Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Moroccan Thanksgiving

Even though I didn’t know just how much I’d love Rabat, I'd been looking forward to my time in Morocco since the beginning of my Watson year. This is for the simple reason that for me, Morocco meant visitors. Under the stipulations of the Watson Fellowship, although we can’t go home for the year, we can have people come to us (at least in moderation). For whatever reason (I can think of many), when I spelled out the list of the countries where I’d be spending the next year, Morocco became the place that friends and family wanted to come see me. The country itself is interesting, beautiful, relatively safe, and I’ll be here until (almost) the halfway point of my twelve months away which seems like a great time to see people. For all these reasons, over the next few weeks I’m going to get to see the faces of some loved ones from home, and I just cannot wait to be able to share a little piece of this year with them.

(It should also be noted that a lot of the promises for visits abroad were made during my Watson application process, when the fellowship felt like a very faint possibility. As my mother recently told someone, she remembers “rashly” promising me that if I got it, she and my Dad would come wherever I was at Christmas. About seven months after making that distant promise, I’ll be meeting them in Casablanca on Christmas morning).

The first of these visitors informed me he was coming the day before he arrived. In typical spontaneity, my friend from Swarthmore, Will, arrived in Casablanca from Siena on Wednesday night for a “Moroccan Thanksgiving.” (An idea we had joked about since I found out I got the Watson Fellowship last March and he was making plans to spend fall semester of his junior year abroad in Italy. Never did I think this hypothetical situation would actually happen…)

But it did. We've spent the last few days reminiscing about Swarthmore, exploring some sights of Rabat both unfamiliar and familiar to me, cat sitting for a new friend, and of course, celebrating Thanksgiving.

On Friday we had our own Thanksgiving celebration with Rachel and a few other new friends. The five of us all contributed dishes to make for as American of a Thanksgiving as we could get in Morocco.
Moments of triumph included finding a can of cranberry sauce from an American neighbor (never mind that it was a few years old), and discovering, out of necessity, that it's possible to cook a homemade apple pie in a toaster oven. (Who knew?!) We also insisted on playing Christmas music all day in our Rabat kitchen. ‘Tis the season, my friends, and I don’t intend to miss it.

Above: Pie disaster averted.

There’s a lot for me to be thankful for this year, but perhaps most especially that I have new friends to celebrate old holidays with, and old friends who are willing to share in all this newness with me in whatever way they can. Here’s hoping you had a lovely holiday as well.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you Nell! Looks like a fantastic time in a fantastic place. Love you!