Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Try 5 Meet-up Groups

I have been rather slow in reporting the progress I’ve made on this goal.  But- I’ve tried two meet-up groups in the DC area to date and have a few more that I have my eye on.

The whole concept of is an awesome one: to transform internet social networking into real human interaction.  As someone who has always been concerned with the increasing role that technology plays in our interactions with fellow human beings, I appreciate this mission.  (I still remember lamenting the rise of instant messenger programs; not only did this mean less phone time, but also, conversations via the internet are somehow less authentic than those face to face.  I have, and will continue to remain a face-to-face person... hopefully this will benefit my job hunt, but that’s a whole different story).  ***just now, I almost typed slang that I’ve never seen typed before but that I know we’re all familiar with: “a whole nother story.”  I want to reflect for a minute- what words composed that phrase originally?  “Whole other story?” “Whole another story?”  We all know nother isn’t a word... is it?***

So back to the issue at hand- I have to date tried two meet up groups, both related to Arabic.  The first one I tried was called DC/VA/MD Arabic Social Networking Group.  I went to a dinner at Me Jana restaurant in Arlington, VA.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous walking in.  I went by myself and was somewhat discouraged to find that I was the youngest by about 15 years.  It stayed that way for a while until another young white girl showed up.  All in all, the experience was a good one and left me willing to try another group.  But unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in hating my job at that point that I really didn’t take time to appreciate the people I met- and maybe I just didn’t connect with them very well.  (Although I am very grateful to one man I met there who agreed to meet with me a few weeks later for an Arabic conversation- at that time, the revolutions hadn’t swept the Middle East and North Africa yet, so we talked about the Coptic Christians in Egypt). 

The second, a meet-up group that in near and dear to my heart, was Circle of Friends of Morocco.  This group was and is a perfect place for me.  I immediately felt at home with the leader of the group who agreed to meet with me an hour before the scheduled event time (a dinner that I had planned at a nearby Moroccan restaurant, Souk).  He lived in Fes for much of his life, a place I called home for a year myself.  His family currently lives in Taza- a wonderful city close to the Morocco/Algeria border that has this amazing cave where silly, adventurous Westerners like to “spulunk,” i.e. cave dive. 

Anyways, the entire meal was awesome.  By that point I was willing and ready to leave my horrible job, and I will credit a conversation I had that night with giving me the final push (for which I am immensely grateful to Brett).  I met both Americans and Moroccans with inspiring experiences.  I even had a few long conversations in Arabic (as you know, another goal- I need to get working on that though... I usually fall back to English for a few words here and there).  A friend I met that night works as an Arabic speaking correspondent on Capitol Hill for a French news station called Medi1 TV.  Two of the friends I met that night I’m still in touch with and see relatively often (and even speak in Arabic a lot of the time).  

Most of all, these new friendships are making me increasingly nostalgic of my time in Morocco.  Ben may even go back this summer!  But in the meantime, I’ll just share a few photos.


  1. Dear Megan,
    I am a Spanish woman who is about to travel to Taza in order to attempt the Kafala (permanent tutorship) of a baby. I do not speak any arabic or french and I am a bit worried about getting by in Taza. I am trying to find people who could speak either Spanish or English in Taza. I came across your post about your friend who's got his family living in Taza, and wonder if they might know someone. I would appreciate your help. My email: placeless at
    Thank you!