Journey’s End

2 Jan

My family is full of travelers. We have had immediate and extended family members travel and sometimes live in some extra-ordinary places over the years. It was really cool to extend that legacy, especially in Africa. It was even cooler to have my dad come at the end to see where I have been for the past few months. I finished strong in the Arabic class and other projects and then went touring around the old city of Fes one last time. We had a rare opportunity to take a walk through a medieval tannery. In one of the previous entries I mentioned that the Medina was full of Tanneries (leather producers). A typical visit of one includes a tour through the shop and then onto the roof to look down into the production area. However, this time as we were walking around the city at night, a tannery worker invited us into the production area where the dye pools are located. This was a rather neat experience, as this is usually an off-limit area. We were taken around the big maze of 2m deep dye pools and piles of fresh hides. It was very smelly, but awesome experience nonetheless.

The last night with the host family was fun, as we had a big “Dad, meet Dad” experience. My real father would talk to my host-dad, who would smile, nod and say “ah, uh-huh” and then turn to me with that “what did he say?” look, then I would translate. My dad and I gave Adil (host dad) and his mother some small gifts from the US. I had brought a variety of small gifts, some suitable for young children (I was under the impression that it would be a family of 4-5), but my host-dad still got a kick out of the Indiana photo book, as well as the slinky toy and glow sticks haha. The last day was spent in Rabat and then in Casablanca, where we had dinner with some Americans in Rick’s Café.  Based on the movie “Casablanca”, the restaurant was built by a foreign-service officer only about 10 years ago and is very faithful to the fictional setting of the classic film. Afterwards we took a drive around the Casablancan neighborhoods containing WWII -era houses used by American and British leaders to negotiate strategies for “Operation Torch” (the Allied invasion of French North Africa). In a previous entry I wrote about a major highlight of Casablanca, The King Hassan II Mosque, and was able to get a better look at it this time. Situated along the Atlantic ocean and with the world’s tallest minaret, this Mosque is a powerful symbol of Islamic tradition in Morocco. What a beautiful structure!

Upon landing in Indianapolis I had been awake for over 30 hours haha. My Mom and brother came home from church and found me sitting in the kitchen eating, wearing the Djellaba and listening to Koranic recitations (re-acclimation is harder than it looks haha). Good to be home though finally, and still lots to do, like get ready for school in the spring,  Wow, this trip was 6 months, but upon returning felt like two weeks, what a weird feeling!

This is the last entry though, but thanks for reading! Hope you have enjoyed this blog.  Jordan, Israel and Morocco are fantastic countries with mind-blowing histories and cultures. Purdue Study Abroad programs can definitely provide some incredible destinations, and opportunities for students to gain incredible new perspectives. For questions about anything related, email me at willschultz1@gmail.com.   Before I close, here is footage of Oud playing and a Gnawa concert I mentioned in the last entry. Gnawa concert & Oud playing  Enjoy!

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