Failing a Pub Crawl

You would think that doing a pub crawl would be pretty easy, especially as a young adult. It’s a simple process of going from one bar to another, buying drink after drink throughout the night. But for me it wasn’t as easy as it sounded. For spring break, my friend Michaela and I decided to travel to Barcelona. And guess what! Saint Patrick’s Day was during our spring break! What other day could be better for a pub crawl? Spain is not Ireland but there are many Irish pubs there.


We started to plan out our route across Barcelona, sitting on our hostel-room floor, maps around us, phones out. We googled to see whether or not the pubs had good reviews and how far we would have to walk to each one, keeping in mind that we might become a bit tipsy during the night. We identified eight pubs, and determined the order in which we would go, starting with the one farthest from our hostel and ending with the one closest. We calculated the estimated travel time and found that if we started at 8:00 p.m., we should end our night around 4:00 a.m., designating one hour to each pub.

Next was outfits. Obviously we needed green incorporated somehow, therefore I chose green pants and Michaela wore a green sweater. Cute comfy shoes were also a must since there would be a lot of walking and, if we planned our outfits right, we could possibly have some guys buy us drinks. Once eight o’clock rolled by, we fastened our Saint Patrick’s Day pins to our jackets and made our way to our first pub: Michael Collins.

Michael Collins was already crowded at 8:00 p.m. People milled about on the sidewalk outside, talking loudly. At the doorway, you could feel the heat radiating from the people inside. From all the activity around the pub, it looked like we had started with the right one. Sadly, there was an entrance fee of 5 euros but hey, we got hats. The moment we stepped through the doors we could tell this was a place for adults in their mid-twenties to forties. We might have been the youngest people there. On top of that, there was absolutely no room to move about. To get to the bar we had to squeeze our way through the crowd, pressing our bodies a little too close for comfort to the people around us. Irish music was bumping and it was obvious that these people had started their night a lot earlier than we had, since more than half of the customers were already drunk.

Now this is where we started to fail. The two of us stood awkwardly by the bar, trying to wave down the bartender. It took at least twenty minutes to squeeze ourselves past the wall of drinkers anchored to the bar and order a Heineken (hint one that the night wasn’t going to go as planned). We then thought it would be a good idea to shuffle deeper into the pub towards the music, but the deeper we got, the more incapable we were of moving. Just when we realized our mistake and tried to turn around, a man stood up from his table and bumped into us, spilling my beer down my shirt (hint two that the night wasn’t going to go well).

Back at the bar, we finally found a safe standing spot off to the side. We both awkwardly sipped our beers as I tried to keep my shirt from sticking to my chest. Conversation was kept to a minimum since the bar was so loud (hint three of the night). We stood there for another ten minutes before determining that we were both too introverted to do a pub crawl by ourselves.

We put our half-finished beers on the bar and made our escape, then decided to take a trip to the market to buy candy, chips, and juice. We ended our night enjoying the quiet of our hostel while browsing through Facebook and laughing at how stupid we had been. One final clue the night was going to be a bust? I don’t even like beer.

—Ashley Tullo

How Far Would You Travel for a Concert?

Story time: imagine you’re in eighth grade and all of a sudden, your life does a 180. You learn to see people in a new light, all sense of judgment seems to fly out the window, you begin to understand your self worth, and start to see that anything you want is within reach if you just take a chance and work for it. You’ve been completely inspired and when you look back you realize that the spark that ignited that inspiration was a 26-year-old stage actor who took a chance and auditioned for a singing show. That was me eight years ago and now that stage actor is a global superstar named Adam Lambert.

Since American Idol, he has sold out hundreds of shows, done two world tours with three amazing albums, and become the new front man for Queen. Because I was younger at the time, I was not allowed to go to his first concert in Washington, DC; that basically killed me, and I’m still salty about it to this day. But since then I have dropped hundreds of dollars on concert tickets and traveled all along the East Coast in order to catch him at various radio shows and on his tour with Queen; I even had the chance to meet him in 2012. But when I literally crossed an ocean to see him, I’m pretty sure I reached a new level of insanity.

Last summer, when Adam dropped his third studio album, The Original High, I had a feeling he would probably start touring just as I left for my study abroad in Morocco—and I was right. But I was determined not to miss another solo tour, so to the Internet I went! Furiously, I searched through the dates and locations of his European leg looking for a show that I could attend during a weekend jaunt. A Thursday evening in London seemed like the perfect show! So I recruited Michelle as a travel buddy and we booked a flight and hostel, and bought floor tickets to the Hammersmith Theater.

On the day of the concert, as we were flying to London, I realized just how far I was traveling for this dude. I was nearly 4,000 miles from my hometown, and only slightly disappointed that my insanity had led me on this amazing adventure! But as I stood in line outside the venue, surrounded by my people, I felt like I was home. Glamberts ranging in age from 5 to 95 were popping champagne and waiting patiently in a long, winding queue. Once the doors opened we all flooded in and found a place on the packed dance floor. After the opening act left the stage, the excitement in the room amped up as a swirling light show of graphics spelled out his first name. When Adam appeared in a red leather outfit, showing off tattooed arms and astounding vocals, the crowd exploded from zero to alone-in-your-bathroom-style belting, as the room collectively sang (screamed?) along.

If there’s anything that Idol teaches its contestants to do, it’s how to sing live and how to do it well. The Queen guitarist, Brian May, describes Lambert’s voice as a sound that “reaches out with sensitivity, depth, maturity, and awesome range and power which will make jaws drop all around the world,” and he is right! Throughout the 90-minute show Adam sang and danced around the stage, connecting with every member of his audience. He started the set full of energy, then changed into a classy suit and got serious. He got on his soapbox and began to preach about diversity, acceptance, and how music has this amazing power to bring so many different people together. Later, he even name-dropped and pointed out his fellow Queen members, Brian and Rodger, in the audience. (I’m not going to lie: I had almost forgotten we were in London at this point and freaked out a little that they were there.) Then Adam changed again into a black and white tie-dyed ensemble and brought the party back. By selecting his best-loved singles and some fan favorites, all three of his studio albums were represented, with a couple of covers thrown into the mix too. Adam paid homage to his American Idol roots with a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” (I may have cried for that one), pulled off a great tribute to David Bowie with “Let’s Dance,” and then closed with the Queen classic, “Another One Bites the Dust.”

After the lights went out a slightly deafened Michelle and I headed for the London Underground. We desperately searched for something to drink in order to soothe our sore vocal cords, and watched as other concertgoers sang and danced through the station, darting off in every direction to catch their trains. That night I barely slept; the next day we began to explore London!

—Hannah Debeljak

Irish You Were Niall

Traveling to Ireland for spring break was something that I always wanted to do, but I never imagined that I’d meet the father of my favorite celebrity: Niall Horan of the band, One Direction. I have followed Niall and the rest of the boys for years. I’ve stayed up until midnight to listen to their newly released music, bought all their albums, seen them in concert, and even met them back in 2012. That was one of the highlights of my study-abroad experience and one of the most vivid images in my mind.

It all started with a visit to Niall’s hometown and the craving for my favorite beverage: pulp-less orange juice. Since pulp-less orange juice is not common in Morocco, my day was already made when my orange-juice-deprived-self saw a whole aisle dedicated to it in the local Tesco.

I was making my way to the refrigerated beverage section when I spotted a face that looked too familiar. It didn’t even take me a second to recognize the face of Niall’s father behind the meat counter. Although I usually disregard this section back home, I literally ran to speak with this man who is like God to me. I could not have been more excited to engage in conversation with him. What better person to talk to about my love for Niall Horan than his dad?

“Excuse me. Are you Bobby Horan?” I asked, even though I knew the answer better than the back of my hand. As he formulated a response, I began to sort out what I should and shouldn’t say. After all, Niall does not know me personally. So it would probably be strange to mention certain facts that I know about him to his father. “I love your son,” I said, without waiting for a response.

He laughed, “Well that’s something we have in common.”

Wow, I thought, I love this man. We began to talk about Niall, occasionally bringing in Harry and the other band members as well. Bobby mentioned that he had watched Niall grow up through the media, and that the last time Niall was home was around Christmas. We talked about Niall for an hour straight before Bobby asked me for my name.

I was caught off guard. How could my own father-in-law not know my name? I’ve followed him and Niall for years. Wait, I thought, dumbfounded. What even is my name? Eventually I replied, “Michelle,” in a slightly puzzled voice.

Niall’s dad laughed as he asked me to tell him more about myself. I told him that I was from Connecticut and I was studying abroad in Morocco, which surprised him.

“How do you like that?” he asked. He then cut some ham for a customer. “This is Michelle,” he told her. “She’s studying abroad in Morocco. She loves my son.” The woman laughed in approval.

“Wait here,” Niall’s dad said before I could say anything more. He disappeared into a back room and shortly returned holding a small piece of paper. “This is for you. I had Niall sign some pictures for fans for Christmas. This is the last one left over.”

My eyes became teary at this exciting news. A real-life picture that the real-life Niall Horan touched, for me. “I’m gonna cry,” I stated when the picture was in my possession. I glanced down at my phone and gasped, realizing that I was now a whole hour late to breakfast. “I have to go but can I please get a picture with you first?” I asked. Niall’s dad nodded and I snapped a quick picture, then ran out of the store, toward a taxi, completely forgetting my orange juice but holding onto Niall’s picture for dear life.

After arriving back at our bed and breakfast, I posted the pictures on Twitter as Paxton and I indulged in eggs, bread, tater tots, and bacon. To my surprise, the post blew up almost immediately, resulting in around three thousand retweets and two thousand favorites. Due to the multiplying replies and congratulations, the app would crash after two seconds every time I opened it. In the end, I gained almost two thousand followers on Twitter and a hundred on Instagram.

Due to my new Internet fame, I have been advised to put the signed picture of Niall up for sale so I can make a lot of money. But not even the thought of billions of dollars can compare to the exhilaration I feel whenever I look at my prized picture of Niall. That picture will be something that I will treasure for the rest of my life, even when Niall and I are married.

—Michelle Krasuski

Parting Words

Before I part ways with Tangier, I do not wish to say goodbye. Goodbye marks an end. Instead, I will leave with “See you soon.” I do not consider this last week to be my final encounter with the ever-changing city. I am young, with a wide-open future. “Everything happens for a reason” is a quote I was raised on. Life is a trail, a combination of forks in the road. Although I have the power to influence my direction, I do not have the ability to create the trails. Some paths may lead to the same destination, but they will take you on a different course. There will be some paths that lead you far from where you intended to go, but their purpose is to help you find who you are.

Morocco was the path that led me in what appeared to be, at least at first, that “wrong direction.” Before I finished my first semester in college, I was given the offer to switch my major from psychology to social work. Because the social work program was new, however, I would be forced to graduate later than my original date of May 2019. This meant I now had the opportunity to take a leave of absence, declare a minor, or study abroad. Taking a leave of absence never crossed my mind, so that left me with two options. As I was still unsure whether a career in psychology or social work was in my future, I made the decision to travel to Morocco.

Words can’t explain the anxiety that ran through my body when I received the acceptance letter. The coming of that letter meant that my second semester was going to be spent overseas, in North Africa. I had never left the United States before and wondered if studying in Morocco was going to be a waste of my time. I believed there was no possible way I could better my understanding of psychology in Tangier.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lessons I have learned while in Morocco are unobtainable in a lecture hall. I’ve learned philosophy from those who have so little. I have seen people who have all the reasons to hate everything smile wider than humanly possible. I’ve seen a homeless family give up the food I gave to them because someone else down the street had a baby girl who needed it more. I’ve even been lectured about the meaning of life over a cup of steaming mint tea.

Studying in Tangier has provided lessons that will last a lifetime. No matter my career, no matter my location, I will always remember the place that opened my eyes. I’ve always been thankful for what I have but, after spending four months here, I realize just how fortunate I am. One day I will return and I will learn much, much more.

Boarding the plane at Logan was my first step on the questionable path. Somehow, that path still led me to where I was destined to go.

—Kevin Thibodeau

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.

Photo 1 [1098719]

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







A Day in Tangier on 200 Dirhams

Tangier, Morocco, is a city known for its unique culture, ability to attract famous musicians and writers, and its affordability. With only three weeks left in my new home, I decided that it would be interesting to see just how easy it is to spend a full day in the city with only 200 Dh—about $20 USD or enough to buy a large pizza and 2L coke in the United States.

Leave Campus 9:00 a.m.
After repeatedly ignoring my alarms for several hours, I work up the strength to break free from the grasp of my warm bed. Now that I’m awake, showered, and dressed, my next order of business is breakfast.

Remaining: 200.00 Dh

Eric Kayser Bakery 9:15 a.m.
The smell of fresh croissants wafts in a 100-foot radius of the café’s modern glass walls, leading my still half-asleep body through the front entrance. In the inner portion of the café there is an arrangement of breakfast food ranging from chocolate pastries and quiche to macarons of every color—all of which have both an eat-in and a take-out price, with the latter being cheaper. With my limited funds in mind, I select one Plié au Chocolat to go (7.50 Dh) and leave in search of somewhere to enjoy my breakfast for free.

Remaining: 192.50 Dh

“Lazy Wall” (Sour Al Meêgazine) 9:30 a.m.
No seating is available in the upper region of wall by the cannons. Instead I find a vacated bench several flights down, amongst the scattered groups of sleeping homeless men. My chocolate pastry is rich and sweet, its crispy golden-brown exterior crumbles with every bite I take—contrasting with its interior that is still warm and chewy. Other than the blanket forts from my homeless companions, the landscape in front of me is clean and colorfully green—reminding me of a local dog park near my home back in the States.

Remaining: 192.50 Dh


Le Salon Bleu 11:50 a.m.
The secluded rooftop terrace is a nice change of scenery from the waves of French cruise passengers that fill the streets of the Kasbah. The entrance blends in perfectly with the surrounding residences: only a small blue sign and a framed menu reveal the actual identity of the tall whitewashed walls. I order an expensive cup of mint tea (20.00 Dh) and Kasbah Croq’ (12.50 Dh) to share with my companion, Alyssa. The tea is sugary and hot, the croq’ is smoky and sweet from its combination of roasted turkey and melted brie, and the complementary straw hat effectively protects my eyes from the glaring sun.

Remaining: 160.00 Dh

American Legation 1:00 p.m.
Despite being my second time through the legation, it is more memorable after reading the stories of American author Paul Bowles (there’s a whole room dedicated to his work)—it’s well worth the affordable entrance fee (20.00 Dh). The large rooms are empty of any other visitors—apparently French vacationers are not interested in the U.S.’s history with Morocco.

Remaining: 140.00 Dh

Unknown Nut Stand—Medina 2:30 p.m.
This undistinguished, closet-sized shop attracts my attention for one reason: the man is selling the caramelized peanuts that I’ve been searching for since I first had them in Jamaa El Fna Square in Marrakech. I ask for two servings (10 Dh), and receive a paper cone filled with the sweet and salty nuts—making for a perfect snack while traversing the medina.

Remaining: 130.00 Dh


Café Hafa 3:00 p.m.
As a renowned destination in Tangier, Hafa’s multileveled whitewashed terraces have been attracting locals, tourists, and famous artists—including Paul Bowles and the Rolling Stones—for over a century. As a result of such timeless popularity, the café’s numerous mosaic tables are often fully occupied by groups of Tangerines relaxing in brown plastic garden chairs. Today is no exception, forcing Alyssa and I to sit at the last remaining table on the second lowest balcony. I order a cup of the best mint tea in Tangier (7.50 Dh) and enjoy the views of the bustling blue waterway separating Europe from Africa.

Remaining: 122.50 Dh

Medina 4:30 p.m.
I finally find the Moroccan flag I’ve been searching for, completing my collection of flags from every country I’ve visited. The shopkeeper’s initial price is unrealistically high, claiming that the material is the finest in all of Morocco. I barter down to a more reasonable price (50.00 Dh), less than half of what he was asking.

Remaining: 72.50 Dh


Tanger Nord 6:00 p.m.
This is the only restaurant I have found near Avenue Mexico—a long bustling street that contains everything from counterfeit Nike apparel to kitchen utilities—that actually serves traditional Moroccan food. I order a sizzling chicken tajine served with bread and fries (40.00 Dh) and a 0.5L bottle of Sidi Ali water (12.00 Dh) to help quench my thirst from walking all day.

Remaining: 20.50 Dh

Le Gelateria—Iberia 7:30 p.m.
The air-conditioned rooms are crowded and full of cigarette smoke, as is traditional for cafés in Morocco when soccer games are being broadcast. After selecting a table with minimal exposure to the cancerous clouds, I wave my arms frantically to catch the attention of one of the waiters—who always seem to be preoccupied with something more important than their customers. I order one scoop of chocolate gelato (15.00 Dh) and sit back to watch as the final groups of French vacationers migrate back towards their docked home.

Remaining: 5.50 Dh.

After spending 10.5 hours navigating through bustling streets, dodging the never-ending supply of wild felines, fighting off unrealistic sale offers, and consuming lots of traditional cuisine—my day is finished. In the end, I have walked 13.42 miles shopping, eating, and finding amazing views while only spending 194.50 Dh—confirming that a full day in Tangier can be had for less than a pizza combo in the United States.

—Aidan McGowan


Address list:

Erik Kayser
Rue Des Amoureux
+212 05 39 33 1683

“Lazy Wall” (Sour Al Meêgazine)
Avenue Pasteur

Le Salon Bleu
Rue de la Kasbah
+212 06 62 11 2724

Café Hafa
Avenue Hadj Mohamed Tazi

American Legation
8 Rue d’Amerique
+212 05 39 93 5317

Tanger Nord
Rue Ibn Zaidoun
+212 05 39 33 1264

Le Gelateria
Place Quiete (Iberia)
+212 05 39 37 990 04


5 Reasons to Experience a Moroccan Home Stay

Until recently, I was never entertained by the idea of a home stay—regardless of the country. However, after putting my shy personality aside and spending two nights in a Moroccan home in Chefchaouen, I now understand why home stays are an experience many people choose to seek out. As I saw in Chefchaouen, Moroccans go above and beyond expectations as hosts. Here are five reasons why you should experience a Moroccan home stay:

1. You’ll Never Go Hungry
After arriving at our hosts’ humble abode, we were greeted with cups of steaming mint tea that were magically refilled every two minutes, and a plate of lemon cake that was shockingly replenished every time a piece was consumed. Dinner and breakfast the following two days were no different. There were three or four large plates everyone shared that contained a limitless amount of delicious food; this is perfect if you have a bottomless stomach.

2. You’ll Feel Like Family
After a long day of hiking the Akchour Waterfall in the Rif Valley, I came back to our hosts’ home exhausted, sore, and ready to curl up in bed. My neck was extremely rigid and swollen, to the point where I could barely turn it—this had become a regular occurrence since a group excursion in February, where it was mysteriously injured. My host mom noticed my discomfort and immediately brought out Voltarène, an anti-inflammatory gel with a strong rubbing alcohol odor. She sat there and massaged it into my neck as I drank my bottomless tea; this is the kind of treatment I would receive at home from my own mother.

3. Your Foreign Language Skills Will Improve
Our host family spoke several languages, but the host mom was a French teacher so she frequently spoke to us in French, testing the limits of our knowledge. What little Arabic we knew was also implemented in our speech; we were corrected when mistaken, praised when we were right, and taught some useful new phrases like bgit makla (I want food) and ma-fhmt-sh (I don’t understand).

4. You’ll Have A Real Moroccan Experience
After spending two days in the footsteps of our host, we had an inside look at the ordinary life of a Moroccan: an afternoon spent sipping tea in a café, a stroll through the medina, a grueling evening engaged in yelling matches about soccer. Be aware that some households turn their water off at night, so make sure to brush your teeth before 10:00 p.m., otherwise you might be out of luck; or in this case, out of water.

5. You’ll Cherish Your Memories Forever
Tangier is unlike anything I have ever experienced before, but staying in a dorm in the city can’t be compared to staying with a Moroccan family. You’ll always remember the warmth and kindness of your hosts, the sweet aroma of pumpkin wafting off the mountain of fluffy couscous, and the vibrant colors of mosaic tiles lining the walls and floors. Besides, how could you forget a home where you are immediately greeted with endless amounts of tea, and welcomed into the family as if it was your own?

—Alyssa White