early this evening (after an exam that i've barely followed the cardinal pre-exam rules for; i.e. study, sleep well, don't cram, etc.) we are leaving for a four-day-long morocco exchange program. we will arrive tomorrow (saturday) morning by ferry across the mediterranean sea from algerciras, spain into tangier, morocco. that night we will bus to rabat, morocco where we will meet the host families we will be staying with until monday. on monday evening we make our way to akchour, rif mountains where we'll be staying in a hotel for the evening, and after a bit of a scenic drive tuesday morning, we'll make our way back to spain and are scheduled to be in granada around 9:00 PM that night.

throughout our stay we will be meeting with moroccan students to discuss cultural diversity, cultural stereotypes, economics, politics, education, religion and social aspects of moroccan life and how it compares to what we're accustomed to. as we are staying with local host families, we will have the opportunity to have these discussions with them as well to gain a broader perspective. there are a couple sessions in which we will be hearing testimonies from fullbright workers and members of the peace corps. in between our scheduled meetings and while traveling from city to city, we are planned to visit ruins, mosques, museums, and soak up the beautiful natural scenery as well. it is going to be a busy few days!

i've got my electronics stashed away and all of my essentials strategically tucked into my small school backpack. summing my feelings up as "nervous" feels like a bit of an understatement. i'm terrified. the unknown in general is untrustworthy and intimidating to me - i like to be comfortable with a predictable and dependable schedule in which i know and can picture exactly what to expect. when the unknown is a foreign country completely different from my own or anything i've ever previously experienced, my fear is magnified by thousands. change is scary too. especially when i finally feel like i am starting to settle down here in granada and establish a stable life with my new friends and "family." in all honesty, i'm glad this trip isn't optional, because my worries are causing me to tense up and hold back. when i start to panic, i have to remind myself what a unique, amazing opportunity this is and how lucky i am to be able to experience it. it's an entire weekend of activities that make me feel the most like me  - traveling, sight-seeing, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, learning languages, eating yummy food. it's scary, stepping completely outside of my comfort zone, but i know these humbling experiences are what make for the best opportunities for learning and growing. i'm ready to take the leap and soak up all that morocco has to offer me, and hopefully i can leave a little piece of me, my culture, my insight, my knowledge, my love, for morocco in return.

i never thought i'd be able to say this, but, I'M GOING TO AFRICA! please keep the health and safety of my group in your prayers, and have the most enjoyable of weekends. see you wednesday!

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