Before I Leave

Before I leave Tangier, I want to discover something more. I want the feeling paleontologists get when they uncover bones that prove something existed on this planet millions of years ago. The feeling of something being always there but never noticed, because no one ever took the time to see it or to understand its purpose. I want to find the hidden treasure of Tangier. It could be a particular mint tea in which the sugar perfectly evens out the bitterness, creating the definition of yin and yang. The café view where you forget where you are: you just feel overwhelming beauty that you can only describe as tranquility. An alley of the medina where you’re transported back to a time long before even your grandparents’ births, where the colors create such a vibrant rainbow you wonder if you’re staring into the sky. Rugs upon rugs, tapestries with patterns and color collaborations you couldn’t have dreamed of, vegetables and fruits in dynamic shades that you couldn’t find in the States no matter how hard you tried.

Before I leave Tangier I want to find a way to capture everything I’ve seen and wrap it in a little bow. So I can give it to my family, allowing them to live through this experience too. I want to witness tradition more—I was given a glimpse purely by fate when adventuring with Kevin one night, following the trail of music to a wedding and seeing how Moroccans celebrate the sanctity of marriage right outside the UNE gates. I didn’t realize the influence of traditional Moroccan culture in a modern-day city until then. We Americans always claim that our heritage will remain a part of us but Moroccans do it. They practice what they preach and think nothing of it; culture is tradition and tradition is life, something they were raised in and don’t question. The most I can say about my culture is I’m a fan of wine and I can roll a mean meatball.

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Before I leave Tangier I want to thank every Moroccan I’ve met. Starting with Douaa who I have become amazing friends with, a friendship I know will continue after I leave. And ending with the old man in a green djellaba I saw sitting in the Chefchaouen medina, looking like a piece of seaweed floating within the blue pearl. Everyone in between made this experience a little sweeter and more memorable. From the loud nights surrounded by music and alcohol in Régine, to the quiet evenings sitting at our secret garden café, enjoying mint tea and conversation accompanied by an acoustic melody.

—Natalie Tremblay







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