Tomorrow will be my last day in Washington. I need to go to the bank, do some last minute shopping, and pack. Somehow I always wait until the last minute to do everything. I figure that if I keep my mind busy with the petty things, I won't have to worry yet about the great unknown that is waiting for me.
I am about to spend 6 weeks in Fes, Morocco taking intensive Arabic classes and then another 2 weeks of independent travel. Many people have told me that I am crazy to voluntarily put myself in a situation where I am a white, non-muslim, young, single woman in an Arab country. To all those people who have told me "Arabic is not for everyone", I am taking this as a challenge. I have studied the Arabic alphabet for a few weeks now and I'm pretty confident that I can pick up French, so even though language will be a huge barrier, I am excited to work through it. What I am most anxious for is the culture. I have listened to many people tell me what Morocco is like and their experiences in the country, but I am still completely unfamiliar with the Arab culture. (I'm not even sure if the term "Arab culture" is politically correct. I'll write about it once I find out.) I'm bringing scarves with me to cover my hair from the sun and also modest clothes because I do not want to stand out and make a name for myself as the "White American Girl." I am planning on staying in a host family, but since it is first-come first-served, it is still up in the air. I think that host families can be either hit or miss and I am hoping that I am placed with one that can understand and respect the culture that I am coming from while also teaching me theirs.
I'm not looking forward to the heat; coming from Seattle, I enjoy summer days to hover around 75 degrees. The heat, the food, the language, the clothing- everything will be completely new to me and I love it. I love the unknown and that is why I travel. I am not exactly sure what awaits me in Fes, but I'm damn excited to find out!