Letters to Dad

Dear Dad,

I thought of you today. Today I am in Morocco, three days ago I was in Spain, and tomorrow I am headed off to Italy. With all of the traveling I have been doing these last few weeks, I remembered how you used to tell me about the places you traveled to during your time in the air force. In all those years and all those countries, you never landed in Morocco.

It is impossible for me to picture your facial expressions or the reaction you would have if you were ever to experience Tangier. So many people have told me that there is something different about Tangier, some sort of special charm that entices people to become immersed in its culture. It is so difficult for me to decide whether or not you would give in to that charm, and allow yourself to see Tangier as it really is, or if you would simply pack up and leave—crushed by its overpowering intimidation. Would you roam the streets, curious about what you would find? Or would you remain sheltered behind the gates of the university, avoiding the copious stares directed toward your bluntly white skin? Would you have the willpower to avoid eye contact with the incessant beggars on every sidewalk? Could you figure out how to communicate without using words?

Throughout my last few months here, I have learned that Tangier is a place that has to be seen, explored, and experienced by diving in headfirst, without hesitation. If I ever get the chance to come back to this amazing place, I am taking you with me, and that is exactly what we will do. I will lead you through the winding whitewashed walls of the medina, where I will show you how to bargain with the local shopkeepers to ensure you don’t get ripped off. Once we are finished playing mind games with the tireless shopkeepers, we will hop in a little blue and yellow taxi and head to Café Hafa for some cliffside mint tea.

I know how much you love your Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, but I’m sure once you taste this tea you will understand why I am always going on and on about how delicious it is. By the way, don’t be surprised when the two men at the table next to us start rolling a joint, it’s only hashish. We will toss fourteen dirham on the table then make our way to Plaza Pool. I can picture your eyes lighting up as we walk down the stairs that open to a sea of pool tables. I can imagine the look of confusion on your face when you see the wrong kind of “football” playing on every television screen around the room. Please go easy on me for the first few rounds of pool—I haven’t had that much practice.

Dad, there is way too much to show you here in Tangier; I can’t even begin to explain it all in one letter. In fact, no matter how many letters I write to you, you will never fully understand or appreciate this incredible city unless you experience it for yourself. Sometimes I wish you were here with me so you could see what I’ve seen, so you can explore with me, and have crazy new adventures every day. I can’t wait to see you and tell you absolutely everything when I get home! I love and miss you.

Sincerely (your favorite daughter),

Courtney

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