Sunday, June 24, 2012


1) It's 116° (47°) in my town today.  Just in case anyone was wondering.  I haven't bought a fan yet (and now it's too hot to walk to a store and buy one), and it's surprisingly not as terrible as you might think.  I even managed to stand over a stove and cook tortillas this afternoon and not die although, not gonna lie, I was really grateful it was a small batch.  (PC emailed a warning about the heatwave on Friday, which is nice of them, I guess, but I managed to freak myself out about the heat Friday evening, and worrying about the heat was a lot worse than the actual heat.)  That being said, I'm definitely not leaving my house before dusk and I slept on my roof in just my underwear and a tanktop last night.  (I've resigned myself to being caught in a state of undress on my roof by my neighbors.  It will be embarrassing, but more embarrassing for them than me, so there you go.)  Anyway, it's very hot, and the heat wave is suppose to last through next week.

2) I went over to my host family's house for Couscous Friday, and my host brother taught me card games.  My favorite was Xamstash (Fifteen), where we tried to make our cards add up to 15, although I'm a little worried by how much trouble he had with the very basic addition and subtraction.  I also taught my host niece to shoot a Nerf gun and how to make sound effects when you shoot a toy gun.  Zineb is two and she killed me and her aunt Layla very very dead.  It was super cute.

3) Zineb is left handed, and her mom is trying to train her to eat with her right hand (it's super rude to use your left hand to eat in Morocco), so I spent the entire meal holding Zineb's left hand so she couldn't use it.  Zineb seemed fine with it, but she kept patting my arm and my hand and my shoulder all meal, so now I need to wash mashed couscous out the sweater I was wearing.

4) My work has more or less dried up.  My students took their Bac exam (giant high school exit exam that determines if you graduate high school and what universities you can go to) two weeks ago and the rest of my students took their regular exams last week, and now that's it's summer and really hot, no one is coming to the Dar Shabab anymore.  My mudir asked me to finish my classes by July, so I'm pretty much done with work until sometime in mid-September.  Right now, I'm really enjoying the time off and the total lack of anything to do, but this is going to get very old by, say, August.

5) Regional meetings are on the coast next week.  I don't have to be there until Wednesday, but I thinking about leaving tomorrow because it's only 100° there, not 120° and it's not like I have anything going on in site.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mabrouk! - My First Moroccan Wedding

Last week, a friend and fellow PCV who lives in the neighboring town married her Moroccan boyfriend. I told my host family that I was going to a wedding, and then suddenly everyone knew about it, because I’m a foreigner and therefore interesting to talk about, and yesterday at the Dar Shabab, while I waited for students, my mudir and some of his friends asked me about the wedding.

When they found out the bride was an American who married a Moroccan, they were excited.

"Would you marry a Moroccan?" they asked me.

"Eh, maybe? If I meet the right man."

"There's three men right here! You should marry Mustafa. He has a car!"

I laughed and said maybe and the conversation moved on. This is by far one of the least awkward marriage conversations I've had, since at least I knew all the guys in question and no one was particularly serious, although my mudir did tell a story about another PCV who married a Moroccan and then at the end of her service, they went back to America, which lead to a conversation about whether I could get someone a green card, which led to a lot of me waving my hands around and telling them that I really don't know the particulars about green cards and visas into the US, seeing as I don't need them, and no, I won't look up that information for you.

Still, much less awkward that the time my taxi driver spend the entire ride asking me to marry him.

Kelly's wedding was my first Moroccan wedding.  It only lasted a few hours, so it was more of a Moroccan wedding-lite, a fact for which I'm grateful since Moroccan weddings are intense and I'm glad I got a trial run before my first real one.  (Traditional Moroccan weddings start sometime in the afternoon with parade, and then the party last all night.  No seriously, all night, the bride's family is responsible for serving breakfast to all the guests the next morning while the couple has some, ahem, alone time.)

The wedding party was mostly Moroccans, but there were a couple of PCVs in attendance, and it was fun to see friends who live across the country.  There's no real religious component to a Moroccan wedding, and the couple didn't go to a mosque or stand before the Imam or any other Muslim equivalent of a Christian wedding.  Kelly and her new husband, Karim, just signed some paperwork in the his family's living room and then we danced and hung out for a while everyone took super posed pictures with the bride and groom.  We ate cake and roast chicken and chicken and prune tajine (in that order) before Kelly and Karim headed to Marrakesh for their honeymoon and the rest of the guests headed home.  Kelly's mom couldn't make it to Morocco for the wedding, but she watched the entire party via Skype and the PCVs made a point of sitting with the computer so we could translate what was happening.

Mabrouk to Kelly and Karim.

Kelly's Wedding
Kelly's wedding henna and her ring.  There was also henna on her feet.

Kelly's Wedding
Kelly finishing her makeup at the hair salon before the car ride to her wedding.

Kelly's Wedding
PCVs!  From l → r: Ally, me, Bethany and Carrie.  I'm the only one not in traditional Moroccan clothes because I found out about the wedding the day before I left for Spain and didn't have time to get a caftan once I got back.  Also, this is the first time I'd worn a tank top or my hair lose since getting to Morocco.  I had to pile clothes on before I could go back to my site.

Kelly's Wedding
Kelly and Karim signing their marriage paperwork (I suppose it's the marriage license).  I can't believe she's married.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hell of a Welcome Home

 I’m pretty sure someone broke into my apartment today. 

I don’t think anything is missing – my camera, Kindle and both my passports are sitting on my living room table - but there are a pair of flip-flops in the doorway of my bedroom, and they are not my shoes.  I've never seen them before, and all of my shoes are present and accounted for, so there's no chance that I accidentally wore them home by mistake.

(My first thought when I saw the shoes was whoops, it's going to be really embarrassing to call the woman I just had tea with and tell her that I accidentally stole her husband's shoes, and then I saw the shoes I was wearing today, kicked aside by the front door, and it stopped being funny and started being creepy.)

It wouldn't be that hard to break into my apartment.  I keep my roof door open all the time, because it's really windy and I have to use giant jugs of water to prop the door open and it's a pain in the ass to move them, so I just don't shut my roof door if I'm in town.  Technically it's a private roof, but someone could climb over the wall between the public roof to my roof, assuming they could get into the building, although we keep the door to the building locked most of the time.

People don't obsessively lock doors here because in general things are pretty safe.  Also, it's very hot, and the one saving grace is that at least there's always a decent breeze.  It's not even like this is a cautionary tale.  Yes, someone was in my apartment, but they didn't take anything.  I even got a free pair of shoes out of the deal.  I'm just torn about what to do now.  Obviously, I'm going to start locking when I'm out, but I sleep with that door open.  Hell, I sleep ON my roof half the time, and now I feel a little unsafe and creeped out.