Crossing Cultures: A New Dialect

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We arrived on a long air conditioned bus, one that all of us didn’t even fill up, around twelve in the afternoon. As I went to grab my purse, which housed my wallet, sunglasses and expensive new cell phone that I had purchased before leaving to Spain, I felt uneasy. I pulled my hand back -grabbed only what I thought I would need-with my two-liter water bottle in hand I hopped off of the cool bus into the Moroccan sun. The previous day we had purchased school supplies and soccer balls for the kids of the institute, a majority of them poor. The side of the white bus opened up and each of us grabbed a small backpack or two. The sweat was already forming on my forehead; I picked up a bright pink one, fixed the straps and went on my way up the steep hill leading to the school.
We walked up the lavender painted stairs to see an open courtyard with smiling faces of all shapes and sizes, who greeted us and walked us to where the children were. We dropped their gifts off by the shade of two large trees, and I put my water down hoping that it would stay somewhat chilled. Turning around I saw their faces, the colors of their veils all different, but their eyes all the same, buoyant and blissful, hungry for something new. I was amazed with how willing and sociable all of them were, they were the ones who lead us out to the courts to play games. We split into two groups, basketball and soccer. Hania, Natalie, Katie, Mouhsin, Jordan and I went off to play soccer on the upper court. As soon as the worn out ball hit the hot cement we were off, sprinting from left to right all in efforts to get the ball away from our goal. The boys were all yelling in a playful manner, taunting one another with their innocent grins, showing the pink of their gums, and some even sticking their tongues out. All of them were aggressive with one another and in no way did they hold back against any of us girls. Before I knew it the score was 1-1, I was wearing my sandals- I found it difficult to make any clear passes or suave moves like everyone else was, instead, I dribbled.
Another goal and we all high fived, there was a common ground among the team. We all had that feeling of delight, the adrenaline rush, even though it was just a game of soccer. A boy from the other team dribbled, lifted his head and shot, it bounced off of someone’s foot and then Mouhsin knocked it in effortlessly. In no time at all the score changed, 3-3, someone had declared that the next goal would be the winner. At this point all of us were exhausted, not because of the amount of running, but because of the skin seeking sun, it craved our energy. The ball went from person to person and then got stuck in the middle, each and every foot within a meter radius were kicking, trying to gain possession. Jordan passed the ball across the court and I felt it hit the outside of my foot, I dribbled and took a shot. The goal was composed of two large rocks and I watched as the ball left my foot and skid right by the rock. GOAL! We had won. A short boy in red came up to me, as I went in for a high five he stopped me, he grabbed my hand and smiled showing the whites of his teeth. *Right hand, left hand, inside, out, fist bump, fist bump, high five*, our eyes met and I let out a laugh, which in turn caused him to laugh along with me. That handshake accompanied with a smile meant the world to me. He couldn’t understand the words I spoke, and I couldn’t understand his, yet the communication was there. It doesn’t matter where in the world one travels. A smile is an international symbol of happiness that everyone is able to comprehend. I came into his country and picked up one important thing that I will carry along with me wherever I go. The dialect of happiness is one that can be expressed without words.
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