Farewell, Marrakesh

I packed up my belongings this morning. Faical’s mother tried to help me, but I showed her that I was rolling my clothes and not folding them. She seemed surprised by this unusual way of packing. After some time she retrieved two dinner napkins from a cabinet and presented them to me. This was a standard gift in Morocco, Faical explained. I was moved by her generosity.

Meanwhile, she had spent all morning in the kitchen cooking a special dish. It’s cooked only once or twice a year, her kids explained. She had planned to cook it for Faical when he left, but she decided to cook it now since I am leaving. Once again, I knew not what to say to express my gratitude for her kindness.

The meal was delicious. We all ate out of the same large platter as I have been doing since I’ve been here. Faical’s mother expressed appreciation that I was able to adapt so well to their local custom and eat just like them. For me it has been a bonding experience. Sharing a meal in such a manner really makes you feel close to your fellow diners.

I took a taxi to the airport later in the day. I got the feeling that Faical’s mother was on the verge of tears when I was leaving. I will miss her. I will miss all of them. I am amazed by and grateful for the generosity Faical and his family have shown me. I was a complete stranger when I arrived, but now I feel like I’m part of their family.

While I waited at the airport to board my flight, I had a sense of being a stranger again. Amidst the plethora of European tourists whom I traveled with only a week ago, I now feel somehow foreign. I feel that I must break through an invisible barrier to rejoin them. Has my stay in Marrakesh been so comfortable that I have forgotten I am still a traveler? I don’t recall feeling this apprehension even when I left New York back in July.

I arrived in Madrid and took a taxi to Mad Hostel. It was nearing one in the morning by the time I reached the hostel.

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