Last fall I started to get the travel bug again when Professor Amster invited me to the study abroad program in Morocco. I joined on almost immediately for the opportunity to visit my first Muslim country. From the very beginning, the culture shock was pretty startling.
The cafe culture of Rabat is very interesting. People, mostly men, spend what it seems like all day sitting in the patio of a coffee shop and just people watching. All the chairs are pointed towards the street and not towards each other. It seemed odd that these men could just stare at the street for hours and not get bored. Until I did it. Its really exciting to just watch people living their lives throughout the day. Nothing ever really changes but its just a good time to slow down your life and pay attention.
Americans are moving so fast all the time and you never really notice how fast things are going until you go to a country that does the opposite. I think there is a lot to be learned from cultures around the world on how to live your life. Taking moments throughout the day to sit down, drink a cup of coffee and literally do nothing is necessary from time to time. To Americans I could see how this would be perceived as just a waste of time but its not. There is plenty of time to work in your life and relaxation is a time to be valued and invested in.