So this is going to be an all-encompassing, mega-summarizing, super-post so brace yourselves...
After London, I came home and then left on a school retreat about half a week later. When I signed up for it, I had no idea what the retreat would be about or who was going or even where we were going. Honestly, I just wanted to miss school! haha. But anyway, it was a great experience and I'm so happy I went. It was at this abbey in Maredsous (about 30 min away) with about 15 other kids. It wasn't really religious at all, it was more like a "get to know yourself and your friends" sort of thing. Needless to say, some parts were really cheesy but I think I really connected with people and now have more "real friends"-- which is always a plus.
After Maredsous, there was a bit of a tragedy chez moi. My grandmother passed away in early March and I took the news pretty hard. My family (both, actually) decided that it would be best if I went home for a little bit so two days later I was on a plane to Oregon. My trip was a little bittersweet but more sweet. I'm really happy that I was able to be with my family and friends for a little bit though it was really hard leaving again.
My grandma- what a fox!
Morocco! Oh my goodness, I LOVE MOROCCO! On our first day we stayed in Marrakech with was just awesome. Are hotel was about a minute away from the grande place aka gigantic, city center market. We didn't have a lot of time between putting our stuff away and dinner but I did have time to look around in the market with some friends. I even got treated to an authentic, fresh, Moroccan orange juice by one of my good friends, Arthur. Hands down, it was the best orange juice I had ever had!
The next several days consisted of trekking through the most beautiful place I've ever seen (honestly!), the Atlas Mountains. I can't even put it into words, it was just so breathtakingly stunning! The first day was very deserty, but then we climbed over this mountain and on the other side was this pristine, green valley. After we set up camp I remember looking around in awe thinking "I can't believe I'm actually going to sleep here." That night, some friends and I climbed partway up one of the encompassing mountains to watch the moon rise. How often do you get to do that?
Each day the terrain changes a little bit. For the most part, we were following this river through the mountains (which is where we "showered" too. Oh and no toilets either!) and that was just beautiful (duh!). During the 2nd day we descended down to the river and it was just like nothing i've ever seen before. We were like in this big, desert canyon but the bottom was green because of the river and had these big willow trees and other plants. The only comparison I can think of is the Garden of Eden. I know that's probably not very helpful but use your imagination! Camp that night was really cool too! We were by the river (like every night) but instead of in a valley, we were tucked into the cliffs (kinda). It reminded me of that cliff city in lord of the rings. haha.
Day three was the hardest day ever (we climbed 850 meters which is A LOT!) but we finished in another beautiful spot, so it was all worth it. I got a head ache though and felt sick so I went to bed before dinner. The next day I felt fine though, so it was all good.
Day four was beautiful (of course) but my best friend got mad at me so I was pretty distressed for a while. It was pretty hard because I had to make new friends but I guess in the end it wasn't an entirely bad thing because now I have a lot of new friends.
Day 5 was our last full day of trekking and it was mainly descending. In my opinion, descending is the worst because it's hardest on your feet (and for those of you who know me well will know that at this point I was mummied up due to about 8,000 blisters!). It was all fun though. I sang most of the time with some of my more newly made friends so we were all thinking about that instead of our feet! After going down for about 6 hours (ouch!) we finally came to civilization. We met the river again and saw roads and stores and powelines, etc. It was still pretty rustic since we were still up in the mountains but it was kinda refreshing. We then walked along the road for a few hours (nice for our feet) and came to our final camping spot.
The next day was our last full day in Morocco. We got up early (6am) and packed up and got in busses (after walking about an hour to the main road) and went back to Marrakech. We checked back into the same hotel, showered (so nice!) and went out for a little cultural tour of the city. After that we had some free time. It was kinda sad for me because my best friend was still mad at me and I was stuck with this girl that drove me crazy! It's fine though, I still enjoyed my last day there.
Now I'm on Easter Break (their spring break) so i've been taking it pretty easy. We all miss the perfect weather and beautiful scenery of Morocco but at least we don't have to go back to school just yet! I've gone out with friends a few times in the past few days and I'm supposed to go to another party tonight but I'm not really up to it. To be honest, I'm feeling a little down. Nothing big, I just don't feel like partying right now. Anyway, I think Im going to utilize the rest of the break to try to do some sightseeing around Belgium. Who knows though! I'm also attempting to write a screenplay. I'm just hoping the break won't go by too quickly, I don't want to go back to school yet! haha.
P.S. I didn't take these pictures. They're all courtesy of my friends' facebooks. haha. If you want to see the full size version of any of them, just click them! See what I mean though, wasn't it just sublime?
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