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MOROCCO | Wednesday, 18 June 2014 | Views [397]

On Monday, we had more classes. There was some confusion about what we were supposed to read for literature, since we were on week two of the class, but there was one poem left in the “week one” packet, and we hadn't yet finished the story from Friday. It ended up being the poem, which was only one page long, so that was nice.

There was no confusion about what to read for the politics class. There was just a lack of time and energy after we'd all spent a very long weekend in Fes and Meknes. Despite what he said, the texts have not gotten any easier.


In the Arabic class, our professor asked if we wanted Arabic names, giving the peer pressure of “all of my other classes have Arabic names.” So everyone except me agreed to get new names. I kept mine under the theory that “Sabrina” was already Arabic enough. (I'd had several people comment on that, and our professor agreed, saying it was from “sabr,” or patience. It's more of an Egyptian name than a Moroccan one, though.) I was glad of this decision, because the teacher ran out of vowels by the time he'd reached what would have been my name.


Natasha was renamed “Amira,”which means “princess.” Immediately after, she was one-upped by Erika, whose name (Malika) meant “queen.” Nathan was renamed “Faris,” or “Knight.” Then Megan (who sits right in front of me when you're starting from the right of the front of the classroom) received the name “Wrda,” or “flower.” (“You guys are going to go home and get your host families to use these names. OK, Wrda?” She shook her head. “You don't like 'wrda?'” Since she doesn't need to pronounce it, I think she might have gotten the better end of that deal.) And finally, Cynthia was renamed sun, or “shms.”


When class was over, we all walked towards Cynthia and Natasha's house, and I learned which gate they lived at. (It was pretty far from ours.) Before we separated, we agreed to meet at Sidi Fata (we now all knew how to get there) so we could go to the boat cafe. It was a nice walk, with only one street to dash across. Specifically, one street, a concrete area that contained an ending sidewalk, and another street.


We'd made it to the concrete area and were preparing to dash across when Megan noticed a sign that said “pedestrians can't continue,” or something like that, in French. While she, Nathan, and I were stopped considering what we were supposed to do instead, Cynthia, Natasha, and Erika made it across the remainder of the street. So after waiting for cars to pass, we followed them, hoping the sign wasn't too literal.


Story I would not want to tell: 'I got arrested in Morocco for jay-walking.' I'm pretty sure my family would never let me live that one down.”


But we made it across the street without being arrested or run over, so that counts as a success in any sense of the word.


The boat cafe was nice. Drinks were relatively expensive, (around $5 for a cup of coffee) which mostly had to do with location (a similar cafe in Switzerland cost around $15 for coffee) I ordered a cup of orange hot chocolate (I didn't think it tasted that much like orange, but it did taste somewhat dark.) though I was curious what banana hot chocolate would taste like.


 By the time the drinks arrived, I was glad I had chosen something hot. Although the day was warm (nowhere near Fes temperature, but still warm) being on a body of water on a bobbing boat made things much cooler. By the time we left everyone was wishing they'd brought a sweater or scarves, and that will probably make a process improvement for next time.


 We talked about host families, TV shows, classes, and a lot in between. At one point, it came up that multiple people needed to buy toothpaste, so we were trying to remember and correctly pronounce the word in French. After about a minute, Megan pointed out how ridiculous we must sound to the other tables.


 Imagine sitting at a cafe when a group of French students come in. They speak in rapid French for a while, and then interrupt it to say “tooth. Toothpast? Toothpaste. Toooooothpaste. Toothpaste. Toothpaste. Toothpaste.”


 Despite the fact that the people in the tables around us thought we were insane (or perhaps because of it) it was a very nice excursion. It was the first time we'd all been out voluntarily, and it highlighted the advantage of a small group. Six people is small enough that you can all sit together at a table, all get food in a timely manner, and all be able to talk without interrupting each other. It's not big enough that it becomes necessay to split into small groups, with all of the awkwardness that causes.


 Before we separated, Nathan asked what that place that Nisrine had talked about that was the “cool area” of Rabat was, and suggested we all go there on Saturday. I'm not sure what the rest of us heard, but several people shook their head and said “Saturday's a free day.” Apparently we're all extremely possessive of our free time.


 With tentative plans to meet on Saturday for that, and on Wednesday for karaoke, we separated and went back to our houses.


 I was immediately served either a late tea or an early dinner. In any case, it was the last remaining meal that I would get that day. It was mostly the fried bread, cheese, and olives that I'd gotten used to, but there was also a spongier bread and honey that we'd add and roll up. It was good, though it had very different texture and taste (sweet instead of salty.)


 Then I tried to force my mind to do the politics and literature readings (the literature reading we were once again not sure about, because we had the story for week 2, and we also had an essay that he'd handed out that day in class) and went to sleep. It had been a long day, but I have yet to have had a short one here.


Tags: arabic, boat, cafe, food, toothpaste

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