On Friday, July 11, 2014...

Things have really settled down here in Casablanca since I last wrote. I've gotten into the routine of teaching. I'm teaching two two-hour long classes of upper intermediate English. I'm really enjoying teaching, and can't express in words how rewarding it feels to see students who are engaged with the lessons and passionate about learning English. But there are, as you'd expect, a couple of difficulties. Though my classes are theoretically at an upper intermediate level, I have quite a few students who don't really have a good foundational understanding of English. I have to do a balancing act between material that engages the more advanced students and material that would be helpful for the less advanced students. It's a challenge that forces me to work more creatively.

The most significant cultural event of the past two weeks has been, of course, the start of Ramadan. It's utterly fascinating (and for me, a tremendous learning experience) to be in Morocco during the Islamic holy month. Though I have decided not to try fasting myself, it's been so interesting to simply observe an entire society abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sundown. The universality of its observation—the fact that it seems that almost everyone is fasting and that the mosques are always full—is so different from what we're used to in countries where religion is a much less public phenomenon. With this experience I have come away with much greater respect for Muslims in general, and I've spent a little time researching what exactly Muslims believe and conversing with Muslims about their faith.

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