Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Keifa naqool, "Leave me alone or I'll throw a shoe?"

May 11, 2010

I haven't really kept up the blog because every day here is like the other-- morning run, class from 10 to 12, a break for lunch, class from 2 to 4, homework and dinner until bed, repeat. The classes are really challenging, and we're learning a bunch of incredibly complicated words and rules. My teachers try to convince me Arabic is actually really easy, but I must confess, I think they're lying. And now my brain is so full of this new stuff it's forgetting the old stuff.

I love Fes. It's a beautiful city, and everywhere you look is an amazing view. While dealing with the men is difficult, the good people here far outweigh the bad. I absolutely love the shopkeeper down the street from whom I buy water just about every other day. Ahsan and I are on a first-name basis and I leave every interaction with him smiling. He's just so kind and genuine and welcoming. The lady who cleans our house, Leila, is also really amazing. She's like my older sister here. Next week she's taking me to get a jalaba, traditional Moroccan dress. The women wear theirs in really beautiful colors, while the men's jalabas are much more dull. When I first saw them, I thought they looked straight out of Star Wars.

They keep me from going Dr. Evil and throwing a shoe at every schmuck who acts like a creeper. Especially the guy this morning who actually invaded my personal bubble and touched me. Makes me so angry because Islam is such a beautiful religion and there is none of that blatant disrespect there.

We also found a sushi place and I've been there three times already; needless to say, the servers there recognize my face. KaiTai, the restaurant, serves legit sushi, which surprised me. Even better, when I went there last, the cute server asked Francesco if he was my father and then told Francesco he thought I was beautiful... doing it the legit way!!

Before I came here, I figured I would do more traveling on the weekends, but I'm so busy with class and homework during the week there isn't much time to explore this city. Instead of running around like a crazy tourist trying to see all the different cities (and I already saw most of them last time), I'm enjoying taking it slow here and soaking up my surroundings. I love seeing tourists totally lost then walking up to them and telling them exactly how to get to where they're trying to go. I'm sure they're thankful when an English speaker offers to help them without asking for money.

People ask me to compare Morocco and Lebanon, and they couldn't be any more different. I see almost no parallel between the two. Morocco is a much more traditional society, and the relations between the different religions give it a dynamic Morocco could never duplicate. In Morocco, men sit around in cafes and drink tea. In Lebanon, men and women go out for tea, for dinner, and in many cases, for drinks. The closest thing to that in Fes is the McDonald's down the street. I feel more at home in Morocco, though, and am thankful Fes doesn't have the whole clusterf*ck thing going on.

Two more weeks to go, and it's a bit bittersweet. I don't really want to leave, and am actually considering coming back next summer or something for more Arabic courses.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I worked in Algeria on the High Plateau for a year and learned Algerian Arabic, which is broadly similar. I loved seeing your photo - it brought back such vivid memories and sensations of the time - the small towns looked like abbeys filled with monks. The women had the white robe with one eye covered. I used to go to the baths and get heckled, it was hilarious, and annoying, but the female company was really brilliant. It's a very exciting culture. Persist with the Arabic, it can bring so many rewards. I used to make little notebooks of all the expressions, it's so different from standard Arabic - so you need to go on a Moroccan Arabic course!