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O Fim duma Viagem

Rabat for the Last Time

MOROCCO | Saturday, 26 July 2014 | Views [395]

 When we walked out of the train station and into Rabat, I commented that it felt much cooler. It always felt cooler in Rabat than it did wherever else we visited.

 “That's because it's hooome,” Natasha said. I breathed in the feeling of the city and had to agree. It felt a lot like home.

 Returning to Rabat felt a lot like I was returning from Senegal. I kept looking around and trying to notice everything that was different. It wasn't that different, of course. I'd only been gone for a weekend. Nothing had changed during the weekends I'd stayed in Rabat. There was no reason for things to change the one weekend I left.

 Still, everything felt undefinably different. Apart from the box of kittens near my host home that I couldn't find anymore, I don't think anything was. Except maybe me. I wouldn't describe Chefchouen as a life-changing experience, but between that and the realization we'd had at breakfast that this was the last Sunday we were spending in Morocco, I was looking at Rabat with a fresher set of eyes.

 My host mother had (slightly cold) food waiting for me. She asked if I wanted soup (harira) and I, nodding, said “la.” Then my mind caught me and said “what are you doing?” and I corrected myself to “eh.” Then I remembered that my host mother doesn't use “eh” and said “naam.” After al that, I somehow managed to end up with a bowl of soup.

 Next Sunday, I would be eating dinner with my real family.

 The next morning, I got up at seven hating my alarm. I forced myself through a shower, breakfast, and then out the door. I marveled once again at how calm the streets were at 8:00 in the morning. However beautiful cities are at night, I really like cities in the morning. Which is weird, since it's been many years since I've said “I like mornings.” There's a part of me that hopes that after I graduate from college, I'll return to my pre-high school knowledge of how to get things done in the morning beyond getting out of bed, getting clean, getting clothes on, and reading webcomics and maybe the news. And when I say “morning” I mean closer to 8 than to 3.

 School was school. It was weird to realize that this was my last week. More, this was my penultimate class. We don't have school on Friday, Thursday is the exam, and Wednesday is the review session. So I have only two more days of learning things (officially) in the program.

 Once class was over, I asked if anyone wanted to go to Marina Bay. Erika, Natasha, and Cynthia did. It felt like forever since we'd done that. In a way, it had been. Friday we'd been in Chefchouen. Thursday we'd been otherwise busy (beach cleanup for Natasha, Erika, and Cynthia, homework for the others.) Wednesday we'd been writing our papers. Tuesday I'd been writing my paper, others had been doing other things. So it had been a solid week since we'd been to Marina Bay.

 They had not forgotten us in the past week. I had hot chocolate again, because it was the only drink that I felt confident about.

 I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but Marina Bay has a rather distinctive CD that plays. One CD. We've gotten to the point where we can judge how long we've been there by how many times we've heard one of the songs. We can sing along with most of them. (On Friday, Professor El Ahmadi made Nathan sing before presenting his paper, and then wanted Erika to sing as well. She didn't on Friday, but on Monday he told her she had to sing the next day. She joked about one of the Marina Bay songs.) Not “Ode to Joy,” though. That's probably the weirdest one they play. Besides the fact that every other song is pop and that's classical, the version they play is surprisingly upbeat.

 We talked for a while. The reality of this being our last week in the program was starting to sink in. The next time we left Rabat, it would be with the knowledge that it would be a year, minimum, before we returned. Natasha started talking about how she would probably cry in the airport, and Cynthia told her she shouldn't, because if Natasha started than Cynthia would start as well, and soon we'd all be crying.

 We weren't ready to leave Rabat. At least we had almost another week.

Tags: endings, marina bay, music, school

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