Wednesday, May 20, 2009

morocco continued

5/17/09 Sunday 6:37 PM

Main things that happened today –

rode a scooter/motorcycle for the first time (lol) – funs J

animation with little kids – good time as usual

met up with AIESEC peoples – at times awkward, but basically good

also took a bunch of pictures :P I think this might’ve made Rachid a little nervous.

Ok so yeah I guess not too much to report today … Lol I rode a scooter for the first time today. It was not as scary as I thought it would be, except for the parts where I thought Simou was going to run into a wall, or when he started weaving through the streets a little (this was just to scare me). Other than that, it was really fun! It’s a nice feeling, since you’re going relatively fast, but without being stuck in a car, so it’s like your walking … idk like when you’re in the airport and they have those track things that make you go faster? Like I was riding one of those, but in the middle of the street.

And then there was animation with the kids, which was fun. Danced a little, sang a little. It was a good time. Maybe not quite as new as the first time, obviously, but still good.

Then came back, played cards with Leah and Said, took a shower … basically just kind of hung out, since I didn’t feel like working or studying. Uploaded some pics, accidentally screwed up Said’s flash drive (still haven’t mentioned that to him … >_>).

And then it was the welcome party in Rabat with AIESECers, which was idk pleasant? Finally met Kaddi, the girl from Germany’s who’s been emailing me and such, trying to meet up for some reason. Lol I’m like the youngest person, other than this one girl who’s name I don’t know -_- It seems like a lot of the people here are all business/finance-type people. They get like all glassy-eyed when I’m like, I study anthro/sociology (most people don’t know what anthropology is, so I figured I’d go with sociology, since it’s kind of less awkward to be like, I study society, than to be like, I study other cultures [which would imply that I came here to like study the people here you know? Which is like weird]). Anyways so I felt slightly more out-of-place than I did singing and dancing with the kids, even though everyone spoke English and acted all Westernized or whatever. Idk. Some things are universally awkward, or universally not, I guess.

But meeting with the AIESEC people has made me think that maybe I should make more use of this opportunity, if that makes sense. I guess I have been kind of just lazing around the house for most of the day, now that I come to think of it. I mean, I could be studying Arabic, or French, or even English I guess … or talking to people. Or wandering around town/figuring out where exactly I live in relation to everywhere else. Or practicing my Arabic writing (which is currently at level 0). I should definitely be more active. I mean, I could even be dancing or stretching or something if I didn’t feel like writing or reading. Or learning how to cook Moroccan food. I mean, it would be a total shame if I came back and people were like, what did you do all day? And I said, uhh … slept, ate, taught a little … yeah. You know? It’s like, well then why did you go to Morocco? You can sleep anywhere. So yeah. That’s basically it for now. Will hopefully upload pictures soon – as in as soon as I get enough money to buy a flash drive so I can transfer the images to it so I can upload them. Which should be soon. But for now, I guess the important thing is getting into a solid rhythm, being more active, and going through life with eyes wide open instead of closed shut and snoring.

5/18/09 Monday 1 PM ish

Main things to write about –

Leah left (sad face, but makes sense given her experiences here) – she wanted to have more work to do, and I think in general Morocco hasn’t agreed with her so well. Definitely the people here can be a little sketch sometimes (mainly referring to Dounia and Rachid). I mean, I have yet to meet Dounia, as does Leah, and even before I came to Morocco she was acting pretty sketch. Also, Dounia said to both of us that she would meet us (at the airport for Leah, at the train station for me), which didn’t happen. And even though I asked a lot of basic questions, like “where will I be staying”, or “who’s going to meet me at the station”, etc I would only get kind of vague answers. And apparently now she’s out-of-town for some reason. Maybe it’s a family thing, idk.

OMG visited an NGO type place – Association pour le Developpement Social (ADS). So flipping cool! I WANT TO WORK THERE. Or somewhere similar. I need to get fluent in French so I can come back and work someplace legit like that, and learn about how to apply knowledge to wider groups of people, instead of just teaching like one class of kids, if that makes sense.

Also, I feel more alive here than I have anywhere else. Maybe except for the first few weeks at Michigan. I feel like I can learn so much! I can learn French, Arabic (classic or the dialect here), and then there’s all these little shops where I could just learn how to do shit by watching. Like there’s people making furniture in the street, and people welding shit, and bike mechanics, and people cooking … I wish I could just go out and be like, hey, can I watch you work? Of course, not quite sure how to say that, and pretty sure that wouldn’t be exactly the best idea in the world. But the people here are so nice, I don’t know if they would mind that much. I mean people like it when you take an interest in their work, so yeah.

No moneys … well done Mary. This is mainly frustrating because it limits my experiences so much. I can’t live/start making a life here without money. I mean, I see things I want to try or there’s things I want to do, but I can’t because I don’t have any moneys. Lame. Need to fix this problem ASAP.

Starting to catch cold -_-

Last night – translation session with Leah, Said (Me talk pretty one day); talking about people/sleep, etc

OK this was really cool. So Leah and me and Said were hanging out, doing work or reading, and I was like, oh I have English books with me. So I gave Leah “Me Talk Pretty One Day” to read, and she was like lol hilarious. So I was like, oo Said you should read this too. Basically this ended up being a translation session, because Said didn’t really get what was going on in the story, which makes sense because I don’t think he’s ever formally studied English. Anyways so I tried to translate into French while reading, but my vocabulary is way too limited, so Leah ended up basically reading the story to me and Said in French. So cool!! It’s so amazing how the humor of a story can translate across places (languages + cultures). Or I guess how some things are just universally funny (this was the “me talk pretty one day” story, which is basically lol-ing at how people sound when they first learn a language – obviously something we could all relate to). It was so cool though! I wish Leah could’ve stayed longer, if only so that I could improve my French this way (and she and Said could improve their English as well, I guess).

Oh yeah and then we also ended up getting sidetracked sometimes on certain phrases, or like idioms. At some point, we ended up talking about sleep, I think because we were all pretty tired. It was so cool! Oh and lol we talked about swearing, which I thought was hilarious, but I think Leah and Said took it more seriously so I tried to keep from smiling -_- I guess they’re both pretty conservative/they don’t really see excessive swearing as something amusing (I tried showing Leah the “You can’t kill the rooster” story, which basically consists of varying combinations of fuck, bitch, and mfer. She was like, ohhh, and I was like oh yeah … right … most people don’t swear every other word). So that was an interesting kind of cultural exchange, I guess. I guess in Quebec, at least, there’s a lot of religious peoples/Christians, so all their swear words are like variations of various holy things (instead of saying Christ, they say Chrise, etc. Apparently the worst swear word references the tabernacle, which is kind of interesting). Anyways, and then in Morocco, people call people who swear a lot “streetchildren” basically. So obviously it’s pretty much frowned upon. I was kind of surprised, though, that they didn’t associate any kind of humor with swearing. Like they both took it really seriously, even though Leah is I think an atheist, and Said doesn’t seem too religious … Maybe it’s just in the US where it’s considered funny/comical when someone swears excessively? I mean, I guess it gets kind of annoying if you’re around it a lot, but it’s not like oo your soul is tainted/there’s something wrong with you. Then again, if someone was swearing and they actually meant it, I guess that’s a different story.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Morocco continued

5/7/2009 1:30 PM Rabat time

On the flight from Paris to Casablanca. Definitely thought it would only be an hour, and it was not. Lame. There’s some pretty cool sights to see from way up here – I love watching the patchwork pieces of earth change color as we fly from one region to another. They were all green/yellow in France, but now, most are red or a dark green. Also the layout of the cities have changed I think – I forgot how in France, everything’s arranged like a hub or the spokes of a wheel or something, instead of like a grid :P
Anyways, pretty nervous about getting to Rabat, seeing as a) I don’t know exactly where I’m going (thanks Dounia), b) I have a bunch of (heavy) stuff, c) apparently harassment is pretty common for foreign women, so I get to try and fend off random crazies while also figuring out where I’m going and keeping people from pick pocketing my shit. Great. Basically, it’ll be a miracle if I don’t end up lost. Or broke. Heck, why not both.
On the bright side, things looking pretty beautiful.
Oh yeah and I forgot – laptop battery at like 30%. If I don’t find a working outlet soon, I am so screwed. Also, wearing dark jeans. Apparently it’s 31 degrees C. Not sure what that means, but pretty sure it translates into something like flipping hot, especially if your dressed “modestly” (covered wrist to ankle). Although apparently the more modestly dressed the less harassment – so it should be an interesting trade-off. So anyways basically feeling pretty edgy. If this turns out to be a scam-thing, I will be so pissed. SO pissed.

5/7/2009 4 PM ish Rabat time

On the train/still in the train station. My hands/left hand feeling a little shaky (as in shaking when signing receipts and such), either from after-effects of adrenaline, or because of fatigue from carrying flipping heavy suitcase. People seem nice (so far). You get a few weird smiles, but nothing much else. Sitting by dignified-looking old dude. Seemed safest, since the few women decided it would be cool to put their bags on the seats next to them, and I wasn’t sure if the younger dudes would get the wrong idea if I sat next to them. Hopefully I haven’t offended anyone … Also, weird chanting teenage dudes in another car of the train. Not sure what the chanting/singing is about …
It’s weird to think I might represent everything that’s wrong with Western society, or like the anti-respectable woman to so many people here. I mean take righteous-looking old dude. Like my very presence could horrendously offend him just cuz of how I dress. Weirdness.
[pause to have ticket punched, talk to middle-aged lady]
Oo nice lady on train – so like ticket dude came by, punched my ticket, and then said something in French and I was like, what. So this lady in front of me turns around and is like, you can get off with us (with husband) and then we’ll show you which train you need to get on for Rabat-Ville. Yay. [reflection 5/9/09 – probably would have been totally screwed if not for that lady and other really nice/helpful people I met along the way. Kind of feel bad from judging everyone based on paragraph from flipping tourist guidebook. Then again, first time coming to foreign country and obviously really really scary until I met someone I knew-ish.]
View also very pretty. All these like square/cute buildings + prairie type stuff. And sheep/cows. Similar to Oregon, but less green, kind of. Also, have palm trees and cool buildings. And eucalyptus trees, I think.

5/7/2009 8:45 PM

At Rachid’s house [boss] – OMG getting here took so long. Took the first train, then got off at A~~ S~~~ something, and then got on the train to take me to Rabat-Ville. The lady told me it would be like the 2nd stop, but I think it was more like the 4th or 5th. Swear it’s a miracle I’m here. Also, tried to call Dounia in train station (fail) – so I almost ended up getting stuck with some random dude who started talking to me -_- Thankfully, Maryem and Rachid were at the station
[when I checked my email in the airport before getting on the first train – at a random bank booth in the airport, interestingly enough – Dounia said she would meet me at the station in Rabat-Ville. Not true. Then again, I was probably really late cuz it took so long to figure out where I was. Hence, tried to call her, but since it failed, I was like OK. In general, calling phones here seems like fail. Tried calling Rachid today (5/9) and it was fail. More on that later. As for story about checking email in airport bank booth, so like I went to exchange some money, and then I asked the dude if there was any wifi or internet connection, and he was like you can borrow my computer really quickly. So I was like OK. That’s why my Casablanca email was so short. Also, was first time using French keyboard so difficult to type, and was still nervous so hands were a little shaky.]
I was like walking around, thinking oh shit where the fuck is Dounia/shit how do I shake this dude [kind of a creeper, but could have been just worried about my safety while also hoping to get foreign girlfriend, since I kind of mentioned that my parents were in the US and it was my first time in Morocco. I really needed to come up with a good story, but I was so frazzled I just kept telling the truth when he asked me questions -_- Anyways, at the time I was pretty sure he was being a creeper, but then again the people here are so nice that it’s quite possible that he was genuinely worried about my safety (although not without hopes for some kind of gain, I’m sure). Hard to say.] when Maryem walked up and was like, AIESEC? O.M.F.G. I was so relieved. I was like, thank you God. Also shook off creeper at that point. Anyways so I was really gross and kind of tired, which made it vaguely awkward when meeting people cuz they do the whole European kiss-cheek deal. Not across sexes, of course, unless it’s like family or a little kid. Anyways, then we walked for a bit and I asked questions about work – apparently it’s Saturday today (???) [this turned out to be a complete lie/misunderstanding – was, in fact, Thursday, as I later discovered] and I don’t work tomorrow [pretty much true, although I did have an impromptu “teach us English” situation where I was like, wtf Rachid you did not tell me about this]. Still note entirely sure of what my hours are, but apparently I didn’t need to make any lesson plans. YAY. Also, I think I have 2 classes? About 15 students, but the bad thing is, they’ll probably be either my age or older. -_-
Also, I think I’m doing a lot of volunteer-type work, helping with kids (l’animation) [this turned out to be more like singing random Arabic songs/doing a shit-ton of icebreakers, but in Arabic or, if I was lucky, French; and learning some random Brazilian dance for reason that remains to be explained. Also, was with teenagers to 20-year-olds, not elementary school kids].
I thought more people spoke French than they do. I guess I’ll have to pick up some Arabic or something … >_> [so far this is fail. Need to find one of those listen-and-repeat programs. Rachid’s brother gave me a phrasebook, but so far is not too helpful].
Anyways, so we walked to a “grand taxi” loading area [grand taxis are a common type of transport – 6 people to a taxi, costs about 4dh, they take you from one city to another, kind of like a bus. So ex: we took a grand taxi from Rabat to Sale. Doesn’t stop anywhere along the way. Also, not seatbelts to speak of and lots of people wandering around in street.] and got in one. And then it was a drive across the estuary to I think Sale [yup] and then more walking until I got to Rachid’s house.
Sale is surprisingly similar to Japan – but like Japan in the 50s-ish or something. The streets look kind of like a less high-tech Harajuku. They hang up their laundry too! [apparently a Japanese student came once to Rachid’s to work at AMOSE in the past, and she apparently was constantly like, OMG Japan!] And the house is probably the size of a Japanese one. Maybe smaller, with more people – although some of our family in Japan I think have lived in a place just as small with as many people. Also, Japanese-ish style bath. You like wash first and then douse yourself in water. They even use the same kind of stool-thing to sit on! I guess the main difference is in Japan, you would then climb into a deep tub for a while [water goes up to your neck if you’re sitting] and soak. Not so much here. Still, I definitely feel refreshed.

5/8/2009 Friday 3 PM-ish

Apparently it’s siesta time now/started at 2 PM. Cool beans. So far I’ve spent the time making flashcards for tomorrow’s class [as it turns out, not teaching until Monday – again misunderstanding due to communication gap. More on that later]. I think it’ll be good. We’ll see … Also OMG almost forgot – so on the TN description it said they would help me carry out a “project” (ambiguous), which I thought was like optional – i.e. if I had some kind of activity I wanted to do, they would help me out, but if I didn't it was NBD. Was definitely not optional. So like Rachid takes me over to “Association” [the school I’ll work at] to meet people and I met some like director-dude and he was like, what’s your project, and I was like, WTF [not literally, although I did say something like uhhh what]? Awkward silence.
But I came up with one like 10 min after so it was OK. That totally freaked me out though. I was like oh shit I need to come up with a plan to like help people deal with social justice issues or something. Like start a food drive or educate people on nutrition or something, neither of which I know how to do/anything about. But then Rachid explained it was more like special classes on some kind of special skill I had. Like teaching tech stuff, etc. So I was like, OK what do I know how to do ended up deciding to teach dance (ballet, maybe hip-hop … depends on how modest the girls are/what’s allowed). So I think that’s what I’ll do. Yay I get to teach people ballet! Also might teach origami to some little kids at the center [this was when I was still under the impression that l’animation = playing games with little kids]. Yays.
I was thinking today about what I like about Morocco, and I think one thing is idk it’s really home-y? Cuz there are people everywhere doing all these different things. So cool! And they have all these like windy streets that have random dead ends, and you’re like WTF? Feels like you’re going in circles, so you keep thinking can’t we just cut through here? It takes like 15 minutes to get somewhere that’s not even that far away just because there are no direct routes unless you’re on a big street. Feels like you’re in a maze. But then it’s so colorful! Swear to God so similar to like 50s Japan. There are like all these apartment buildings about 3 -4 stories high, made of like idk? Stucco? And laundry hanging from windows and grate-things with some plants on balconies. And then at ground level, the streets are just lined/filled with little shops. So like the whole place is just a bunch of little alleyways filled with people doing random shit. And there’s all these like cyber cafes with internet, and telephone booth shops~ (literally just 3 or 4 booths inside a room, with a desk where you can buy telephone cards), and shops stacked with hella colorful thread and ribbon, and people making furniture, and people saudering shit, making thread I think (they have these strings that stretch basically down a whole street, with two people spinning them really fast to make them into thread I think), people putting thread on spools using this like spinning machine thing, people on motorbikes and bicycles, or in horse-drawn cart-things … places selling food – OMG bakery?? Filled with bread. So cool. Oh yeah! I remember being really surprised cuz they had all these shops selling little-kid toys – they were filled with these colorful plastic tricycles! I have no idea why. Also, never seen any kids riding them … -_-
Idk so I guess all the shops make you feel more at home. Oh yeah! And open-air market-type shops – selling food (fruits, legumes/veggies, grain, meat [think I saw a dude kill a chicken or something today … not sure])
And then it also feels like home cuz you go to sleep hearing other people talking around you (or snoring, if you’re the last to fall asleep), or listening to music in the other room, or someone doing homework, or something. And then you wake up to the same. Definitely beats being too separated.

5/8/2009 6 PM-ish

When to “l’animation” for first time. Basically sang songs/did icebreakers for a few hours. Fun though Also tiring. Also have bruise on shin from one of the games (I slipped into leg of chair when running).

5/9/2009 Saturday 12:30 PM

OK so finished typing up what I’ve written so far. Anyways, so continuation of animation story. Basically, everyone was like 15 – 21 years old, mainly 18. We started out by singing for a few hours, all in Arabic, so I was like uhhh …. OK. We did have a few songs that where I kind of knew what was going on though because they were like icebreaker songs. It seems like the louder you sing, the better, which is obviously difficult for me especially when don’t know the words. There was one song where it was like la-la-la and then there’s a person in the middle who points to someone and they have to sing “ Je suis ______. J’habite a ________” by themselves. So awkward. And then k the game where I hit my shin? It went like this: So there’s one person in the middle with an empty plastic bottle or something (person A), and they hit someone sitting down with it (person B). Then B runs after A, who has to put the bottle down on a chair and then they try to sit down in the other person’s seat before B grabs the bottle and hits them with it. It was pretty dusty in the classroom, and I was wearing flip-flops, so I kind of slid a lot. Which was OK, but then I took off my flip-flops so I could run better, and I was chasing after someone and I guess it was dusty enough that you could slide with just bare feet. So I like almost hit the dude and then totally hit a chair with my shin. OMG I was such a hit (quite literally). And then there was another icebreaker where you have to get up and dance for like 10 seconds or something. That was pretty fun too – some dudes in the room banged on chairs for a beat. So anyways singing was good. And then we took a break, ate some food (they eat a lot of small meals here, which is totally perfect for me. You never quite get completely full, but you never get horrendously hungry either), and then it was back to the classroom. This was when Rachid decided to be like, so Mary, teach us some English. And I was like, wtf?? You did not inform me of this beforehand. So I had like 10 kids staring at me across a table and was like, uhhh … OK. So I had everyone introduce themselves to kind of stall/also so I could try to remember their names. I noticed they had trouble with numbers, so we tried practicing those. It was kind of fail though since we didn’t have any pens or paper. So I was like, do you guys know any number games? And they were like, no. So I was like, screw numbers. We’re playing an icebreaker. So we played an icebreaker where you have a circle of chairs and one person standing in the middle. They say their name and something about themselves, and then everyone who also has that in common gets up and switches seats with someone else in the circle. It went pretty good. We ended up transitioning from “I like sports” or “I like listening to music” to “I’m wearing a white shirt” to “I like [insert color]”, which didn’t make as much sense, but I was like, whatever. I think they liked it/thought it was fun. It helps with clothes cuz you can point to what you’re wearing. The only thing is sometimes, people wouldn’t stand up or switch with people because they either didn’t get what was going on or didn’t want to risk being in the middle. They were better about it as they loosened up though. It was good.

Anyways, so we did that, and then we learned a group dance, which was confusing because Rachid (who was teaching) gave directions in Arabic. It was all right cuz it was fairly easy to get the rhythm and the dance itself was pretty simple. I just got confused on which foot went where sometimes. Also, Rachid got like really incensed for some reason when we messed up. Not really sure why, but he seemed kind of frustrated. I was like dude, it’s a dance. Chillax.

Oh yeah and the way back to Rachid’s was fun – I talked to some of the students, and they were like really interested and stuff. One girl [Ilam I think?? So bad with names …] was really nice and kept asking me all these questions and even linked arms with me! I was like, yay. And then there’s this one really smart kid [Ibrahim I think?] who speaks really good English. Idk if he’s in my class, maybe I can find some kind of more challenging activity for him … we’ll see :P
It was cool though cuz they kept being like, Welcome to Morocco! Or like, are the people in the US nice? And I was like not if you go to NYC. Or are you really from the US (or something like that). I seriously need to improve my French though (slash learn Arabic). Maybe I’ll watch French TV or something … we’ll see.

K and then for today, so like I woke up at 5:30 AM after going to sleep at 12:30 AM-ish (didn’t fall asleep until later though) because Rachid said I had class at 6. I took this to mean 6 AM, since I had been like, what time do we need to wake up (basically if I go out of the house, it’s with Rachid since I have no idea where the hell I am most of the time), and he said 6. Apparently, he thought I was asking what time he was going to wake up, not what time I needed to wake up. So I got up at 5:30 to take a shower (Rachid’s mom/aunt … not sure which … I think found this amusing [I totally adore her; she’s so cool], especially when he explained to them later why I had been up so early). And then when I was changed, Rachid had woken up and was like, why are you awake? And I was like, don’t we have l’animation at 6 AM? And he was like, no, we have class at 9. So I was like, oh OK and went back to sleep. Woke up at idk 10:30 AM or something and was like, oh shit I’m so screwed. Basically thought I was supposed to have been at animation by 9 AM, but then again no one had woken me up, and Rachid couldn’t possibly have expected me to know how the hell to get to the flipping school, so I was like uhhh …. Also, tried calling Rachid, which was also fail. My phone is just made of fail so far. Seriously. So I was about to leave with all my shit to try and find my way to the school, when it turned out Rachid was back, and he was like, where do you want to go? And I was like, don’t we have l’animation? And he was like, no that’s at 6 PM. So I was like OHHHH. I think I have something at 4 PM too … idk not sure. But basically I think today is just more of the l’animation stuff. Which was totes not what was said yesterday. Anyways and then tomorrow is seeing Morocco kind of day (beach, Rabat, I think a concert of some sort, where I will apparently have to sing??? FUCK.) And then I star teaching teaching on Monday. Apparently.

Anyways that’s about it so far ….
There was a pretty animated conversation at the dinner table yesterday. Rachid’s dad/uncle was apparently really passionate about something and maybe vaguely angry? Idk. He seemed to be mainly talking to Rachid’s brother’s wife, but not sure. I think she’s pretty shy, cuz she doesn’t talk a lot to anyone really. Oh yeah so people who are at Rachid’s family’s house (don’t really know any names -_-):
Two of Rachid’s brothers I think – S-something and some other dude (S-something speaks really good French and is apparently trying to learn as many languages as he can: English, Italian, Spanish I think. Also does random geography quizzes to gain knowledge about the rest of the world and basically is just all about learning. Cool dude. Lent me an Arabic phrase book (made by the peace corps lol) to help me learn Arabic. I should probably study, but not sure how pronunciation works … (This is for Moroccan dialect of Arabic, btw, which I think mixes French with classic Arabic).
Wife of Rachid’s brother (married to “other dude”).
Two old-ish people (maybe like 40, 50 – Rachid and brothers in 20s I think), who I thought were Rachid’s parents, but apparently not because I think his mom lives in Marakesh.
Rachid’s sister (my age) – I think her name is Nadiya [-_- feel so bad for not knowing peoples’ names, but it’s hella hard when they only tell you what they are once, and they consist of a bunch of unfamiliar sounds strung together]
Also, when I first got here, I think Rachid’s older sister (she’s the oldest I think) was visiting with her 2 (3?) kids, who are all really little – like 5 or 6 or something.

Also, on food –
So you like eat with your right hand for the most part here, which is kind of difficult. Especially yesterday, when we ate cous-cous (so good!!) and like basically you take the vegetables and shit (squash, chicken, carrots, some really good bean-things) in the pot (tanjin I think) and mash them into the cous-cous with your fingers, and then make the cous-cous into a little ball with just one hand, and then eat it. Really really difficult. So they gave me a spoon. I tried the other way – Rachid’s uncle/old dude tried to show me how to do it, but it was still fail.
Also, people eat bread with everything like all the time. Basically every meal, you have mint tea (green tea, in Japanese maccha + mint leaves or something + sugar), some kind of bread, and some vegetables to scoop up with the bread. They have the food in this big, shallow circular bowl/dish thing, and you like scoop things up the sides kind of. It’s good.

Also, took a few pictures yesterday. It’s kind of difficult to take any of the best scenes though (i.e. with people, or of the shops) because they’re like really touchy about having their picture taken by a stranger. Makes sense I guess … >_> Still not entirely sure why though. I mean seriously. Random Asian girl takes your picture? Not much harm going to come from it. So I took pictures of buildings when there weren’t many people around (difficult to do since it was the middle of the day). I think tomorrow I’ll take pictures in the early morning, when everyone’s asleep (people get up around 9 AM here).

Anyways, laptop battery down to 41%. Found a voltage converter that I had packed, so I can charge it, which is really good. Otherwise would be totally screwed.


OK so i lost my passport and a ton of other shit yesterday, so today we basically went on a wild goose chase for like 5 hours to try and file a declaration of theft. Basically, it went like this:
1. Find way to police station. Police tell us we need my passport number, which obviously I don’t have because I flipping lost it. I tell Said I could get my dad to send me a photocopy of it, so we decide to head off to a cyber café.
2. Pause at cyber café, which by the way is hella far away from the police station – I frantically try calling mom and dad, even though I know it’s like 2 AM over there. Wake up mom, get my passport number from her.
3. Back to the police station. They tell us we need a photocopy of the passport. We’re like, we don't have one. They tell us to go to the US Embassy first cuz they need something from them.
4. We go to the US embassy. I meet with some Chinese dude (random), who tells me I’ll need to go to Casablanca to get my passport replaced, but before that I need to file a police report. Yay. He greases the wheels a little bit by calling the people at the police station and telling them we’ll be stopping by.
5. Go on wild goose chase for some special stamp we need to buy to put on the declaration of theft. This takes like an hour.
6. Get lunch.
7. Go to police station. They tell us we need other information about the passport – date it was issued, place, etc.
8. Back to a cyber café (a little closer this time). I call up mom and get the information. Also talk to dad for like 10 minutes.
9. Back to police station. Finally, they fill out all the papers. One of the girls there is really nice and apparently has a cousin who lives in Tokyo. Cool beans. I am falling asleep at the desk.
10. Said tells me the police people say that we need to go the embassy again. Not really sure why, but we go to the embassy. The dude looks kind of confused as to why we’re here, but basically I ask him some more clarifying questions, and we set off for the bus station.
11. Take the bus home.

I swear I flipping walked around Rabat for like 10 hours straight. No joke. And we weren’t walking slowly either. We left Said’s mom a the beach (she took the bus home at some point) and then it was just like fastwalking everywhere cuz apparently Said’s like a baller or something. Whatever. I am kind of proud of myself though since I kept up and today my legs aren’t that sore. Anyways so that was the first half of Tuesday.
Other half also interesting, but will omit for now.

Yesterday evening was pretty fun. It was the concert or whatever. Originally, I was going to perform a dance, but I think maybe the track I chose was a little racy or something (there were a lot of adults and such there), so Rachid asked me to sing a song. I was like, oh shit. Since I’ve never sung in front of a lot of people, and didn’t really have that much notice. But it actually went pretty well. I mean, at first I thought I sang really shittily, since I couldn’t hear myself over the background music, but people were like, you sing really well. So I guess I sounded OK? Pretty sure I sounded better when I was practicing with just Rachid in the room, but then again, that was acapella (no background music), and with just Rachid. Anyways it was good. I sang the “I’m Yours” song by Jason Mraz – “Lucky” would have been more fitting, but I didn't trust my vocal chords enough to sing that one. So yeah. It was good. And I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I would be. People here are so cool!! If you just try something, they’re like yays! They’re so encouraging! And if you mess up, they’re like, it’s no problem (pas de probleme). Like when I was sick, and I was like, I can work, but Rachid was like, ARE YOU FEELING OK, and I was like … no. And so he was like, OK you don’t need to work. Pas de probleme. Ugh. I’m supposed to actually teach today. I guess I’ve been putting it off, in a way, for so long … I really don’t want to. It’s gonna be an absolute disaster, I can just tell. Fuck. I don’t even know if they’ve already finished the section in the book that my lesson plan is geared towards. What if they have?? I would be totally fucked. I’m so bad at thinking on my feet. Aghhh. Anyways. Not much point in worrying I guess. I’ll just go and figure out shit when I get there. It’ll be cool. Yeah … -_-
Also, I need to compose some songs or something I think that will teach people vocabulary – animals, colors, etc. But so far, no luck. Also, no idea where Rachid is, so I can’t ask him how far the kids are in the Vista 2 book. Whatevskies. It’ll be easier to figure out lesson plans after today though because I’ll have a better idea of the class and where they are (as in an idea).

Anyways so to recap, feeling good about the singing – omg almost forgot! So the girls in particular are so nice!! OK cuz like I went to the concert or whatever right? Well it wasn’t so much a concert as a like idk presentation on women in politics, followed by some singing and such. So basically everyone was looking really classy. I was thinking about dressing up, and decided for some unfathomable reason not to. I did put on a little make-up though … But anyways so I got there and was like, shit dammit. But they were all like, np don’t worry about it. So I was like ok … But then one of the girls was like, do you want me to do your make-up for you? And I was like, sure why not. I figured at that point it’s not like I could look any worse/I could only look better. So she put a hella lot of mascara and eyeshadow on, and some gloss, and I was like OMG. The only other time I’ve had that much make-up on my face is at a dance team competition. But I guess over here it’s fairly normal, cuz everyone was like, oo-lah pretty. And I was like, yay … -_-
So anyways yeah. And then after the concert, these two girls walked with me and Rachid towards home. One of them was the girl from before (Elam/Ilam?) who linked arms with me, and then the other one was the girl who I thought was just a friend of Elam’s, but turned out to be her sister (Marjda? Majda?) She’s really pretty. But anyways, Ilam speaks really good French, but Majda hardly speaks any I think, but she was like, We’re friends (toi et moi – amies). I was like, yay! Cuz I remember thinking the first few days that she thought I was kind of lame or something (she seemed to laugh a lot when I was around). Also, Majda dances really well. When I tried to teach people English sans plan and it was fail and basically turned into a dance party, she was like, mm what now foo. So hip-hop. Anyways so yeah that was cool.
Also, the dudes are nice too – they’re like really sweet. Whenever I come to the Association, they’re always like, Mary! Hello. Or like, Mary! How are you? It’s so cute!!! XD So anyways yeah. And everyone thinks I dance like so well or something. Idk it’s nice to be with people like this. They’re so positive! It’s like the perfect environment to grow up in. Idk I guess it’s really interesting to see how the environment can affect people’s personalities so much. It’s like you can just see how they were raised and such.

Friday 5/14 8 PM ish
OMG so got back from first time teaching – so cool!! It like actually worked!! It was so weird
OK so I definitely have to like improve some shit/mainly pure luck that today went so well, seeing as I had no idea what materials the peoples would have or what their skill level was, but yeah. OK so basically what did we go over? Umm
1. charades – some verbs
2. flashcards – some nouns/vocab
a. colors
b. they made their own flashcards and presented them (kind of)
3. more flashcards: numbers review (1 – 20)
a. played brief “game” where people write numbers on board
4. back to charades