Casual dating life in Ifrane, Morocco

Sara Katona

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Don’t ask me how it happened; just know that I am casually dating a wealthy Moroccan atheist.

This isn’t a story about how we met (Tinder) or what “casual dating” is (I’m assuming it means I can do whatever I want).

This is a story about the literal tons of things you can learn from dating while abroad. Let’s refer to the person I am dating as “Mo.”

First of all, I soak up his accent like I’d soak up the sun in Maui. He speaks the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, French and I’m currently teaching him the little Spanish I know. May I add that he speaks English with a British accent and French with an impeccable French accent?

While accents are inherently beautiful to me and having a cute nickname in a foreign language should be on everyone’s bucket list (mine is pronounced “huneefeesuht,” which means beetle), there are actual benefits to dating a local from the place you are studying abroad.

I have a lot of Moroccan friends, but I don’t force them to help me with my Arabic homework by withholding hugs and kisses; that is a reserved honor.

In all seriousness though, I have learned more vocabulary from Mo than I have from all of my Arabic classes here.

He asks me what we call certain things in English, too. “Is this a stove or an oven? How do you say lawnmower?”

We basically think everything the other person says is adorable and we both feel super cool for being with a foreigner.

Aside from a stellar tutor, I also have someone to give me an inside scoop culturally. While I have had discussions about the monarchy, drugs, religion, sex, headscarves, racism, etc. with my other Moroccan friends, there are some questions you only want to ask someone you’re close to.

Mo can best be described as a vocal libertarian atheist. Because he was raised Muslim and grew to become an atheist, I can learn all about the rules of Islam, how they affect daily life and how he has broken 90 percent of them.

When his parents found out he was an atheist, they told him he had three days to decide if he wanted to come back to Islam or not; they said that atheists were not welcome in their home.

“Miraculously, by the next morning, I was converted!” he said.

Personally, I am content that he appeased his parents because now I get to eat all the pita bread his mom sends.

Don’t ask me how it happened; just know that I am casually dating a wealthy Moroccan atheist.

This isn’t a story about how we met (Tinder) or what “casual dating” is (I’m assuming it means I can do whatever I want).

This is a story about the literal tons of things you can learn from dating while abroad. Let’s refer to the person I am dating as “Mo.”

First of all, I soak up his accent like I’d soak up the sun in Maui. He speaks the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, French and I’m currently teaching him the little Spanish I know. May I add that he speaks English with a British accent and French with an impeccable French accent?

While accents are inherently beautiful to me and having a cute nickname in a foreign language should be on everyone’s bucket list (mine is pronounced “huneefeesuht,” which means beetle), there are actual benefits to dating a local from the place you are studying abroad.

I have a lot of Moroccan friends, but I don’t force them to help me with my Arabic homework by withholding hugs and kisses; that is a reserved honor.

In all seriousness though, I have learned more vocabulary from Mo than I have from all of my Arabic classes here.

He asks me what we call certain things in English, too. “Is this a stove or an oven? How do you say lawnmower?”

We basically think everything the other person says is adorable and we both feel super cool for being with a foreigner.

Aside from a stellar tutor, I also have someone to give me an inside scoop culturally. While I have had discussions about the monarchy, drugs, religion, sex, headscarves, racism, etc. with my other Moroccan friends, there are some questions you only want to ask someone you’re close to.

Mo can best be described as a vocal libertarian atheist. Because he was raised Muslim and grew to become an atheist, I can learn all about the rules of Islam, how they affect daily life and how he has broken 90 percent of them.

When his parents found out he was an atheist, they told him he had three days to decide if he wanted to come back to Islam or not; they said that atheists were not welcome in their home.

“Miraculously, by the next morning, I was converted!” he said.

Personally, I am content that he appeased his parents because now I get to eat all the pita bread his mom sends.