The thing I was most nervous about before coming to Morocco was the family I would be living with for three weeks. What if they didn’t have a western toilet? What if I didn’t know how to eat the food correctly? What if I didn’t feel comfortable?
The home stay, after almost of week of being in Morocco has been one of my favourite parts. The apartment is incredibly beautiful, it is a mixture between traditional Moroccan and modern. There are shiny white tile floors and seating areas with intricately made pillows lining each couch (and a western toilet). The moment we arrived at the apartment, our host father (Sidi) couldn’t wait to show us (my roommate and I) his more than 100 year old tea set that has been passed down in his family. Our host mother (Lala) and brother (Hoya) have been extremely welcoming and treat us like family.
There were certain things I wasn’t expecting that came as a surprise. During our first meal, which our host mom had prepared for us, there were certain things that were quite different compared to home. The first is that our host mother did all the work before dinner, including cooking the meal, setting the table, bringing the food to the table, and serving her boys (husband and son). When we were done eating, Lala cleared all the dishes for her boys and proceeded to wash them after. The boys didn’t have to lift a finger.
A second, and very interesting thing I wasn’t expecting was that Lala asked if we had boyfriends! We had talked about culture in Morocco before leaving, and one thing that we talked about was that it is not appropriate to talk about boyfriends/girlfriends with adults. It is generally something that is kept secret amongst the teenagers, so I was a little taken a back when she asked this. I said no, but asked if that would be something that would be okay and Lala said “oh yes, you need experience with boys before finding someone to marry”. She continued to talk with us and her son about his girlfriend and the boyfriends she had before her husband. This is not typical in many households in Morocco, but it was very interesting that our host family could be very traditional in some ways and very modern in others.