Ana nmshi Marraksh...Bghit DABA DABA DABA!
So the countdown is on - I'm on vacation, my coworkers have left for the States, Egypt, Egypt, respectively. Only two of us remain, both staying in the country. I'm going to Marrakesh, but I need to wait until my paycheck comes, thus the trip is scheduled for Saturday. Even if someone handed me 10,000 dirhams right now, I'd still wait...it's nice to feel relaxed in your own (CLEAN!) home. I'm being internet avoidant - I don't need it, I have a cat, a television, a full bookcase. Not to mention a thousand little projects to take care of, none of which are important.
See, this is the first time I'll be living in the same place for more than a year since I left my parents house about six years ago. So I can do things with it! So far that's only meant buying furniture and hanging stuff on the walls, but I swear that as soon as I have some extra cash flow I'll throw down for something nice.
Every time I think of something interesting to write, it's in the back of a taxi, or walking along the Rouamzine, or sitting in my apartment with my cat on my stomach so I can't move.
Recently have been...
I think the line is "content and dreaming." That sounds about right.
I've recently become addicted to the hammam and the French music channels on my tv. One of them, however, is called "Music Black" and features primarily hip hop and other "black" genres of music. My American mind screams "BIGOT!" but then again, it is technically "black" music, is it not? The best part, though, is that they constantly show the new Pink video, requiring me to again pose the question...what color is Pink? The answer, for the record, is not "pink."
As for the hammam - it sounds crazy, but ain't nothing like laying down and letting a half-naked woman scrub you raw. It's amazing to see the scrolls of dead skin come so easily off your body. Kind of disgusting, but amazing nonetheless. I went last night with a friend's mom, who's become my hammam buddy, so to speak. I adore her, and the whole process, but...after someone has scrubbed all of your skin off, all you want to do is relax for a moment, and she always takes that time to talk my ear off...in Arabic.
Speaking of which, my Arabic has become much more functional. Before, though I could conjugate some verbs, form some true sentences, I was mostly useless when it came to everyday communication. Picture this: my first Arabic class involved a book called Al-Kitaab ("The Book," no joke), and the first page included this following paragraph (but in Arabic)"
"My name is Maha. I am Egyptian. I am a student at New York University. My father is Egyptian. He is a professor. My mother is Palestinian. She is a translator for the United Nations."
A TRANSLATOR for the UNITED NATIONS? I can say "waleedatee mutarjima fi'l umum al-mutahida" but I don't know how to say "hi, how are you?" Whoever writes these books deserves a good slap in the face. Mind you, nearly all Arabic textbooks are written by non-native speakers, which to me makes no sense. Kind of like how most Moroccan school textbooks are written by Moroccans. Even the English ones, and if you've ever spent any time in Morocco, well...you get the gist. My friend H., a university student of economics, actually goes home from class and checks facts on the internet because he's found so many mistakes in his economics textbook.
That's all for now, my stomach is grumbly and there's a café out there with pastries calling my name.
Unsurprisingly, I'm quite often asked if I miss home, and what I miss about home. Later this afternoon, I'll be interviewed for my school's magazine, and I'm contemplating the questions.
The truth is, I miss my family as anybody would, I miss my friends, but the things I miss about the United States become less and less every day. At first I missed peanut butter, then it was cranberry sauce come Thanksgiving. My parents brought both at Christmas, and while I devoured the former (you can buy it here, so it's sort of different), I still haven't opened the latter. I'm not sure if that's for lack of craving or fear I'll never see it again, but it sits in the back of my pantry, mostly unthought of.
Then I missed Coffeemate, but after awhile realized it was simply glorified powdered milk, something which is readily available here. It's apparently made through some fairly disgusting chemical process too. I just like it because milk makes me sick.
Sitting in bookstores and perusing stacks of books is certainly something very American (okay, and German from what I've witnessed) that I miss desperately. I miss driving a car. I miss walking down the street and only being stared at by one or two people, rather than entire populations. I miss pancakes.
But ultimately, it's what I don't miss that keeps me content here; the politics of America, the everyday financial struggle, the apathy, the activism, the stress I feel every time I turn on the TV.
Let's just say the censorship issue has been taken care of. Regardless, knowing I lack such a simple right - or at least in my American mind - disturbs me.
I'm about halfway through Da Vinci Code. I bought a copy in French for my (Moroccan) friend H. then bet him to see who finishes first. A busy student, he's now stuck on Chapter 17 while I flit by. I may put it away for a few days just to be fair, after all, I have much more free time on my hands and I'm reading in my first language.
Something about Morocco that always impresses me (remember that impress does not necessarily have a positive connotation) is the pervasive groupthink mentality. Coming from every-man-for-himself America, this is often the most striking cultural difference for me here. And so, to meet someone who thinks "outside the box" so to speak, who thinks about social change is refreshing at the very least. I find myself enraptured in discussions over the only tap beer I've ever seen in this country; from politics to sex to garbage, nothing is left untouched.
I like my thinkers raw, malleable.