Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Hey everyone! Sorry for not writing in the last 12 days which have been quite hectic.

Why is that? Because I have been attending l'Institut d'Agdal (french school) since Wednesday. I have already described what the school looked like in a previous post so I am going to write about the classes I'm taking, the education system, and the students.

The six classes I'm definitely taking are: French, History-Geography, Biology, Physics-Chemistry, Math, and P.E.

*I'm not taking Arabic since the classes they offer at the school are way too advanced (although I'm taking beginner courses at AMIDEAST). It's unclear whether I am going to take Spanish since I haven't been to the class yet. It's also unclear whether I'm continuing English class since it's so easy.

Since I am attending a french school I can only tell you about the french education system. First of all, students adhering to the french education system rarely have a choice when it comes to the classes their taking which is why I take classes with the same group of students (some classes however combine two groups). It's also worth noting that classes are much longer than the ones in the U.S., lasting up to two hours (However, I don't attend all my classes each day). In addition, there is school on Saturday.

So far, the students have been very friendly and frankly I don't find them much different from the variety of American high school students. The have also been very helpful when it comes to letting me borrow their textbooks (the lack thereof significantly factoring into the hecticness). Despite the help, homework has its highs and lows. I get moody whenever I get stuck on a problem which only increases the sense of elation I get from correctly solving one. I'm slowly but steadily adjusting to this.

I'm sorry I can't add more details but it's getting late and I need to get to bed. To those who are still sticking by after my period of inactivity. Thanks!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Medal-Worthy Saturday

For those of you following this blog, you are all well aware that I haven't written anything about my activities since Friday. Since I am incapable of coherently writing down my experiences of the past six days in this post, I decided to only write about Saturday, September 1st (which is the most interesting of the six).

The first interesting experience of that day started when my host mother handed me a white envelope and told me that it was filled with pictures of my host sister's birth. Curious, I opened the envelope and gingerly took out the first photo. It was a picture of a a sheep with a cut throat. I also saw my host father standing over the sheep with a bloody knife clutched in his hand. After recovering from the shock, I turned to my host mother and asked her if it was customary for people "to kill a sheep" after a successful birth. Before answering my question with an affirmative, she lectured me about the difference between "killing" and "throat-slitting". "Killing" was crass and ruthless as opposed to "throat-slitting", which was only done after the word "bismillah" (praise be to god) was uttered. She also assured me that all sheep that undergo this process definitely go to heaven. I am glad we had that conversation for it was very insightful.

At around 6:00 p.m., my host mother brought me to the family reunion which was in her mother's house. After introducing myself to all my family members the french way (which is called "faire la bise"), I sat down next to my host mother's fifteen-year old niece, Najua, and struck up a conversation. After having eaten some delicious almond paste-filled pasteries and sipped some overly-sweetened mint tea (Moroccans love sugar), Najua brought me to her nearby house and gave me a bracelet as a gift which was quite sweet of her. As she showed me around the house, I noticed that there were onrnate carvings on the sides and corners of the ceiling (which made me realize how dull most American ceilings are) and that the living room was lavishly decorated (the pictures I took were pretty bad so I'll post pictures later on). I have only seen two Moroccan houses since most Moroccans don't own any houses (which is made apparent by the apartments lining the streets as far as the eye can see) so I can't confirm whether these traits are common in them.

I haven't mentioned that Najua showed me what a hamam was since she wasn't profficient enough in French to explain to me what it was. It's basically a public Turkish bath house (more details in later post). I heard that they were really relaxing and I look forward to trying one out.

Although this may not seem to be a particularly exciting day to most people, I think it is (so far) the most rewarding day I had in Morocco.

Going to bed now. Bye!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I finally have internet at home! I'm sorry I wasn't able to wrrite for the last three days. As promised, I am posting pictures of Chellah (Sala Colonia), the Kasbah of the Udayas, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and the Hassan Tower.

Streets of the Kasbah of the Udayas which ws orginaly built in 1140 A.D. by the Almoravids to defend themselves against the Almohads.
Beach near the Kasbah.
These are the gates to Chellah which used to be the Roman town of Sala Colonia.
It was later abandoned in 1554 and used as a necropolis by the Almohad Dynasty.
In the 14th century, the sultan Abu Al-Hassan built many monuments such as this minaret.

This is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V

As you can see, a lot of work went into it.

It is as intricately designed outside as it is on the inside (this picture of the ceiling doesn't do it justice).
This is Mohammed V's coffin.
This is the Hassan Tower which is the minaret of an incomplete mosque which was intended to be the world's largest. The minaret only reaches 140 ft (44 m) which was onlyy half of its intended height.

This is the eel pool in Chellah. Women come here and throw eggs in the pool with their names written on it. Apparently, if an eel eats the egg, the woman will be fertile
Royal Tombs were later added to Chellah.