Jumping right in to a country where the two major languages are ones you have never studied is a bit rough. Thankfully, our professor speaks Arabic, and many of the other students speak some French or Arabic, too. But today, we went to a lecture at a university here in town, which was almost all in Arabic. Every once in a while, the author who was presenting would pause and explain what he was saying to the few of us who only spoke English, and I could almost feel my brain relaxing when I heard the familiar words.
Hopefully I will pick up on more and more of the languages as I spend more time here, but after a day filled with a lot of listening and not all that much comprehension, my head does hurt a little.
The city itself is beautiful, and so different from anywhere I've been in America. The best comparison I can make is to Athens - people in all directions, market stalls, street vendors and white stone buildings everywhere. We had some time today to walk around the Medina, which is the old part of the city within the modern city of Rabat, which is where our host families live. Traveling abroad is a constant reminder of how "young" just about everything in America is. Even colonial settlements in Virginia are babies compared to the ancient cities in Africa.
By the way...Africa! Morocco is a very Mediterranean country, so it's easy to forget that I am actually on another continent. This is the third to check of my list (four more is the goal!), but I also want to explore more of this vast landmass in the future.
Apologies if this post is all over the place, and also for the lack of pictures - I will try to post a few in the next few days. For now, I'm looking forward to the most solid night's sleep I'll have had in 4 days!