Rabat, Morocco

March 11, 2019

It’s a lot all at once. I’m now part of a cohort of teachers. I have an in-country Irex program officer (Wyatt) and an in-country Moroccan teacher host (Miriem). The weather is muggy. My hair is ridiculous. The hotel is neither horrible or great.

But, and this is key, I AM ON A DIFFERENT CONTINENT. Okay, maybe that is fairly normal for most people. Let me put it in context for you. I am not a typical world traveler. By some weird chance (long story for another time), I did travel to Nepal 18 years ago. However, I spent the majority of my life scraping up money to survive, and now, in my economically stable years, I am a mom, a grandmother, and a teacher. To me, travel generally means taking a road trip with the dogs. So, this is a big deal.

Rabat is ancient and teeming with life. To me, everything feels exotic and familiar at the same time. The weather and the palm trees remind me of California. The traffic, the river, the bustle of the crowds- I could experience this in Portland. Despite its resemblance to every big city I know, it is a whole new world to me. Rabat sports crenelated walls, a busy boardwalk, towers looming above beautiful gardens, and street vendors selling a multitude of items ranging from ear buds to bulk spices. It’s a lot to take in.

We kick off our journey with a dinner on a pirate ship, the Le Dhow. Toasting with our first official Moroccan teas in hand, we teacher-adventurers are ready for whatever Rabat and Morocco have to offer.


Most of the time, I am simply "Mrs. Olmos," a busy classroom teacher in a rural district in Southwest Washington State. I teach English, WA State History and Drama to students that range from grades 7-12. I believe in allowing students to use their own creativity and individual voices to enrich learning experiences in my classroom. A typical day in my room includes student-led conversations, collaborative projects, and art supplies. Beyond the classroom, I dedicate myself to many areas of educational leadership. Currently, I am a Fulbright Teacher for Global Classrooms and a member of the leadership team for the Washington Teacher Advisory Council. I am proud to be a National Board Certified Teacher, and a facilitator for National Board Candidate cohorts. Over the years, I have served on committees, panels and cohorts at the district, state and national level. My areas of interest include English Language Arts standards, curriculum and assessment, teacher preparation and certification, equity in rural education, project-based learning, and arts-integrated instruction. In my spare time, I have dogs, horses and and a husband to share my life on a small farm surrounded by green hills and rivers. It's a beautiful life.

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