Thought 9: Reflections

What a week! 

20 hours of class, 5 trips to the souk, 1 exam, about 50 black olives, and 200 vocab words later, its finally the weekend. 

After two weeks in Morocco, its safe to say I’m settled in. I’ve grown accustomed to the routine of class, lunch, language partners, and group activities. Yesterday I walked into a “Hanoot” (small street store) and knew the correct price for my candy bar before the shopkeeper told me–6 Dirham equals 1 KitKat in my life at the moment. 

My roommate and I ventured to “Sharia’ Makseeq” (Mexico Street) to buy some new clothes this week and I purchased the best pants in the world–they’re high-waisted and made of fluffy green fabric. Its a new level of comfort for something considered business casual in Morocco. 

Moroccan fashion is a colorful mix of European, African, and Middle Eastern flavors. Women’s attire ranges from clothing commonly seen in the US–blue jeans, v-necks, and flip-flops–to long dresses and a robe called a “Jalaba.”  Everything is brightly colored and decorated with prints and designs.  The majority of women wear clothes that completely cover their cleavage, stomachs, and arms. Shorts are uncommon, as are tank tops and mini-skirts.  Tights under tunics, cute flats, and fashionable sunglasses are also essentials for women. 

Men’s fashion is comprised of its usual elements–t-shirts, long pants, and sandals. It seems like everyone has a favorite soccer team–either Barcelona or Madrid. Soccer jerseys are as common as football jerseys in the US, especially among the boys kicking soccer balls around on the streets. Its also pretty common for men to wear long tunics and robes made of light linen material. Its a comfortable way to dress with the warm weather. 

To live in Tangier, you need all five senses. Streets are peppered with the colors of headscarves, soccer jerseys, storefronts and fruit for sale. The sounds of the city add to the color and vibrancy of life here. In the same moment I can hear bartering in the souq, the sound of dice being played by men in coffee shops, the giggles of children at the city park, and the Call to Prayer floating over-top all of the hubbub. Tangier smells of chicken tagine, salty water, and fresh bread. The market has scents of yesterdays over-ripe fruit, tomorrow’s dinner, and an acrid burning overtone. Our school smells faintly of pine-sol and laundry soap.  Touching Tangier means you feel the fabric of linen skirts, every peach at the corner market, and the breeze off the ocean.  And of course, most importantly, to taste Tangier is to eat Chicken Tagine, fresh bread, and the perfect peaches from the Souq. Tangier is sweet mint tea and perfectly spiced toss salad next to cous-cous on a plate with sauces and flavors that are best tasted on Friday after your first exam.

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