Let’s talk about Al Akhawayn’s gym. Plus, a word from Monsieur Mustafa.

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Every time I visit Al Akhawayn’s gym, I’m floored. The building boasts high ceilings, warm-colored wood and great mountain views. For those of you from Wisconsin, the place looks like a cross between the Lodge at Cedar Creek’s water park, Granite Peak’s ski chalet and Rib Mountain’s forest service building.

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The gym contains loud weight, cardio and fitness studio rooms, as well as a tennis court. The absence of fans and air conditioners makes working out here more difficult than at other gyms I’ve been to, but the weather should cool to a more comfortable temperature soon enough.

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The above facilities pale in comparison to Al Akhawayn’s crown jewel, its Olympic-sized pool. The place smells like a sauna. Vaulted ceilings lord over blue-tinged water, which retains its calm no matter how many people swim there. T. and I took part in the women’s only session Wednesday, and were surprised to be the only ones in the pool. When I went this morning, the place was pretty empty, as well. All in all, the pool is the best place to hang out, exercise and recuperate from the overwhelming class schedules now taking over the international students’ lives here.

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And now, a word from Monsieur Mustafa! Monsieur Mustafa is a fellow international student of dubious national origins (he made me play 20 questions to figure out where his passports are from). He often steals my computer to offer cryptic insights into life, the universe and everything. Here are his thoughts this week:

“Now I sit, wondering to myself, am I really alone – do people actually see me? What is the point of it all? I stare up at the ceiling, white – perhaps green – thinking to myself, yes I have changed. I am no longer the same Winter I was when I came into this country. In fact, it would not be too much of a stretch to say I have become a Summer.” – Monsieur Mustapha, on Winter’s incredibly insightful thoughts

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