Well, not me so much as my blog. Still Ruth of Arabia, just not here. Over here instead. I won't be posting here anymore, so don't email me about why I haven't blogged in a while.
See you on the other side.
I'm hungry. Not starving, but I could definitely eat. It's 3:15pm, and I'm trying to keep my mind occupied with things other than hunger and not being able to go in the kitchen. I've got a list of mindless, yet time consuming projects that I want to complete during Ramadan, so am getting started on those. But, I'm about to tidy myself and go over to my host family's house to experience the first night of breaking fast with them.
I've just gotten home from my host family, and I'm on to Day 2. I was successful on Day 1, and even managed to shock a few people with the fact that I was actually fasting - I guess they didn't expect me to be. It's going to be interesting doing this for the whole month though. I'm wondering how I'm going to feel about it by the end. When I arrived at my host aunt's house, we sat around chatting for a while, while they prepared harira (soup) for breaking fast. Around 7:30pm Amina served the men of the house, and then us with harira, dates and coffee. Then Amina and I went visiting to a couple of different houses - family, friends, and saw a couple of women from the association. When we returned Sadia had nearly finished preparing dinner, tajine, which we ate around 11pm, then pretty much immediately we all went to bed, around midnight. I was woken by the alarm going off at 3:30am, and promptly fell back asleep again, while my host aunts got up and served the men. Amina woke me again about 4:15am, and the three of us ate bread with oil and honey, rice with milk, and of course, mint tea, until about 5am. I'm not sure I slept much after this, so I'm definitely going to be taking a nap today.
And tonight I'm going to be staying home and breaking fast by myself, with a Bakewell tart and some Cadburys!
Aaaand I'm back. I know, I know. Long time. Don't worry, I have plenty of excuses prepared.
Excuse #1: Marche Maroc Essaouira.
Since late March another PCV and I worked on a craft fair for associations and cooperatives that work with PCVs across Morocco to attend in Essaouira (possibly my favorite place in Morocco). Everything went well, and as according to plan as could be expected. I think everyone had a good time, sold some product, and it was worth the living and breathing Marche Maroc, as well as blood, bruises and sweat (no tears, because there's no crying in Peace Corps). A little part of me is now wondering what to do with myself (oh, wait, there's still reports to be written and follow up to be done. Never mind.) Everyone who helped out was absolutely amazing - such a great team of helpers.
Excuse #2: London town.
Here's the short version: eating, drinking, catching up with my girls, dancing, more eating, some family time, shopping, museums (yay!), chatting, food shopping, trying on new shoes, more drinking, pub lunches, haircut, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, running for busses (thank you Al!), and more dancing. All while wearing little dresses I could never get away with in Morocco (never mind that it was raining.)
Here's the long version: I went to London for ten days, of which the first 36 hours was spent being the wide-eyed country girl in the big city - overwhelmed by the number of choices, and being able to pick things up in the supermarket instead of having to ask the man behind the counter for something. I saw lots of my favorite people, some family, and ate my way through town. Everyone agreed that I've gotten some color while living in the desert (shocker, that one) and by the end of two years of service my hair may well be blonde (damn you, sun).
I guess that's not *plenty* of excuses, but whatever. It brings me to the last three days, in which I've unpacked (kind of), slept (a lot) and been fed (a lot) by my host aunts. Plus, in contrast to the last time I returned home after a spell away, when there were nearly 100 dead crickets on my kitchen floor, this time? Maybe six or seven. It would seem the Cricket War is over. Bonus.
Next week begins Ramadan, so will report soon on fasting, breaking fast, harira (soup) and staying up late to eat. I promise to write more during my days of not eating and being hot.
Let me paint you a picture. It's 10.30 at night. A cricket chirps outside my front door, and a small moth flutters by my light. I sit near my fan and sip on my drink. Today's beautiful clear skies have led to a clear evening, and my village is peaceful.
Now, here's a different picture. It's 10.30 at night. It's 94 degrees inside my house, with its one window. That cricket outside my door is the largest and loudest I've ever experienced. He and all his cricket friends have been bombarding my house for the last two days, to the point where I can now kill one at twenty paces with my rubber house shoe. That small moth is small by Moroccan standards, which means it's the size of a small mouse, and it just dive bombed my head. That fan I'm sitting by is just pushing hot air around, and when I say sip my drink, I mean chug large quantities of cold water. And those beautiful clear skies made it hotter than nuts here today, and did not, despite all my pleas, lead to a cool evening, complete with breeze.
Today I went in to town to buy vegetables. I walked home from the main road, and in those 7 minutes - road to front door - I became absolutely drenched in sweat. I mean, ridiculous. I've sweated clean through two tops today, and am about to take my second cold bucket bath. I'm only just eating dinner, my first meal of the day, this late at night because it's been too hot to eat and cook until now (and still - 94 degrees?)
So yeah, it's hot.
But, all that said, I'm home, which is great, after having been traveling for the last couple of weeks. My tortoise is still alive, Pablo the lizard is still here - it's all good, despite the heat. The last two weeks have been action and fun packed, and the best couple of weeks in a long while. First IST, which was in the oceanside town of Mehdya, which is beautiful, and meant that after sessions were finished each day, we could all run and jump in to the gorgeous ocean. Then a trip to Porto last week for four days, which was glorious. I bathed in the spaciousness of not having to cram 7-10 people in a grand taxi; I marveled at the shopping center that served Caipirinhas to go; and I wondered at the feeling of wearing a tank top in public for the first time in 9 months. And Porto is beautiful to boot. All the makings of a great holiday - good friends, good food, good drinks, good city. Now, when can I do *that* again?
And so now, it's back to reality, and work. My craft fair project is swiftly approaching, and there's still plenty to be done. And off I go!