Host Families and Darija

After our trip to Meknes we went to Bridges, the Darija language school, to take our placement tests and meet our host families. I was nervous and excited for both.

My host sister, Ithri, came with her father, Said, by car to pick me up. I had so much luggage and felt so bad when Said was carrying it! And to make things difficult the airport had broken the handle so it was very difficult to pick up. When we arrived to their home he carried it up four flights of stairs. 😧

It was interesting being on the reverse side of being an exchange student. We have hosted so many exchange students, many of whom did not speak English very well. This time the tables were turned and it was I who could not communicate well! Luckily, Ithri and my host mom, Malika, speak English very well. I tried to practice the little Arabic I knew with them, however even after several semesters I don’t feel strong in the Arabic language yet.

I am so lucky to have received the best host family! They welcomed me into their home with love in their hearts. Ithri, even gave up her bedroom and slept in the salon for me.

The next day I was driven to school for my first lesson. These two weeks had me feeling like a child again by attending school and the day and checking in with u host family. I often called my host family if I wasn’t going to be home on time so that they wouldn’t worry.

After the first night I had my first homework assignment. My font was so cute and made sure to practice with me. Ithri helped me with pronunciation and by quizzing me on word meanings.

It is very beneficial for me to be a language learner because it helps me to relate to my students more. I understand that it can be intimidating and nerve wracking to make mistakes. I think that this will help me to be a better English teacher though.

The next day was full of adventure trying to get to school. Ithri and I took a taxi together for the first part. I was to continue on my own in the taxi to school. Ithri wrote down the directions in Darija so that I could use them with the driver. We directed the driver to take me to the address listed on the school notebook.

Apparently, there are two Bridges locations. The location listed on the notebook is for the annex location. What ensued next was a series of stops with the driver trying to locate my school. He finally talked to my Malika on the phone who explained to him where to go.

Upon arrival, he decided to get out of the car and to scream at the school employees. Two of the employee explained to him that is was a mistake but he would take it for an answer. Finally after about 5 minutes, he left. I apologized profusely and headed to my class, now 40 minutes late.

The rest of the day ended up being lovely. Ithri and I went for a walk to the medina and had dinner together. It was fun to see the medina and see all of the different shops.

This was one of the first walks I hadn’t done with a large group of Fulbrighters. It was also the first time I really started receiving comments and stares. Most of them were calling me Blondie though, which inspired me to dye my hair the next week.

The next morning my host mom was too nervous to send me to school on my own so she drove me. It was a very nice drive and I got to learn a little bit more about her and her research, as she is a professor.

The next few days contained more or the same. Waking up, going to school, attending lectures on the Moroccan education system, and practicing Darija with my host family. I’m so lucky to have had such a wonderful host family! My host mom and sister practiced with me with my assignments. My host dad and I practice numbers and words by doing Sudoku and Word Searches in the newspaper.