Last Friday we went to the International University of Rabat, which is actually in Sale. But whatever. Its an upscale university here, where students pay about $7,000 USD a year to be there. As a Moroccan you can attend a public university for all for years and pay less than $100 USD.
We went as part of our Gender Issues class and we came prepared with interview questions. Our teacher encouraged us to ask "inappropriate" questions and to really ask about things that were "taboo." So we jumped in with both feet. We found ourselves asking questions related to virginity, sexual education, homosexuality, religion and stereotypes. We all had a fabulous time getting to know these Moroccan students and then just getting a glimpse into their minds and how they think.
Afterwards, they gave us a tour of their campus and we were all pretty stunned by how nice their facilities were. Their dorm rooms reminded me of dorms back in the US... except that we didn't have bathrooms and sinks in our rooms.
As we walked around, I ended up talking with Kenza. She's a freshman from Tangier (in Northern Morocco). She was educated in a Spanish school throughout high school, so soon we were chatting away in Spanish. She was clearly more comfortable in Spanish than in English and it was so wonderful to be able to communicate with ease in a language that actually felt like a common language. Usually, when I converse with Moroccans, one of us is exerting a lot of effort to keep up in a conversation that is carried out in a language that isn't our own.
Not in this conversation.
Several times I had to remind myself that I wasn't in Colombia, as I heard her flawless Spanish and looked at her physical features. She could easily fit in Bogota... no one would look at her twice if she were walking down the streets in Colombia.
I was hit with a really strong sense of nostalgia and homesickness. I miss home. I miss communicating easily.
I loved being in Morocco, speaking to a Morocco, in Spanish. And there was nothing strange about it.