How does one celebrate the 4th of July in Morocco? Well, if we had planned better, there was a party at the embassy we could have gone to, but we didn’t RSVP with our passport information in time so that was out. It probably would have just been a bunch of 30-something year olds with their kids; I don’t really know how many Americans my age would have turned out. Later, I heard reports that there was Dr. Pepper there, which really would have made going worth it. C’est la vie.
How did I celebrate? I slept in until 11, had traditional Moroccan food for lunch, but for dessert we had watermelon! I always associate watermelon with the 4th in my mind as a result of church BBQs and seed spitting contests. Here in Morocco it’s a pretty standard follow-up to any meal, but the fact that it coincided with it being Independence Day was kind of cool.
Later I went to the beach with the family (5 hours) and made a playlist of songs on my iPod that reminded me of America (titles containing “America,” titles containing city names, songs I know were written about a certain city or region, etc etc). Really getting into this fourth of July thing, right?
After the beach we went over to the [extended] family’s house in Temara, a beach town south of Rabat. None of us (American students) are exactly sure who actually lives in this house, because at any given moment there are at least 20 people around, including craaazy kids who never seem to run out of energy. It really is an exciting place, and its quite a change from the small apartments (okay, my family’s apartment is actually quite big) that we are used to. Anyway Madiha’s [Madiha is my Residential Coordinator] sister and I taught the kids to play “duck duck goose” and well, we played for a good hour. It was funny hearing how they pronounced “duck” because the “uh” sound isn’t really used in Arabic so they didn’t know how to say it. The word kept coming out like “daak.”
After that, more traditional Moroccan food (fish that had literally just been stuck over a fire and roasted that way) and more watermelon! As much as I wanted to organize a seed spitting contest I refrained. I did help myself to three big pieces, though, as I thought of the good ole USA.
Fun Fact: Morocco was the first state to officially recognize the USA’s independence from Britain. Moroccans are very proud of this fact and will remind you at any given opportunity.