Sunday, May 3, 2009

Plus one.

I’m just home from a fabulous hfla (party) for one of the women in my adult English class, who had a baby boy a week ago today. Silly me, I thought I was just going to pay Zahra a little visit with her classmates Najat and Fatima. Didn’t realize I’d be bumping cheeks with 50 other women, watching them eat chicken and trying to explain vegetarianism, and generally allowing myself, once again, to be laughed at and called mesquina (“poor thing”).
Unfortunately, it was not a photo opportunity, so all you get is this typical baby card. Little Ali was kept heavily under wraps, the honoree was secluded in another room, and women here are notoriously camera shy. Too bad, because some of them were really rocking their djellabas. Not to mention the relative who was serving up the platters of full roasted chickens while wearing a nightgown emblazoned with little blue flowers and the phrase (in English) “I’m a shooting.”
But it was lovely to meet some more women, young and old and in between, explain what I’m doing here and encourage them to send their youngsters to check out the dar chebab … whenever it reopens, that is. (But that's another story ..._
More missed photo ops.
(Or, when will I remember to ALWAYS bring my camera?)
1. The three women greeting me on this morning’s walk/run, each bearing a steaming tagine on her head, inviting me to lunch with them. Every outing’s an emotional whiplash: Each man circling me on his motorbike is more than made up for by the generous, friendly, welcoming women I encounter.
2. My impromptu crochet lesson at the women’s association … now, who among you thought I would ever take up crochet? Wish I could say I made my textile-savvy mother proud, but I’m afraid my stitches turned out as loose as a Vegas showgirl. And why anyone would voluntarily choose to squint and hunch over a tiny hook for hours on end is kind of beyond me, but it was a nice chance to bond with some of the ladies.
3. My post-run adventure Sunday last, when I forgot the key to the main door downstairs (it’s locked when the offices across the hall aren’t open). After several hours spent trying to track down my landlord or anyone else who might be able to open the door, the supermarket owner downstairs agreed to my original idea, which he’d first considered unthinkable: Yep, he found a ladder tall enough to reach my balcony, and yep, I climbed up to the second floor, on Main Street, at the busiest time of day. Because I didn’t quite stand out enough around here.
Quotes of the day:
“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world!" – Anne Frank, age 14 (thanks, Mom!)
"Either today, or tomorrow, or someday, you have got to realize it." – Oscar Wilde (thanks, Staci!)
“Wherever you are, be there.” – Emerson (thanks, Universe, for sending me this when I most needed to hear it.
Currently listening to: “Rebecca” by the Pat McGee Band (narcissistic, much? But I’ve always bitched that no one writes songs about the Beckys of the world, so I was happy to find that someone has)

Currently reading:Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World,” Edward Said; “Uncivilized Beasts and Shameless Hellions: Travels With an NPR Correspondent,” John F. Burnett; “Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker”; “Quick Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals in 30 Minutes or Less” (thanks, Mom and Dad and Steve!)
Currently loving: Iced tea with Constant Comment teabags from home (ditto!)



Hello Ben, I am a recent Peace Corps applicant (only sent it off two weeks ago). I would really like to be placed in the Middle East or North Africa so I would love to start learning Arabic now in hopes that some background would bump my chances of those regions. I currently teach English in Spain, so I am really close. I am hoping to spend the summer in Morocco and learn arabic, but also would like to get involved at the same time. I have looked into the WWOOF farming organization, but haven't had any responses. I was curious if you knew of any opportunities where I could volunteer for 2-3 months. If you have any recommendations, I would be very grateful. Thanks,

Kendra said...

Hi Becki! So exciting to hear about your journey there. I felt like I could picture each scene you described!

Take care!