Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Moroccan Walk of Shame

Yesterday morning I did the walk of shame home. I walked home from a dowar that I don’t live in, at 830 am, in the clothes I wore the night before, after sleeping next to a total stranger in a strange house after a very long night… let me start from the beginning.

The day started as usual, woke up at about 9 to the birds chirping outside my window, it seems they have built a nest right outside my window in the mud and straw that is my roof. After my morning breakfast (I decided on oatmeal- a luxury I buy in the big city of Oz) and a cup of coffee I sat down to read emails annd catch up with the real world. Time sure flies by when your connecting and reconnecting to the internet and before I knew it, its 11am and I hear a knock on the door. After I throw a sweater on I go to answer the door and there is a young girl standing there. I recognize her from the day before when I saw her on my way to Souk. She had pretty henna so I complimented her on it, she told me she would come to my house to do it for me the next day, and here she is. This is the funny thing about people in Morocco, they use the phrase “ar sabah” (which translates to tomorrow) a lot. Sometimes it means tomorrow and sometimes it just means in the future. In this case it literally meant tomorrow. ,I of course, invite her in after brief “hellos, how are yous” she asks if I still want the henna. I tell her yes, so she instructs her little sister who is with her to go buy it at the hanut (corner store). I then take this opportunity to begin the tea making process since its rude to have a guest in your house and not offer something. Luckily my host family supplied me with all the goods for tea (cups, silver platter to serve it, tea pot and little bowls for oil/nuts). I made the tea Moroccan style (she and her gaggle of girls- 5 to be exact) were very impressed and we drank tea and ate cookies that I bought from souk and cashews (compliments of my fabulous dads are package) together.

After tea the henna process began. They sometimes put paint thinner in the henna to make it last longer and this was no exception. It makes the henna burn a bit, but it does make it darker. So after 2 hours of henna (front/back of both hands and some on my feet, but not enough to mean I’m married) the henna party began on the other girls. Before I knew it its now 2, and time for lunch. I wasn’t really prepared to feed 5 others so I decided on spaghetti since its pretty quick and American (Peace Corps Goal 3: Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served). I served the spaghetti on plates, with forks and taught them all how to use it. As you can imagine, between the henna on our hands and never using a fork it was quite a mess but we laughed and they enjoyed the spaghetti. The girls finally left at about 4 (after insisting on helping clean up the house, they did the dishes and swept the kitchen/courtyard area) and I was left alone once again (I have a new found appreciation for alone time).

The day before while I was in souk I was also instructed to go to Toughout (the dowar I used to live in) at 830 the next day for a wedding- maybe. Here is the thing about my language. I understand whats going on about 80% of the time, but sometimes I’m shwiya (sort of) confused and think I know whats going on when I really don’t. This was one of those times. I was 95% sure I was supposed to go to Toughout, but I'm never really sure which sucks because it could lead to a very confusing conversation trying to explain that I didn’t actually understand the day before. So anyway, I bucket showered, got dressed and headed over to Toughout not really knowing what to expect. I went to my host familys house and my sister wasn’t there, so I went to my friend Aminas house and her mom told me she was already at the wedding (bingo- I was right) so I headed over to Malikas house for her wedding celebrations. I arrived and the party was already started with loud singing, dancing (which is really just a sort of sway while you clap your hands) and lots of sweating. I was quickly wisked back to my friend Aminas house since I was not appropriately dress (my sun dress and long sleeve shirt wasn’t gonna cut it, so I was put into Moroccan wedding attire).

All the people who attended were crammed into a room, with the bride (Malika, a friend of mine) and groom on the far end, his family sitting closest to them and everyone else sitting on the ponjs (couches) lining the walls with people “dancing” in the middle. Malika was sitting with pillows under her hands and feet so she could get hennaed. Let me tell you, this wasn’t like the henna I had got that day, this was REAL henna. It took at least 6 hours, with 2 girls working on her, to get her henna done but wow, was it beautiful (pics soon). We literally danced and took photos (I had a camera and the grooms family had one, so everyone wanted pictures—they love pictures here, its annoying sometimes). Dinner was served at about 11, a whole chicken per table (whoooa!), elf pasta (spaghetti with powdered sugar and cinnamon) and watermelon for dessert. After dinner there was more dancing and I finally decided I was over it at about 2.

After I told my friend I wanted to go home I was told that wasn’t possible since the path to my dowar isn’t safe at night (due to stray dogs and being a female, stray males) so I wouldn’t be able to return home. I was hoping to be able to sleep at my host families house but since I hadn’t seen my host sister in hours (I guess she went home early because she got angry, I don’t really know the whole story here) I asked Amina if I could stay at her house. And that is how I ended up sleeping next to Aminas mom (a stranger), in a strange house, on the concrete floor and doing the walk of shame home at 830 the next morning.

Always something new here in Morocco and loving every minute of it!

1 comment:

  1. love this :)
    I totally get "ar sabah" in Ecuador they say "ya mismo" all the time ... literally translated to 'right now', but can mean any amount of time in the future... in 5 minutes, tomorrow, a week from now, or just generally/ possibly/ might happen.