Guys, bear with me. My writing is feeling very disjointed this week. My last post was awkward, and I’m struggling with this one too. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure how I feel about where I am now, or maybe I’m just rusty because I haven’t written in so long.
But if you didn’t get the hint, I’m not entirely thrilled yet with my new surroundings. In terms of the town, I haven’t been wow-ed, and in terms of the work, it’s been largely uncomfortable, with a lot of miscommunication and misperceptions. It’s been colder than anticipated, and I haven’t really found my niche. The produce guy blew me a kiss the other day, but that’s not exactly what I’d call progress.
It feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than a week. I’m living in this very plain and utilitarian neighbourhood, in what seems to be a fairly plain and utilitarian town. I have been asked if I’ve had a tour of it, but when I say no, no one offers to give it. No one has any suggestions of where to eat, other than the food court on top of the supermarket (insert look of exasperation).
This version of Morocco is not what I had in mind, and I’m not on board with it.
I’m on board with colour. With sights, smells, and sounds that are both foreign, but also now familiar. I want to be immersed in everything this country has to offer. But instead I’m being offered this watered-down version, and being told that I shouldn’t be so bold as to go to the cafes.
But I’m sorry, I think that’s a bit extreme. I think the cafes are fine. Yes, I might be a bit unusual, but if I’m here for a year, I think they’ll get used to it. I get looks when I eat lunch with the guys, and I’ll get looks when I drink coffee with them too. But I’ll make friends and I’ll earn my keep here. I’m not going to avoid living here just because I’m an outsider. And just because this isn’t the most progressive town, that doesn’t mean it isn’t able to adapt.
At school, it started out slow, a bit of orientation, and the assignment of classes. As of Wednesday, all I knew was that I was observing and assisting one class on Fridays, and teaching my own Saturday mornings. But, it seems to me that they like to keep me on my toes. Details seem to have a way of trickling through; each day I learn a new fun fact about my responsibilities. Such as how I was to teach a 3 hour class Saturday afternoons, but only found out an hour before that class. And how next week, I’ll be assigned another two. Why this element of surprise, I’m not sure..
Either way, it’s all manageable, and after 100-hour weeks on brand new projects in the middle of nowhere, Nova Scotia, I can handle anything. And teaching those weird little creatures we call children is actually not as scary as I thought it would be. Though a little transparency would be appreciated.
However, despite this disappointing introduction, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling a shift. Today I had a day off; I slept in, because I’m still tired from the travel, a bit sick from before I left, and learning how to teach has been a time-consuming process! Then I arranged with Hicham, our “man” at the school, who is lovely and adorable, and also so lonely, to show me the medina. He’s from Meknes, so doesn’t have a big circle here, and is very happy to have some new companions.
It was everything I was hoping for. It’s right at the beach, so offers some beautiful views of my new town, and has all the cute little artisinal shops (aka tourist traps, but I’m willing to look past that) I was missing. Then we went through the Marche Centrale, which is kind of an extension of the medina, but for locals. Everything you want is there! I came away with a new tea pot, incense, a pot holder, and a corkscrew – all things I had on my list, which I conveniently stumbled upon!
(click to view gallery)
Plus, on Friday, one of the staff made couscous for everyone for lunch (I suspect due to my insistence on finding an establishment at which I could find it myself).
And finally, last night, while I was on my way home, I passed by a mosque during Adhan, or call to prayer. It was a rather large mosque, so the call was loud. I was walking right past it, and looking inside you see endless mats laid out in perfection amidst the gleaming tile. The sound was both haunting and enchanting; mysterious, comforting, beautiful and captivating. I felt my heart filling with emotion, my eyes filling with tears. it reminded me that I was exactly where I needed to be.