Halfway There

I’ve crossed the halfway mark. As of five minutes ago, I’ve been in Tetouan for four weeks. Four weeks exactly remain. It’s strange to think that the year abroad, essays outstanding, will be over soon. It feels like I’ve been away from home for so long. Jordan dragged, but Spain was over and done with in the blink of an eye and now I’ve only four weeks left at this Arabic game, inshallah, before I can return home at last and, for the first time in over a year, not have to think about where my next placement will take me.

At least, not for a month or so.

Victoria left for home this afternoon, which leaves me as the last of the old guard, if four weeks makes a veteran. I think I’m going to miss her, and I don’t say that about just anybody. She’s bound for brighter and better things and I can only wish her all the best wherever she goes. She’s been such an inspiration whilst she’s been her. It’s not every day you meet somebody who speaks nearly fifteen languages to varying degrees.

Goodbye Victoria!

Inspiration is so very important to me. I had an English teacher once who once complained about a parent asking her to motivate her child; her response was that she was ‘paid to teach, not to inspire’. I’m pretty sure I’ve used that example before, but the argument still stands: she was so very wrong. Inspiration is fundamental in teaching. When the pupil is ready etc. You know the phrase. I won’t repeat it. Inspiration is essential, especially for a subject as challenging as Arabic, and I’ve been so inspired by the people here at Dar Loughat. By Dris, the man who seems to know everything; by Jamal, the diplomat; Alex, the adventurer; Victoria, the original polymath; Katie, the courageous. For somebody who was dragged out of Spain by his heels, it was absolutely essential that Morocco delivered the goods and got the job done, and so it did – and how!

Relations with the host family have got significantly easier, too. That’s probably because I’ve been going out less of late, but maybe my rising confidence in Arabic has dealt a fair hand in that. The library in my room is a gold mine of information, the food every day and night is amazing (and much too plentiful) and the conversation is fantastic. That the father has a firm naturalistic understanding from his palaentological hobbies is just an added bonus, really.

Oh, I’ve been spending my time wisely, I have…

We had a few teething problems, I admit, but I discovered recently what I had guessed to be true: my predecessor was a bit of a social recluse, prioritizing a rapid mastery of Arabic over any and all gatherings. He rarely left the house, spent every spare hour out of class with the family and was constantly asking questions. The family just kind of assumed I’d do likewise, I guess. Is it any wonder, then, that they were a little confused by my silence, preference for books and long, long walks at the weekend? I reckon they’ve got the hang of me by now – insofar as anybody ever can – and my deep attachment to my own freedom. Maybe I’m more British than I thought.

I think I’ll go for my own apartment in Villafranca next year. BB x

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