A quick glance back at 2013

Friends were made, beers were drank, books were read, travel was done, fits were thrown, rants were given… and taken.

2013 showed that a good ear is hard to find, and the group of friends I have made here will last long after my time in Morocco comes to an end.  Fair weather friends are easy to find, but finding the ones that will simply sit and listen when you really need to yell and ramble, they are worth their weight in gold.

2013 gave me travel opportunities of epic proportions, with stops in 9 different countries and stints in great cities including Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Budapest, and Munich.  It also gave me the chance to see the Northern “Imperial” part of Morocco.

2013 saw a paradigm shift in how I travel.  With my handy dandy dSLR, my understanding of angles, AND my amazing flexibility, photography has become a big part of my traveling.  Here are the top 12 from the year,  a mixed bag between Morocco, the states and some of the places I visited this year.


Believers in Bamberg


Believers in Bamberg

Inside the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in Bamberg, Germany lies 2 rooms. Pilgrims come to the church looking for something, whether it is forgiveness, strength, or help for friends and family. Thank you letters surround the walls of one of the rooms, and a book filled with testimonies gave me the chills (even if it had to be translated by my friend Maria). One of the more memorable experiences I have had during my time abroad

Second Half Stock Report

I have lived abroad for over 10 months.  In this time I have experienced more call to prayers, more bread, and more french than I would care to remember.  What a ride the first year has been.  In true ESPN NFL South blog following fashion, here is the second half stock report on my first year abroad.

Stock Down:

Piss Corner:  The piss corner on Ghandi continues to be a piss corner, and piss corners smell exactly how you think they would.  Also, I saw my second bum wiener on this exact same corner.  The guy was taking a nap trying to get his tan on, but sadly may have had to many strawberry milkshakes because his cajones were out “n” about, for all the sober world to see.

Hot Sauce:  Harissa made a nice push in the past few months, but with the chance of having real hot sauce so close the reality of harissa being a pure substitute is more apparent than ever.

Stock Up:

Moroccan Hospitality: You here enough about how nice Moroccans are, and how they will go out of there way to help out friends.  Over the past few months I have seen this in strides both with my arabic tutor and with some VIP treatment while on a mini-vacation.  We made dinner for Abdeljalil and he brought over what came out to be a 30 pound watermelon.  Hell of a lot cooler than a cheap bottle of wine.

Sangria:  Moroccan Sangria is no different than any other, besides the fact that the fruit is dirt cheap and better than the selection I had in the states.  Plainly stated, if you do not like Sangria, we are no longer friends.

Brunch:  The weather really cooperated the past few weeks and a few brunch and coffee gatherings were a huge success.  I had been holding out all year and finally broke down.  It made me want to hit myself because it was such a good time.  It was also a great practice run for Europe, sans drinking.

Photography: Fake ray-bans *Now in different colors*, a pair of Moroccan MC-Hammer pants, and the beginning of boat shoe season.  Sheesh…

No insulation, no problem. Inside German Churches

I had not been “around the block” when it came to church interiors, but I’m glad that I did not see the churches in Germany until my last trip.  Up until a few months ago, I didn’t even own a fake pair of Ray-bans, let alone a fancy camera.   Now with my culture meter on full I was able to appreciate the interior of the many (but seriously, only a small portion) of the churches in the southern part of Germany.

The Sunshine Conspiracy: Mr. C joins a band


The Sunshine Conspiracy: Mr. C joins a band

Questions you may have about my musical talents:
– Do I sing in the shower? Yes
– Do I have some mean “Mom Dance” moves on the dance floor? Yes
– Have I ever thrown down The “U” in the middle of a dance circle at a dive bar? Yes
– If you don’t know what “throwing down The U in the middle of a dance circle” means are we still friends? Just Barely

I could have had it all, the money, the women, the reality T.V. show. I was the glue that held “The Sunshine Conspiracy” together. It all came together on the last day of my week in Germany, on the Main bridge in Wurzburg.
Luckily I’m enough of a tourist to not bring a bottle opener to Germany. After a brief introduction to a couple of German guys holding guitars (and a bottle opener) I demanded a song, because I’m from New York, and that means I know people. They picked up my sarcasm right away and handed me the medium shaker and for the next hour and a half we made musical magic.
I shook that medium shaker to keep the baseline going, and every so often I’d step my game up and go on an straight armed to the sky medium shaker solo, which was well received by both my band-mates and the onlookers on the bridge. It was destiny. Sadly, my one real shot, was rejected because I did not know the intro to the Eminem song “Lose Yourself”, I have never been more pissed off that I did not love white boy rap in high school.
German music was one of the more pleasant surprises on my trip, the songs were either awesome 90’s classics, or had a very good feel to them. Two artists that stood out were Seeed, and Gentleman (no not Psy’s new song, a German artist).
I was also able to go to my first electric swing dance party, which I will undoubtedly go on a downloading rampage before this school year is through.
As the sun went down and dinner plans came upon me I put my medium shaker down and headed back to Morocco to get on with lesson plans, parent teacher conferences and AP biology exam prep.

Getting my Catholic on in Germany

I can remember waking up when I was little dreading the patented church/grocery shopping combo of Sunday mornings.  I can say that in Germany, the church/biergarten combo carries my highest approval.  A large portion of my trip consisted of walking into a church, pausing and staring in disbelief, and grabbing a beer afterwards to wash the German culture down right.  The pictures below tell the outdoor side of my time in Germany, with a focus on the Roman Catholic side of things.