This morning we woke up, had breakfast, and walked to ALIF to figure out our housing situation. We walked by the same cafe three times and spoke to a man who spoke Dutch (but not really) but we eventually found it! It is a beautiful old villa and everyone there is amazingly nice. Right away, we were assigned to a house family and met a few people. After checking out from the hotel, we went back to ALIF and waited for our host sister to pick us up.
Her name is Zaib and she is amazing. She has a 3 month old baby, works, and speaks French, Arabic, and English. Her mother and father, who we will be staying with do not speak anything but the Moroccan dialect so that will not help us whatsoever. They live deep in the Medina which is the old, poorer part of town. We parked near a cafe and entered a sketchy alleyway and then continued on tiny streets for about 15 minutes before ducking below some beams to get into the 4 foot tall doorway of the house. The house is very modest with barely a bathroom (as in a squatting toilet and a hose for a shower) and our room is up some stairs that are about a foot tall each and are slanted rock which means that I of course slip each step I take. Our room consists of three couch-like things, a dresser filled with past student's left behind books, and a small table. That's it. There's no internet, a little light, and I'm pretty sure we had anchovies for lunch. No air conditioning of course- not even a fan. I figured that if this is how most of the world lives, I can, too.
The city is amazing. It is not nearly as conservative as I expected. Only about half the women wear headscarves and pretty much everyone under 30 wears Western clothes. Another thing is that everyone speaks French here. Mademoiselle Louisa and Mademoiselle Colby: those are our names now. I'm in love with the city and its people. Even though I'll be sweaty and dirty and confused for the next six weeks, I think it will be the best experience of my life. There are so many details I want to write about, but I have seen so much in the past day and a half my head actually hurts a little bit- and I haven't even started classes!