If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
-Mother Teresa

January 21, 2008

This Week's Update (I think I've run out of blog titles)

I never know how to start out my blog entries. How do I make sense of all the jumbled mess that is my life these days, and then present it in such a way that is decipherable and enjoyable? I guess I’ll just put all down in the order that it comes out of my brain and hope that you kind readers will have pity on this lonely blogger…

A week or so ago I went to Agadir to enjoy a relaxing weekend on the beach with my friend Anny. Between the two of us we have exchanged hundreds of text messages since November, so one of the highlights of the short trip was being able to talk to her face-to-face. The first day we arrived (after I took a shower…a real shower!) we went shopping at Marjane (the Target of Morocco), which was wild and wonderful. I felt like dancing up and down the aisles; I had no idea how much I really missed in the way of available goods until I saw it all before my eyes. We spent the following day on the beach talking and people watching, and enjoying our Marjane purchases of brie, a baguette and Nutella. It was a short weekend, but just what we both needed. Oh! And before I left I took the picture below of McDonalds (you can see Pizza Hut in the background). Keegan, I said I would take it if I could, so here you go!

Aside from my trip to Agadir, life has actually been relatively quiet. Since the holidays wound down we started to get back into a routine that I suspect will take us clear through to summer. I have recently learned to crochet, thanks to the guidance of my host and a book that my dear mother sent. In fact, I recently finished the hat below, which is a vast improvement on the last hat I made (remember the yellow and red cone shaped blob anyone?). I have found that the beauty of making your own hat is that you can adjust it to properly fit the size for your head, which in my case is gigantic. And for those of you who suffer from GBH (that’s Genetic Big Head) like I do, you know how miserable it is to have to squeeze your huge brain into a tiny hat too keep warm, and then come out with a permanent imprint of it on your forehead. No more! I crocheted myself a lovely, huge hat that leaves no mark and keeps me so very warm. I took this picture of it to share with all of you. As it turns out profile self-portraits are quite the challenge…

And now that I’ve learned to knit and crochet cold weather items, the mercury seems to be rising a bit and life is not quite so cold anymore. I’m not complaining, and perhaps February has some nasty surprises in store, but I just think my timing is so funny. Anyhow, now that the weather is improving, the girls and I are spending much more time outdoors (yay!). I can’t even begin to express how much this has lifted all of our spirits, especially mine. A number of times after working at the Nedi we have packed tea/coffee and delicious snacks (thanks Erin for the candy canes – they were a big hit!), and then hiked up the hills or into the mountains to relax, chat and enjoy our tasty treats. In the way of language, I think it’s the main reason my confidence and skills have improved so much recently. Because everyone is so relaxed on these outings and the conversation is lighthearted and easygoing, I feel more comfortable with experimenting with new words and concepts. Yesterday was really one of the best days I’ve had in the way of language, and I found myself not only understanding some of their jokes but being able to make a couple of them myself.

So yesterday we went on one of our Sunday hikes into the mountains, which we hadn’t done since before l’Eid Mqorn. It was a new hike that I hadn’t done before, so it was especially exciting. The girls packed an unbelievable feast for seven and we situated ourselves in the shade near a lovely little clearing. It was so relaxing; there was a gentle breeze, the sound of a trickling stream nearby, the sun was shining, and everything is turning green and blossoming so the scenery was just perfect. I couldn’t believe how much food they brought, but it was all delicious and they made sure I tried everything at least once. To top it off, on the walk home we were treated with the most spectacular view of the moon that is just about full. What a great beginning to what I hope will be a very successful week…

And what does this week have in store? For starters, I hope that it brings a quick end to a very stressful house hunt that has wreaked havoc on my nerves for the last 6 weeks. There is hope yet, and if all goes as planned (which it often doesn’t) I will see a house in my own village tomorrow. Also, I know that I will be teaching a few English lessons at the Nedi. Last week, during a lapse in conversation at the Nedi (we were all knitting and crocheting as normal), I was handed a piece of chalk and half-jokingly instructed to teach English. I jumped at the chance to simply do something different, and that started a week worth of impromptu lessons. I’ve never officially taught anything before, so it is really wild to be thrown into it with little more than a 30 second warning, but perhaps that was the best way for me to start. I’m looking forward to this weeks lessons, and so are my “students”; I’m totally amazed at their progress already!

Below I’ve included some more photos. I can’t understand why it should make a difference where in the world I am when I’m updating this blog, but for some reason I cannot successfully integrate the photos into the paragraphs above. So until I figure out why, I’ll just have to keep doing it this way. Thanks for reading!




Beach in Agadir

Sunset from the cafe on the beach

This one speaks for itself...just don't miss the Pizza Hut in the background.

Here's the hat a made!

A lovely sunny clearing near our picnic spot on our hike.

Here we are, just the girls, on a Sunday afternoon picnic

Naima, Yours Truly, Saadia

The almond trees are already blossoming! They're simply lovely!

The girls from my village...I love this picture

Some yellow flowers

Some purple flowers

An argan tree (they make great cosmetic and cooking oil from this tree all over this region)

Mountain and moon view on our hike down

This is a symbol from the Tashlheit written language (no longer used)...oh, and me