“Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow”

N.B. this is Friday. The WiFi (or WeeFee as we’ve affectionately begun to term it) isn’t reaching me, and frankly, the day was too tiring to get up and locate it. Please bear with.

Well, the police didn’t come to take us all away in the end. So we think we’ll still be ok in the usual school location for our third and final week (whaaaaat?!). And that’s great. Though I think nearly all of us would have quite liked it if they’d walked in just as we were about to take our midterm… I don’t think I’ve ever finished a test so quickly in my life as I did the last question today. We were given an hour, half of which was fine, the second half just slipped away so quickly that I wrote a page of writing assessment in seven minutes. Just as an aside, we were definitely put in the right class – the test was as hard as our Arabic final this term. To all those people who told me to “have a nice holiday”, you’re very funny. I thank you.
So once we’d finished our exam and draped ourselves in the garden’s wicker chairs to recover, we realised that Billy and James were leaving in less than 10 minutes to go back to America. Cue laments. But in the end we decided to go to the souq with them to do their last-minute souvenir shopping. So we caught the tram to the Old City (which was a lovely clean smooth experience, tram advert right there), and marched straight back into the breach that is souq shopping. We had a great time. We discovered the ripple effect of good bargains when Billy bought a bag that he haggled down to 100 dirhams because it was exactly the same as mine that I bought last week, and James bought a rug for his floor. Yes, an actual Moroccan rug. And the guy selling it to us was happy and smiley and old and wrinkly, and spoke clear Fosah Arabic to us. He told us he was a student, but almost every word was a joke. He asked my name, and I told him it was Hannah. “Yes, in Morocco” he said, “Hannah is an Arabic name. What are you called in England?” He took a little convincing that I didn’t discriminate between countries and that I was called Hannah wherever I went. When we left, we all shook his hand, and we’d made a friend. Once they’d bought everything they needed to fill their cases and gladden the hearts of their friends, we had a smiley, huggy, fairly emotional goodbye on the corner of two busy souq streets, and Alice, Charlotte and I stood and waved them off. Emotional much.
After a little more wandering, where we met another happy smiley stall-owner who taught us the correct pronunciation for a few words and taught us a few more, we bundled into a hot taxi to quench our sorrows with a very ex-pat KFC and a rubbish Fox-Movies special. On the way, we struck up a conversation with our Hawaiian-shirted taxi-driver. I will admit, I felt a lot like I was in a Hollywood movie when we discovered that he was an ex-Marine for the Moroccan Army, and pulled out pictures of his two curly-haired, wide-eyed daughters aged three and eight. What a dream. So, after watching Fox-Movies’ finest, Reign of Fire (something about Christian Bale fighting a tyrannical community of dragons), here I am by lamplight, remembering all the great things of the day, and being excited for more tomorrow.
Sweet dreams!

Hannah

I am a final year BA International Relations student at Sussex University, and I’m also studying the Arabic Language Elective Pathway. Alongside this, I am acting as a Student Language Ambassador, in hopes of convincing the world that a language is a beautiful thing :)

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