Four days in to my Moroccan adventure of a life time and I am getting adjusted to life fairly well. Life in Rabat is much more Westernized than I had anticipated. From the lay out of la ville nouvelle, to the prevalence of pizza and fast food chains like KFC and McDonalds (aka Macdo), and the abundance of French patisseries, it can be easy to forget I am in Africa at times. The most surprising thing so far has been the overwhelming presence of French – on signs, spoken at home and in all businesses, on menus…everywhere! Turns out my French studies have come to be handier than expected, and I’m more than happy to dust off my vocabulary.
Of course I have also already confronted many unique cultural aspects of life in Morocco. Dodging traffic is a constant game of Frogger as traffic and laws and signs seem to be more of a suggestion than anything else. People park all over the sidewalks, running red lights is common, and lane markings are to be overruled if you’re in a hurry. Family life also has different norms that will take a bit to get used to; we eat dinner at 9 or 9:30 right before bed, take showers with no shower curtain, and have a quizzical lack of trash cans in our apartment.
I am excited to learn more about Moroccan traditions and culture, such as traditional family meals like Friday couscous, to learn to communicate in Darija, as well as to visit more historical sites in Rabat and throughout Morocco. I am having an amazing time and can only expect for this to continue, although my experience so far has been a little different than expected. I can’t wait to discover what’s to come!