Morocco, Interrupted

To Douaa and Rania

Dear Douaa and Rania,

Where do I begin? There are not enough words to describe how thankful I am for you two. You both deserve the world and I miss you bunches.

Coming to Morocco I was terrified just like my fellow classmates. I had never flown internationally or left the country without my parents. I was worried about adjusting to the culture, making friends and being homesick. However, I had heard amazing things about you two from friends who have previously studied in Tangier. They had nothing but nice things to say and wanted to come back just for you, which calmed my nerves.

You guys exceeded my high expectations.

Although I am devastated our journey came to an abrupt end, I am forever grateful to have met such amazing individuals. Thank you for always going above and beyond trying to help each and every one of us. Not only were you the best coordinators I could have ever asked for you, but you became more than that. In just two short months you became our mentors and took the role of big sisters. Without you two, my experience in Tangier would not have been the same.

Now that I am home it feels strange. It is weird not living with everyone and eating three meals a day together. I would do anything to be back in Morocco at this very moment. Here, in Massachusetts, we are not on full lockdown yet; however, all nonessential businesses are closed and were instructed to stay inside. There are three cases within my city and fifty at the hospital my parents work at. They both have to get tested each and every day before entering the building.

Knowing that my parents come into contact and treat high-risk cancer patients worries me. I am concerned they could obtain the virus through their patients and/or me. My fourteen-day quarantine has not ended, so there is still a chance I could have the virus and pass it to them and their patients or coworkers. I have also not seen my grandparents or brother since coming home. Due to the fact that my grandparents are older and my brother has asthma, they are at a higher risk. I did not want to endanger their lives until I know I am not carrying the virus from overseas.

I hope you guys are doing well in Morocco during this tough time. I hope Mourad, Karima, our professors, and all the cleaning and cooking staff are doing well, too. I still get emails from Morocco, so I know you guys are in full lockdown until the end of April. Keep busy and stay safe. I’m constantly thinking about everyone in Morocco and hoping this all rolls over soon. I hope you are not too bored without all of us constantly being obnoxious! This is not a goodbye; it is a see you later because one day I am determined to make my way back to Morocco and finish the amazing journey I started.

The songwriter Jaymes Young said it perfectly:
“Thank you for the happiest year of my life
So wake me up when they build that time machine
I want to go back”

Stay safe and until we meet again.


Alex Rousseau is a Applied Exercise Science major at the University of New England.

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