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O Fim duma Viagem

Something Next to Normal Would be OK

MOROCCO | Thursday, 3 July 2014 | Views [534]

 I was right. After a week of Senegalese accents, the politics class was much easier. I say that with the knowledge that I don't need to present this week- we get Friday off to “celebrate the 4th of July.” So I don't need to worry about summarizing and presenting the text. I do, however, need to worry about the midterm on Thursday, which will need to be a 3-5 page paper. In French. Written during the 2 hours of class time plus. 

The 3-5 page midterm is made either easier or harder by the 3-5 page Dakar write-up that we need to write. It's due on Wednesday, and since we're all college students, we had of course worked so hard on it. (I'd written a page on Sunday before going to the beach and learning it was due on Wednesday, not Monday. After that, I didn't touch it again for the next two days.)

At the end of literature class, we went through the syllabus, because I wanted to know if we were going to do the reading that had been kind of assigned for that day. Because there was Dahij, the reading we'd done for the Friday before Senegal and talked about all of Monday. There was the novel excerpt after that, and there was a poem for Day 1 of Week 3 that we were told to read for Tuesday. Turns out that we didn't need to read that excerpt. Which is good, because I didn't.

The syllabus listed a midterm not this week, but next week. However, when Nathan asked, the teacher said there wasn't one. He referred us back to the general IES schedule and explained that because there wasn't time specifically set aside for a midterm on that sheet, we weren't going to have one. “Do you want a midterm?” I hastily said no and tried not to worry about what this would do the syllabus, both for grades (midterm was 25%) and schedule (then what are we doing next Friday?) because if I made another comment he might decide to re-add that and then my classmates would hate me. (After class ended, I did make a comment to them about the syllabus, and also if we could try the “we don't technically have time for a midterm” to our politics professor.)

During lunch, we discussed what we should do for the Fourth of July. (Natasha and Cynthia have sociology. Every other class was canceled.) We came up with several wonderful plans.

Plan 1: Find a place where we can purchase fireworks. Dress up in red, white, and blue. Find a very public place to make a barbecue and set them off. For good measure, make sure our barbecue had a lot of ham.

Plan 2: Dress up in revolutionary clothing. (Megan has us covered.) Obtain foam bayonets. Go around poking confused Moroccans with them and calling them “red coats.” Scream things like “no taxation without representation!” Run into people's houses, steal their tea, and dump it into the ocean.

Plan 3: I found a directory of Rabat in the IES library and flipped through to find the bookstores. There were about 19 of them. Some had really nice names (Librairie aux belles lettres, librairie papeterie savoir plus) others didn't (Kiosque Maroc Tabac,Man Ray Drugstore [Megan: “It has one book. Specifically, a book of home remedies. Bound in human skin.]) We could visit all of them in a day, if we wanted.

I'm not sure if we'll actually follow plan 3, but right now it's the best plan we have. Visiting every single bookstore in Rabat is the kind of quirky quest that I usually come up with, so I'm surprised that not only did other people agree, but Megan was the first one to suggest it.

All of our professors began by asking us how Senegal was. The only time this was really challenging was in Arabic class. (“Kifesh ngulu 'interesting' b Darija?”) After a little bit of trying to help us respond in Darija, he let us use English. And then we got to see how much Darija we remembered. It was coming back by the end. (Another thing I miss about Senegal: Being able to say “merci” and not “shokran.”)

Most of the day was just getting back into a routine. Obviously it's not the same routine as it was earlier (I really miss having tea) but it will be our routine for the next month, so the sooner I can adjust to it the better. Really, the only changes from pre-Senegal was a single meal at 7:45. And I didn't go out with other people from the program, though we'll hopefully adjust back to that. (It took us nearly a week to meet up outside of classes.) I feel like there's a lot more of Rabat I still need to see.

 Dinner was the soup (it tasted less spicy then the day before, though that could have been my imagination) and fake miniature pizzas. They were fake for two reasons- they were served cold, with no melted cheese, and they contained something that looked and tasted like ham, but wasn't. Just when I'd thought that going to a Muslim country was a great way to get around my dislike of ham.

Liquid was watermelon juice. Sweetened watermelon juice. They added a small cube to each cup (again, these are small cups. Little more than glorified shot glasses) which brought it from normal watermelon-juice taste to really sweet. And then the last sip of the cup was more sugar than watermelon, and there was still a solid chunk that hadn't been dissolved. So, when they poured me the second cup, that should have been enough to sweeten it. Nope. They gave me another cube.

 Other foods included the honey-and-sesame-fried-dough Djessiah and eggs. The eggs were boiled, cut in half and covered with spices. Lots of salt and other spices (including what I want to say was paprika, but that's only because I like saying “paprika.” Paprika.) There was also a different kind of bread on the table, and cheese.

My host mother encouraged me to “kuli, kuli, kuli” and I kept having to repeat “shbett, shbett” for every single item on the table. And then I was served Moroccan tea again (so strong. So sweet. I missed it so much in Senegal) and went back to my room to do the readings for Tuesday.

Just another day.


Tags: books, food, fourth of july, school

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