Guess Who’s Back (Back Again)

Hint: it’s not slim shady, it’s just me.

Hey guys! Sorry for such a long leave of absence, but I actually had these things called classes at this place called school that I had to focus on. I don’t think any of the studying I’ve done is actually helping but hey, it’s always worth a shot.

My delightful and over-sarcastic father hopped on a plane and came to visit me during Spring Break, and I’ve got to say it was a fantastic time. It was great to show him what I’ve learned from being here so far, but we both had the opportunity to navigate the country together. We spent the first couple of days together in Tangier and Chefchaouen, exploring and experiencing the busy-ness of a city (which I have been DEARLY missing) and the serenity of the mountains. I mean, just take a look at these views. Crazy how it’s just a two hour drive difference.

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Even with the beautiful blues and delicious foods, the highlight of this part of the trip was most definitely the children. As I was walking around Chaouen with papa bear, we saw a group of boys all playing (what I think is) “Flyer’s Up” with a piece of gum. Then the little twerp in charge chucked the piece of gum at me, and I snagged it like a pop fly (shout out to years of softball). Then all of the sudden the whole gang of boys rushed up and started jumping around me wanting the gum, and we all just laughed and jumped around while I held the gum above them. After a second or so I threw the piece back up for them to catch, and went on my way. But wow, was that an experience or what. I wish I had a photo to show you all how adorable it was, but sometimes the best things in life can’t be photographed.

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(but here’s a basic as all hell photo that I took shortly before the kid attack).

After a couple of days there, dad and I headed down to Rabat where he met all of my friends. He saw how are little group is really like a family, and I’m happy that he got to spend a few moments with the people who’ve made this exchange the best it could possibly be. He also approves of the new boyfriend which is great, but the boy isn’t texting me back so we won’t talk about him in this article 😉 (it would probably make y’all puke anyway).

We spent a bit of time in the city, the hospital (it was a cough, I was fine, he’s too worried), and enjoying lots of delicious food from our little Ouyada in the medina. We walked around the Kasbah together, eavesdropping on ambassador’s conversations and taking photos of all the cats. Then we spent some time hanging out on a boat before heading to CASABLANCA.

IMG_1352.JPG(no we cannot take good photos but at least the Kasbah looks pretty cool)

Casablanca, the one city where I finally got to use cheesy Hollywood lines and eat at Rick’s Cafe, based off of the movie. And yes, they did play As Time Goes On multiple times. The waiters thought my Arabic (or lack of thereof) was adorable, and they even stuck a fez on my head. I thought it was pretty cute.

IMG_1285.JPG(here’s looking at you, kid)

From Casablanca we split, with him heading down the coast and me back to school (groan). It was amazing being able to see him and have meaningful conversations about life and classes and society and everything in between. Our relationship has developed so much just from this experience. Now he’s traveling and exploring throughout this beautiful country, and I hope he’s having the best time. Love you dad! Stay safe!

It’s been a crazy few weeks. I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my amazing friends, and I couldn’t be more grateful for them. Especially when they put up with my crazy ass that skips down the streets of Rabat at midnight.

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(oh Tangier, you’ve got me)

For now, I’ve just got to keep studying (by the looks of my grades) and see as much as possible before it’s all over. Hard to believe that in less than two months I’ll be back in sunny California. So tonight, we celebrate one of the greatest yankee American holidays and pretend that we’re all Irish even though we aren’t (sorry Lent, it’s a day of rest I guess). Bssehtek!

All My Love,

Ellie Leonhardt

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