My sharp-witted and bright nephew ~ Gabriel ~ called me today (Wednesday) to tell me he had a huge announcement: he would NOT be attending any of the incredible colleges he was accepted to (many that we toured together in Southern California) after high school graduation this June because…
Then, the punch-line: he was just awarded a merit-based scholarship for the
U.S. Department of State‘s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) to learn Arabic (& study their culture) and will leave to Morocco this June for an entire year!
I am so proud and delighted for him.
This is an incredible and exhilarating opportunity for Gabriel and outstanding news for our entire family!
After this amazing opportunity and unique experience, he can reapply next spring to universities with these stellar credentials.
On a more personal note: my nephew’s news renews my aspiration and enthusiasm to travel to Morocco.
I dream of traveling there each time I watch the classic film Casablanca.
I wanted and planned to go twice when I was in Lisbon in 2003 and 2005 (only 300 miles south), and contemplated it again while I was there in 2007. For many reasons my Moroccan daydreams didn’t materialize.
Here’s the teaser that seduced me from the opening narration of the 1942 film CASABLANCA:
With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, toward the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But, not everybody could get to Lisbon directly, and so a tortuous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up – Paris to Marseilles… across the Mediterranean to Oran… then by train, or auto, or foot across the rim of Africa, to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here, the fortunate ones through money, or influence, or luck, might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon; and from Lisbon, to the New World. But the others wait in Casablanca… and wait… and wait… and wait.
I still envision Morocco, and the city of Casablanca (الدار البيضاء), in stark black and white.
I want to travel to this country so it will finally come to life in my mind and with my brilliant nephew as my guide, it will be extra awesome.