The End Pt. 1: Marrakech and Friends

I honestly did not think I’d be writing this post so soon, but wow does time fly. Only 9 more days until I’m back on American soil listening to country music with Hunter and scarfing down bacon like there’s no tomorrow. But before I go back to what seems like a past life, I have to share my experience down south in MARRAKECH (aka one of my new favorite places in the world, and the one place where I actually didn’t take that many photos).

So let’s start with the weather here. 84 degrees and sunny? I’m sorry, did I magically arrive back in California? Absolute paradise. Even though we arrived at the God awful hour of 6 in the morning, it was still 10000 times more pleasant than the snowy hell that is the mountains. This beach babe needed that.

Second part: food and hospitality. Wow, I have had some of the best food ever down there. Delicious couscous, tomato and eggplant salads, the best iced tea I have ever had in my life from a chill hole-in-the-wall place called Mama Afrika. There was also a Starbucks, and I spent more time there than I’d like to admit (sorry, basic as all hell, you guys know this).

I only have one more note about Marrakech before I get into the second part of this post, and that is EVERYONE SHOULD TRAVEL THERE. Seriously, snake charmers and acrobatics and gardens everywhere? Who WOULDN’T wanna go? Overall, it was such a fantastic time and much needed.

k.jpg(got blessed by the snake, but he didn’t turn into a prince after I kissed him, kind of bummed)


(all about those cute little apartment pools)

You’re probably wondering why I’ve stopped talking about such an awesome place, but I want to give some thanks to the crew that I’ve been rolling with here. A few shout outs:

Aymane Karama: I’m sorry because I know I probably pronounce your name wrong every single time, but that doesn’t mean I love you any less. You are one of my ride or die homies, always there for me through thick and thin. I love the way you always sing almost every single song, and belt out Rihanna like there’s no tomorrow. I’ll always think of you when I hear the song “Work.” I can’t wait to see you this summer on my home turf, and you best bet that we’ll try and see Kendrick together 🙂

Yassine Maatuk: It’s hard to write this one without bursting into laughter and having a huge idiot grin on my face. You’re a real one, dude. Since day one, I knew you were a fantastic guy and an even better friend. You’ve taught me so much and have given some of the best life advice a girl could ask for. From goofy noises to sexy dance moves, you are the biggest dork and one of my favorite people. Our days in the apartment are some of the best memories I have, and that’s all thanks to you. I can’t imagine not having you in my life now. Thanks for being just an amazing human being overall, and know that I’ll always remember you with that big grin of yours. LOVE YOU LONG TIME.

Berkley Brown: So this really isn’t goodbye because you’re in San Diego (T GOD), and I’m probably going to pester your butt to hang out with me all of the time. But wow, am I glad that I found my long lost twin. From music taste to finishing each others sentences, we’re two peas in a really weird-a** pod. Your girl talks are live saving, and your presence makes everything better. You understand all the feels of coming from SD (especially in regards to Mexican food), and you’ve made this whole experience so much better just by that in of itself. Remind me to name my child after you if I’m blessed with a girl. Ily a milli girl.

Coleen Scott: The ying to my yang, the East Coast to my West Coast, my soul sister. Coleen, you are such a unique and amazing woman. We’ve spent so much time together, and there is not a single dull moment with you. Whether it’s watching little kids confuse GPS directions with zoo animals or sitting in a giant park net, there’s always something wonderful when I’m with you. You’ve changed a lot of my perspectives on life, and have really opened me up to experiencing it to the fullest. I know you’re going to have an amazing time spending another semester here, and I can’t wait to see where the world takes you. Love you chica 🙂

Omar Tombokti: JED! I am so so so glad that the universe put you in my life. You are the wisest of the bunch, and you have the best butt out of everyone (Coleen and I think everyone can agree on this). You really are like a grandfather to me. You give the best advice and the best hugs, and I know that you are always there if I need someone to talk to. I am so glad that we bonded over your little sister, and I love how you see all the good and beauty in people even when others can’t. Life is always better knowing that you’re around, and I hope that we’ll be in each others lives for the rest of them. Love you, man.

Savannah Miller: Oh bet, finally get to write about you. Ever since we started dancing together at the bar, we’ve kind of been the shit ever since. You have the most amazing taste in music, and you keep it real. From 3rd and 4th wheeling selfies to snapchat videos of sandwich gorging, it’s been an absolute blast. You’re always there for me on every issue, and always know what to say. I know that I’m going to have to come to D.C. because I’m not entirely sure I can handle going for so long without you. You’re the definition of a true friend, and I’m beyond thankful to have so many great memories with you and traveling all over Morocco together. Love you girl! Can’t wait to hear you hit the high note soon.

Soufian Maliki: King Souf, you are legendary. Since day 1, I have been so impressed by your hard work and dedication and talent. Whenever I see you, you have a smile on your face and are always ready for a hug. I have such great memories of sitting in the apartment just talking about music and life and many things with you. I had such a blast shooting the music video with you recently, and hopefully that won’t be the last time. Even though I’ll be 6000 miles away, just know that you’ve made such a difference in my life, and have somehow made me fall in love with Kendrick Lamar even more (didn’t know that was possible). Love you Soufian!

Taha Etbulii: Taha sensei, you’re the most Libyan of the Libyans and I’m so happy that I met you this year. Our conversations turned from polite small talk into yelling and cursing in Arabic, and I gotta say that’s the dream friendship right there. I don’t know what I’m going to do without your sass and your unwavering support. I’m glad that we’ve bonded over rap, and I owe you for teaching me almost all the Arabic I know. I’m always going to remember you as the strong and sweet Libyan who goes out of his way to make everyone happy. I’ll be sending you a little something from the states for sure, but you better come visit me in sunny Southern California soon.

Sofian Shaban: Sofian, there’s not a lot to say except thank you so, so much. Thank you for being one of my first friends during orientation, when we shared photos and you probably realized I was actually nuts. Thank you for being a great best friend and then a great boyfriend, and for all the things you’ve done for me. You brought a lot of happiness into my life, and opened up my heart. I never in my life imagined that I could be in a relationship abroad, but I’m so thankful that I got to experience that with you. I hope that you look back on the times we’ve had together and smile, and know that you’ll always be in my heart. And hey, if you ever want that green card just hit a girl up.

WOW. I can feel the lump in my throat already. Crazy how I only have a little over a week with some of the best people on the planet. I’m so thankful to have found my family abroad. I’m going to miss you all more than these words can even say, and I hope that this is just the beginning and not the end. And we all better take a photo together before I head out (preferably an appropriate one).

All My Love,

Ellie Leonhardt


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