The Heart Grows Fonder

Up until a few months ago, I wasn’t sure if I would be visiting the U.S. this summer.  I was fine with staying here, and didn’t feel at all homesick.  But then I found out that I would have a vacation in August, and began to plan a trip to Chicago for a month.  Once that was on the horizon, I suddenly started thinking of all the things I was excited to do at home.  Go biking, eat real peanut butter, read the New York Times in print….  Then a few weeks ago, I decided to spend two whole months in Chicago instead of just one this summer so that I could do an internship, which seems to be the best option in terms of my career and of how my schedule works out.  Just two days ago, I bought my plane ticket to leave on June 27th.  Now that I have the ticket in my hands, I keep thinking of things I want to do not in Chicago, but in Casablanca.  Can you believe, there’s even an Indian restaurant here I haven’t been to yet?  I’d better start a list!
At least I made it to the top of the Twin Center before going home for the summer!  Casa's skyline rivals that of Chicago.

At least I made it to the top of the Twin Center before going home for the summer! Casa’s skyline rivals that of Chicago.

I think it will be helpful to spend time at home, to do an internship that I’m excited about, and to have time to reflect on my freshman year of life before going back to the next year.  I’m not worried that I’ve made any poor decisions, but I am confused at how little sense my emotions seem to make in this situation.  I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder…even if it’s just the thought of an absence that’s doing it for me!

Just Do It

The number one thing I feel homesick for when I’m in Casablanca is exercise.  I miss how easily I could exercise in Chicago; there were two gyms right near my home, a beautiful running path, and just a mile away was the lakefront path, which I biked down many weekend afternoons on my way downtown.  Here in Casa, the running is a little more challenging.  Cars block the way, motorbikes speed by, the sidewalks have holes, traffic lights and actual traffic patterns don’t quite match up, and men in cafés stare.  I only rarely see other runners, and I think I’ve only once seen a female running by herself…and she was clearly also a foreigner.

Dodging cars is good for increasing your heart rate.

Dodging cars is good for increasing your heart rate.

Moroccan society certainly has more divisions between private and public life than American society does.  It is perhaps a little strange for a woman to go out in exercise clothing and run in the streets.  Unemployed men have the bad habit of staring, particularly at foreigners.  And perhaps the idea that exercise is important and is not just something for unskilled laborers is new to Morocco, as the wealthiest of society live in such a way that they rarely have to interact with the outside world.  However, I think it is generally accepted that exercise is a good thing for everyone.

There are deceptively few cars in this photo.

There are deceptively few cars in this photo.

Tomorrow I plan to get up and go for a run in the morning.  It will probably be hard to get myself to go out knowing that I will have to dodge cars and bumps in the pavement, and that all eyes will be on me as I pass each café.  But I’m going to do it anyway, because I love the feeling I get from running, and the way that exercise allows me to think clearly and positively.  I’m going to continue doing what I love even if it can be uncomfortable; but I really hope that it starts to catch on!