1: Adventures of an Arab American

Rabat, Morocco.

“Wakha, you look Moroccan, but don’t talk when you’re shopping with me. They’ll double these prices,” my host mom laughed on my first day in Rabat. “But seriously though, I have a budget.”

I’m Lebanese (flag above, because I’m obnoxious), but look just enough Moroccan to blend in – that is, until I expose myself and speak in Shami Arabic. Durija is what they speak here, which they claim is Moroccan Arabic, although I often can’t tell if it’s French or Arabic. But really, I don’t have it all that bad – I can at least rely on the fact that Moroccans understand me, even if I can’t understand them. And I owe that to the fact that almost all the Middle Eastern soap operas that are in Shami Arabic. Shout out to Moohanad, the heart-throbe of the Middle East #heisn’tMiddleEastern #hisnameisn’tMoohanad:

Ah, it’s my fellow American interns that I’m concerned about. I wasn’t expecting to be able to understand Durija at all. But here I am, translating for my fellow American interns when we go out together. And what makes me proudest is that, in reality, they don’t even need me. We’re all making it work in a country we’ve never seen before. Meet the interns:

Looking forward to what these next few weeks hold in store for us!

7 thoughts on “1: Adventures of an Arab American

  • May 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm
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    I studied in Spain and my host mom always told me that people would assume I was Spanish until I opened my mouth to speak, so I completely relate to your experiences! Also, I love to hear that you are all doing so well in a new, exciting place and I am looking forward to reading more about your experiences as your internship goes on.

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    • May 20, 2017 at 11:51 am
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      That’s awesome – glad you can relate haha. Northern Morocco (i.e. Tangier) is very similar to Spain 🙂

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  • May 11, 2017 at 3:22 pm
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    You seem to be really enjoying yourself! And I’m glad that you have a group of people to experience this new place with!

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    • May 20, 2017 at 11:49 am
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      Thank you Angela! I’m glad I have them too – it’s great to speak English with people that are going through the same things you are 🙂

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  • May 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm
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    Fatima I love that your voice comes through so clearly in your writing. You manage to be quite funny as you bring up important topics that are often hard to wrestle with. It can be tiring to constantly be the translator of the group, but it’s good to see that your fellow Americans can get by even without the local language!

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    • May 20, 2017 at 11:49 am
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      Thank you so much Jenny! Love your comments

      Reply

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