Dehydration and Adjustment

Adjustment is not something that happens overnight. The hardest part for me in my first couple of days in Morocco has been my appetite. In the US I have a healthy diet for the most part. I eat three or four small meals a day and drink probably less water that I should but I have never struggled with dehydration or exhaustion while working out or doing different kinds of activities. When I woke up Tuesday morning I had never felt so dehydrated in my entire life and what made it even more difficult was that as an exchange student we didn’t have our ID cards yet and had no way of getting food or water without one. At this point I was unaware that the tap water on campus was also drinkable.

So we went on a trek to go our find ID cards. Walking for hours from office to office asking where to get our cards only to be sent to a new place each time. Once we finally got to where we needed to be in order to pick them up I was told I hadn’t sent in a picture of myself therefore my card was not ready. At this point I was so frustrated. Something as important as an ID card that controls everything you are able to do on campus should be emphasized in the checklist of things that need to be done before arriving to campus. Nevertheless, I was lucky to had already made friends who bought be breakfast while my card was being processed.

Once we finally got food however I realized I had zero appetite. I just assumed at the time it was because it was so hot and I was dehydrated but that was Tuesday afternoon and I did not eat a real meal until Friday. The only thing I could stomach for most of the week was fresh fruit and maybe a croissant for breakfast and water… so much water. Looking back now my advice for anyone who experiences this after they arrive at their study abroad program or in a new place is to give your body time. Stressing out about not being able to eat will only harm your body more. Eat as healthy as you can and drink tons of water.

The time I spent wanting to eat makes it even better now that I can eat whatever I want. I have been able to try so many new foods here. One of my favorite new things that I’ve gotten to try this week is couscous! Couscous is a small circular grain that is usually served with cooked vegetables and meat. It was delicious. I tried beef and mixed peppers with my couscous and loved it. The vegetables here are delicious and served with every meal. Something I also noticed right away is the proportion of veggies to meat. In the US half of your plate would consist of the…

I’m sitting in a café writing this and the stray cat that lives on campus who was sitting in the chair next to me juts crawled into my lap! AHH IM SO HAPPY! I love cats! I’ve been chosen! Haha

Anyways, half of a plate in the US would be taken up by the protein or meat of the meal and the veggies, if there even were any, would only take up about a quarter of the plate. In Morocco, meat is much more expensive and on rare occasions does the meal consist of more meat than veggies and grains. This is something I know I will definitely enjoy about living in Morocco.


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