Manage episode 156125839 series 1177469
A Quick Update
Stephanie, Jess, and I didn’t make it to Aroobiya, unfortunately. We had a number of complications regarding transportation, and a lot of the routes were shut down for Eid. We ended up going to Rabat, where we spent most of the post-Ramadan vacation. Check out the pictures.
I am in the process of looking for a guitar so I can jam out. So far it's been a challenge. You could probably purchase anything you have ever dreamed about in the Fez Medina, but you just have to know where to look and whom to ask. In the case of guitars, oddly enough, it seems as though you can go to just about any seller of carpets or trinkets, and they are bound to have a few in the back.
I have come across two varieties: Moroccan and Spanish. But still nothing that can hold a tune. So I'll take my search to Rabat, where apparently I will have better luck.
The Scranton Connection
Fez has taught me many lessons about my limited experience of Moroccan culture and the eerie Truman Show-esque aspect of life in Morocco.
It never ceases to amaze me how many different people I meet, and how we always have something strangely in common. On a tour of the medina early into my stay here I happened upon a carpet shop where artisans were crafting an assortment of fabrics.
I had just arrived with a group of Fulbrighters, when I started making small chat with another gentleman in the shop. He was in the process of taking a study-abroad group through the Medina, and he asked what the composition of our group entailed. I responded that we were mostly composed of Fulbrighters, and others learning Arabic in Fez. Here's a summation of our conversation:
Tour guide: I was a Fulbrighter too!
Chris: Oh really. That’s pretty crazy.
But this coincidence doesn't really phase me. And at this point too, I think maybe this seemingly harmless tour guide might be one of Fez's notorious faux guides, who have concocted their own elaborate back-stories to lure tourists or wayward travelers into some commissionable service.
Tour guide: Yeah, but I had my Fulbright in the United States.
Chris: Great! Where was it?
This is where the really store can come out. The chance to find the wrinkle in a false background.
Tour guide: Believe it or not… Of all places, Scranton!
I quickly glance over myself, looking for some revealing piece of evidence. The shirt I am wearing maybe… No. Maybe a bag tag… None. And so with a apprehensive grin, I continue.
Haha. Really. That's unbelievable! I just graduated from Scranton. The University of Scranton. I took Arabic there as well.
Tour guide: Yeah, I taught Arabic there!
And it turns out, he was not lying. My friend, in fact, had a Fulbright grant to the States, where he taught Arabic at The University of Scranton. I just wasn't studying Arabic at the time.
It's funny how no matter where I go, or who I meet, every day, there are constant reminders of home and of Scranton.
The Office is probably the biggest culprit. I have resorted to purchasing a season's pass on iTunes, and downloading a new episode every week. For the season premier, I even arranged to have a Skype session with my friend Kristen, who is currently working for FEMA in the Midwest. But something about a state of emergency kept her from joining the session at 1 o'clock in the morning, Moroccan time.
But The Office has kept me in touch with a lot of friends, both here and back in the States. And I have definitely made use of the ol' "That's what she said!" on a number of occasions. Too many.
Stephanie, to me via text, after I missed her puttanesca, a spicy Italian pasta staple:
Wow my puttanesca kicked ass. Spicy enough to make your lips tingle and so savory you'd beg for more.
Need I say more.
The election has also been a favorite topic of discussion. I was quick to inform everyone here on the importance of Scranton in this election cycle, especially it's key to winning the Keystone State.
Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are also natives of Scranton. I can't believe you didn't know this!