Dar Chebab

Dar Chebab

Sunday, May 27, 2012

No longer waiting... for my real life to begin :)


Belated Rabat pictures. 



We stayed in Rabat for about 5 days before swearing in. I ate ice cream and I took a shower twice a day just because I had a feeling I wouldn’t see them in a while. (wasn’t wrong). I also went to an American bar called the upstairs. I had a very small piece of soggy bacon there on a sandwich. It was nearly orgasmic. I didn’t drink though. Everyone else was getting trashed. I just came for bacon.








We walked to the Chellah Ruins which are on the outskirts of Rabat. It was actually a little crowded because mawazine was going on that week and a concert was happing that night in the ruins (it’s a super huge music festival that has the likes of pitbull, shakira, lmfao and famous arab singers) Tickets were balls expensive 800dh a piece for the smaller shows.

The ruins themselves were pretty cool. There was about zero security. They just let us walk around and on everything which didn’t seem like an efficient way to preserve the site but I had fun being able to touch everything. You could almost picture the houses and the people living there 2000 years ago. The tiles on the floor were still intact.









Im not going to lie. I felt a bit like Indiana tomb raider walking around. There were some seriously epic gardens with in the site as well. Every beautiful exotic flower you can think of was present.














Im not going to lie. I felt a bit like Indiana tomb raider walking around. There were some seriously epic gardens with in the site as well. Every beautiful exotic flower you can think of was present.











Segway

I am currently in Itzer my final site. The trip here was long but not nearly as long as some people had to go. It was about a 6hr trip via bus and taxi. We passed through meknes, ifrane, and azrou (which has creepy baboon monkeys—sometimes I forget I’m in Africa haha) where I than proceeded to take a taxi straight to Itzer. I had so much luggage with me and not even all of it. They sent my big bag ahead of me but unfortunately screwed up and sent it to Kenifra which is 2 ½ hrs away from me…..sigh. That’s going to suck.

It was quite warm and windy today here. Wind + fluffy dirt roads= Not good. I feel like I have a small pile of sand in my lungs and a whole sand castle in my eyes.

Itzer is definitely rural to say the least. My PC summary said its about 2500 people. I highly doubt that. You can spit from one side of this town to the other. I can’t complain though. Its completely gorgeous and I’ve asked for a small town. I feel like I’m actually having the peace corps experience. Theres no running water in my town (did I mention its dusty?) everyone has tons of jugs of agua all over the house. I don’t mind the no water. Ironically all the volunteers have wifi in their houses. Tecnology does come way faster than the basics.

I walked around the town today with my site mate Yassine (his Moroccan name). Im not going to lie, I didn’t absorb much. Im still pretty exhausted and the dust and bright sunshine makes it hard to see. We went to see the gendarmerie (we don’t have police were so small) so I could give them all my shiny papers. Needless to say I assumed they would have a copier (stupid American thought) so I had to come back in which the captain was out and now Im suppose to return around 6pm. (they told me this after waiting an hour) So exhausted. Bureaucracy is not my thing.

My Moroccan name here is Miriam which is pretty fun. Its weird being called a different name but I like it.

and on that random note. Laters.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On The Big Rock Candy Mountain


Okay. So love Immouzer, hate the weather. It was 70 for 1 day and than it was 40 and slushing for a month. SOOOO sick of rain. All I ever want to do in this weather is sleep. Luckily today the clouds separated for a few choice hours and a few of the CBT group and I was able to climb one of the mountains above the town. 
Really doesn't do it justice

we settle's are always taking pics of our feet

Making our way back down.

Let me just say 1st, Immouzer is Denver altitude and we were climbing higher. I thought one of my lungs was going to implode. I mean I’m pretty out of shape to begin with but this was crazy. I was dizzy and falling a bit. I had to take a break every 5 mins. But luckily I pushed myself and the view was totally worth it. My camera barely, BARELY does it justice. The Atlas mountains just go on FOREVER. All the roofs in Immouzer are these fabulous terracotta orange. From a million feet up it just looked surreal. I wish PCV's could go places by themselves. I mean we can but it’s kinda a huge security risk. Le sigh haha.





I guess this hasn’t been a very exciting post but I am tired…Bzef (a lot). Mageet needs to sleep. That’s my pet name from my family. I mean I know I’m awesome J come on. But my family seriously hard-core LOVES me. And I’m not going to lie I LOVE them too. I feel bad for the next PCT. They’re going to have it ruff after me. ;) If I could change one thing though it would be having a concept of sharing that doesn’t include everything I own. I ran out of pretty much everything after a week. I don’t really mind that much. I mean they’re putting me up and everything. But I SWEAR my sister is eating my peanut butter when I’m not looking and my shampoo is disappearing at an alarming rate. I have NO HAIR!!! It can’t be me!! Haha

I can’t wait to get my own place and paint the walls. I’m going to make the most bitchin murals ever. It’s going to be fairyland fantastic. With that happy thought I will leave you all to w/e it is you all do while I'm off saving the world. JK most of the time I’m trying to have a normal bowel movement, trying not to freeze, and memorizing irregular verbs.  Bslama! (Bye)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hammam

Just got up. Couldn’t sleep past 7am. Were going to the hammam (communal bath) today and I’m so nervous!!....well I’ll say excited, to stay positive. But my stomach feels like its in knots. I can’t wait to get into a routine where I don’t freak out about what I’m going to do each day. Aww that will be nice.  Still adjusting to the food. We don’t eat that much and not very often. My stomachs still adjusting to everything. Haven’t thrown up in 2 days so that’s a perk. I may be nervous but the need to bathe is overshadowing it rapidly. My hair is so greasy I’m pretty sure you could produce butter from it. It’s going to be soooo nice.

Obviously not the one I went to. Couldnt really bring in a camera haha. But you get the idea. Ours was just a tile room with 2 pools for hot and cold water.
Later
The hammam was indeed wonderful. I think I shed at least 5 years worth of dead skin. It’s like a sauna/bath on steroids. There’s a hammam for men and one for women. You pay 12 dirhams (kinda pricey $1.50 haha) and you get to go in. Inside ours there were 2 rooms. One that’s cooler and the other that’s muy hot. I could barely breathe. They had a pool to fill your buckets with ice cold and scalding water. I liked mine cooler because it was like 110 degrees inside there.

It was a little embarrassing being naked in front of everybody. Especially since I am white and American, so everyone was staring at me. But everyone was super okay with being naked. Everyone super scrubs everyone else down. I kind of understand those paintings from the 1700’s with all the naked women bathing. I used to think it was just a sexually repressed European’s view on Arab women. But it’s pretty spot on. Minus the sexual part.

Afterwards we came back and had an amazing tajine my sister made. So yummy. Chicken, potatoes, peas, and tomatoes. With a salada l’asair. (Fruit and lettuce salad) So good. I’m in a good food, clean body coma at the moment in my room.

My family is so nice to me. I barely deserve it. My host mom paid for my hammam and she bought me a scarf yesterday at the hanoot. I’m never going to want to leave Immouzer. I’ll be so lonely!

Oh the passing days...


Look Mom no hands!!!


I’m stylishly washing my clothes in the hotel bathtub. Last day in Rabat before Immouzer. My roommate and I are running out of room to hang all the laundry so we’ve opted for chandeliers de la panties. Ya know what evs. Sorry I’m using so much slang. I never get to use it now. No one understands. So fo sho yo.

The ride from Rabat. Most of morocco looks like the shire. Rolling green farm land. I keep thinking were home sam, were home.

Okay dokay artachokey. Here I am day 3 near immouzer. The first day we took a bus from Rabat to Immouzer. It was about 2 ½ hours or so. Immouzer is very quaint…is that spelled right? I’ve been writing phonetically for a while now I’m forgetting how to spell. It’s about 20,000 people way up in the mountains. It’s pretty cold. About 50-55 during the day. At night it is bared (cold) the word even sounds right like brrrrr. Its been raining a lot since I got here. There are super cold lil mountains streams around like in Tennessee. It actually hailed yesterday.

Of course when I went to take a picture the clouds separated and the sun came out making it all epically awesome. You can barely see the Atlas Mountains in the background, since technically were in them haha.

The little courtyard outside my dar (house)
Today we went to the souk (market). It’s like the giant weekend market. Tons of fruits and veggies laid out with a view of the mountains and valleys right behind it. I wish I had had my camera! I’m trying to not look like a tourist. So the cameras been put away. Le sigh.
Thats when you know its fresh!!
Here is my dar (house). I am totally spoiled with a washing machine AND a refrigerator. 

Speaking of yesterday. I got soooo sick ana mrida!! (I am sick) Guess it’s a right of passage to get sick off the food and water.  But my host mom and family are super nice they took care of me bzef (a lot). Usually the family is together a lot. Privacy is kind of a foreign concept. So everyone hangs out and watches Turkish soap operas. And the soap operas. They’re so dramatic. I mean, I know they’re suppose to be, but these ones wow. Someone gets in a fight ever 2 minutes and it’s usually the girls haha.
My family doesn’t eat very often and when they do its late. Lunch is usually around 2pm and dinner forget it, usually 9 or 10pm. Plates are optional, and we drink from a communal glass of water. Shared by everybody. It was a little hard explaining to them that I don’t drink caffeine. They drink coffee and tea often and with tons of sugar. They just seem shocked that all I drink is water and that I like that lol. Its ironic since most of the water is bottled up here in the mountains.

 I will show you the fabulous Turkish toilet. I actually like it. It’s cleaner than you’d think. We have western toilets in the LCF house where we meet for school and it reeks! For the Turkish toilet you just take a bucket and flush. Super nice. And I’m lucky enough to have one that can take toilet paper. hamdullah (thanks be to god) J
Its really not that bad. :)
I love my little brother. He is so adorable! When he pouts or smiles you just want to die. And he smiles about EVERYTHING!! Gave him some markers to play with. So happy. He sat there and counted them for like 10 mins. He’s 7 so I pretty much made his day. And I SWEAR he put every single one back in the case. He gave me a present yesterday. A little bobble headed thing that speaks French. I think it’s from star trek. It definitely mentions Capitan in there
I just want to squeeze those cheeks all the time!!

My window to the world





I think my Darija is getting better….shwiya (a little). Sometimes though I just have this deer in headlights look when they talk too fast. We haven’t really started classes again since Rabat. Mainly the rest of the volunteers and I have just been roaming around, shopping and adjusting to everything. I still can’t really believe I’m here. It all seems so normal. I feel like I should be freaking out more. But Im not hamdullah (thank god)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bonjour, dat, salam, bong bong bong....bong bong bong.



This country is sooo amazing. Everything’s loud but quiet. Like the streets and medina are so crazy and busy. People are yelling the price of things and haggling left and right. But than you walk down an alley and it gets crazy quiet and you hear birds and you’re suddenly in a garden with orange trees and jasmine. It’s amazing. In the older parts of town the walls are all painted bright white and turquoise like in Greece. Its so bright it’s almost blinding especially being right next to the ocean, which is a lovely azure. I just want to get a book and sit by the ocean with an umbrella for the sun. That would be a great life right there.


            I also successfully haggled an awesome pair of hammer time pants. That’s what we’ve been calling them. I’m sure they have a name but they’re basically the bitchin Aladdin pants that mc hammer rocks. I only haggled him down 10 dirhams but it felt like a win. I’m going to wear my victory pants like every day.

we also hit a protest in the streets downtown yesterday. It was crazy! Its kinda funny I’ve spent all these months reading about protests in N Africa and than to be actually at one was nuts. I felt like Nicolas Kristof should be running around reporting for the nyt lol. And to the older relatives who are proly freaking out now, it wasn’t scary and dangerous. It was actually very peaceful and we just kinda skirted around it.
On a more mundane note, I just did my laundry in the hotel bathroom tub haha. Now my clothes are hanging out my balcony like the rest of the city. I feel like that must mean I’m finally integrating. J Everyone is worried about gaining weight (okay the girls are) they all go running in the morning. No thanks. I feel like I’ve lost 10 pounds already just from walking, stress, and only 3 meals a day. No more fast food. OH AND THE FOOD. OMG. SO great. I couldn’t really eat it the first few days I was so jet lagged. But now I wipe my plate down with bread. Like tonight there was baked eggplant, some type of bean, and rice stuffed peppers, lentil soup (BEST OF MY LIFE!!) and rice that makes you drool. And though I don’t eat them it is olivana. So many olives and the people who do like them fill they’re whole plates with them. 
Apart from the city we have our pre service training from about 8:30-5pm with breaks for lunch and tea in-between. The language lessons are INTENSE. Its very fast pace but super informative its like college language classes on crack but super educational. The PC’s learning style is really interactive. The lesson plans that we’re following and learning to later teach English are all about motivation and interaction. There’s no just sitting with lecturing. Like the 1st day we made songs for pronouns, which I will now sing to you (just imagine me haha) ahem….

Ana (I), Nta (you(m), Huwa (him)
Ana (I), Nti (you(f), Hiya (her)
Hna (we), Ntuma (you all), Huma (they)

Best song ever. We also drew pictures, made up dialogue and I even had to teach the class at one point. If I ever become a teacher I am totally taking up the PC lesson plan. It’s so effective! After language classes we have basic safety, health, youth development seminar type stuff. Like today we got our medical kit. And learned about how to sanitize water. Who knew it was ok to add bleach to your water. I feel like I’ve been taught from an early that that’s a painful way to kick the bucket. But I guess its safe.
There’s also shots through out the day yuck I have 2 more to get on wed. But we also have extra optional classes @ night. Like right now its 8:46pm and there’s a Moroccan history one. I’ve been too tired lately to go. Haggling is hard!! But its there.
Out everything I’ve seen and experienced I’m most excited to build relationships with the women. Men and women are very separate in Moroccan society. Men are out and about in the cafĂ©’s and on the streets and the women stay very isolated in the home. BUT the women have a very close-knit little group. It’s kinda a secret little society men can never enter. When women are outside the walk with the arms linked. It just looks so comforting! So I’m really stoked to build those relationships. I really hope I have host sisters!
Apparently the town I’m going to, (Immouzer) is only like 11,000 people but there’s a big city nearby. Its up in the mountain and has a big lake and waterfalls. Tons of trees. Apparently the Moroccan apple festival takes place in Immouzer. Tons of orchards. It sounds fantastic. Can’t wait to see it on Thursday. Hopefully my language skills will have improved by than haha.
OH I can’t believe I forgot about the henna ladies.


 They like seriously attacked us. I couldn’t fight them off. They just grab your hands and start drawing on you. I was like LA SHUKRAN (no thank you) like a zillion times. No luck. She’s like free, free. I was like yeah right. 50 dirhams later. (Like 6 bucks) But I guess she earned it. We were in a big touristy area where the old fort is by the water. There was like a ginormous pack of like 90-year-old German tourists backing up all the streets. We all huffed all superior like “jeez…tourists” and than laughed cause what exactly are we than? Lol ;)
            Well this is getting pretty lengthy. Please eat bacon and wear short shorts in my honor. Mmmm bacon. Sorry about all the rambling and what not. Bslama!! (That means goodbye.)

LOVE YOU ALL!!
 

P.S. To Laura,
I totally have the Dr. Who fez valentine on my night stand with my photos. It makes me happy every time I see it. J May have to stop in Fes on the way to my site. I will looks for an awesome fez.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

67 days, 0 hrs, 58 mins and 5 seconds...

Aww to sell everything you own and make absolutely nothing on it. Le sigh (told you I'm awesome @ French)

Its getting awfully close to departure time!! All I can say is I'm super excited yet dreading that Chase and Citi won't defer my private loans....which would ruin about 5 years of my life. Keep your fingers crossed.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Questioning...Questioning

A lot of my fellow future volunteers and I are starting to really think about the reasons we joined the Peace Corps and if Morocco is right for us. I found this video...scared me even more than I already am but I think its a great portrayal of a real life volunteer's experience that hasn't been romanticized.  I still can't wait to go and nothings going to stop me from going but I am interested/afraid of how to hold on to my ideals/goals/sense of self while still serving others where everything is different and pulling me to change. And will the change be good or bad?...will I resist it or embrace it?? I guess I'll just have to see...

Video: Jean Margaritis speaks on Peace Corps Experience