hotel and saw some of the most interesting cityscapes, crazed pedestrians, and fabulous homes I’ve ever laid eyes upon. After arriving at Hotel Ajiad, a group of us got showered and went out in search of dinner. It was interesting getting to know everyone and talk and joke around like we had known each other forever; I guess being in a foreign country will do that to you. Also, I’m learning French! Ughhh…gag. I’ve heard more French spoken than Arabic since I’ve been here- yikes! I practiced a little bit with our French waiter tonight- just “oui” and “merci”, but it’s a start! Now, I’m past the point of exhaustion, but we have to be ready to leave the hotel tomorrow morning at 8am, so I’m heading to bed! Goodnight, Casa!

Salaam wa hubb

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