Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another Day In The Life!

Sorry about the leave of absence there folks but I’m back and typing on a regular keyboard. Time is a tight commodity around here. Let me take you through one of my days.
Each morning I get up around 5:30 a.m. to try and study some new verbs and nouns while most of my family is asleep. At 7:00 it’s time for tea and fresh bread with the family and a bucket shower if I’m lucky. I walk on a paved road that spans over rolling hills and is laced with and mountains and wheat fields peppered with poppies on all sides. It’s pretty picturesque!
We start our language sessions at 8:00 and go until 10:00 when we stop for tea and more bread. We hit the language again at 10:30 until 12:00 when we stop for a two hour lunch of Tajin and (not always) fresh fruit. After that it’s more language (or cross culture training) until 4:00 – it’s time for more tea and bread at 4:00 – and the same from 4:30 to 5:30. During the whole time we are covering mostly new material that we have to somehow memorize by the next session.
Of course you never do get time to study it all because there’s a family of Moroccans waiting at home for each of us with small children that want us to give our undivided attention to them. It’s not just the kids either, the family is constantly pushing me into the family room to drink tea and eat more of that damn bread I thought was so delicious earlier that morning. After four sessions of tea and bread a day you start having nightmares of bread eating its way out of you like in the movie Aliens. But the next day it seems great again, don’t ask me how. Still, there is little studying I can do when people are force feeding me and asking questions I don’t know the meaning of.
Despite all of this you may ask “why don’t you just go study somewhere else?” There are two reasons I don’t do that. Number one; where the hell else can I go? This is a town of about 300-500 people with nothing but a few houses, a mosque halfway in construction, and a small shop about as big as an ice-fishing house. The only real place I can go to is another trainee’s house, which brings us to number two; I have no independence. The other night I went over to a fellow trainee’s house to have dinner and ran into one of my host brothers there. I told him to tell my host-mom that I was having dinner at the trainee’s house. Unfortunately half way through dinner I heard a familiar nagging voice as I was midway into eating some more of that damn bread. It was my host mother.
I couldn’t understand a word she said. I didn’t have to, it was written all over her face, “why weren’t you home yet? I thought you were dead. Do you know what time it is? Why are you eating here?” She had been pretty congenial up to this point but now was a blaze of angry-mother glory. Tight lipped with her hands on her hips she was ready to ring my neck.
Like when Luke Skywalker first realized that he had the hots for his sister, I had the wind knocked out of me. Luckily I thought enough to glance at the time, it was only 8:30. I quickly concluded that I had done nothing wrong because it was still early and I was a twenty three year old man for crying out loud. All fear subsided when the family I was eating with just laughed and started arguing in my defense. My host mother ended up going back home only for me to find her laughing as though nothing had happened when I got home. She has never scolded me since, but always demands to know where I’m going to and at times doesn’t let me go where I want.
My host mother is really sweet at heart but it is no secret that she is overbearing at times. Every where I go in the village, if I mention I’m living with Miriem the person I’m talking to gets a broad smile and follows with the word “ishqqa” which in Tamazirgt means “difficult.” Life can be pretty sweet here in Morocco as a trainee, but everything comes with some sacrifices.

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