(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.
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.
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.