I'm not sure where the last week has gone to. On October 15th we hit the been-here-a-month mark, although it still doesn't feel like this is now where I live, probably for obvious reasons, mostly because I don't feel like I've had a spare minute to gain any perspective on the last month.
Today my family moved my room for me, so I am typing from the luxury of my two sofa benches pushed together, in my much smaller room, which is slightly warmer than my massive former residence - yay! I also have a lock on my door, which I discovered was not so much the safety of me and my belongings, but just because the door doesn't latch, so locking it is the only way to keep it closed. I'm the only person in the house at the moment, as everyone else is now sleeping in the new house that they have built right next door.
Our group went to the neighboring town this weekend to meet the CBT group that's there at the moment, as well as 4 PCT's from a group in the South and 3 from a group East of us. There were 18 PCT's and one PCV in total, which made for very cozy sleeping quarters, but we had amazing Mexican food, and a really fun night. The town is very small - between 200 and 300 people, and is the only Berber speaking CBT group in our staj. The next morning some of us hiked up the mountain behind the village - no idea what the altitude was mostly because I can't find the town or the mountain on my map of Morocco (sounds familiar, right?), but the view was amazing. My legs are not thanking me today. (Vicky and Al - think Yosemite Falls, times about 3. Yeah.) I managed to get sunburned, so when I got home my family spent the rest of the evening asking me if I was sick with a fever, and when I would say no and say it was from the sun, they would laugh at me and call me a tomato, and point out the fact that you can see my sunglass tan line. But my fellow CBT'er and I rounded off the night with a dance party in the kitchen, which was very amusing. There is video footage, which will be forthcoming as soon as I can work that out. Same with pictures.
So, now we're back to language this week, which I feel like pieces of which are starting to fall in to place - just takes me a (very long) minute to think of what I'm trying to say before spitting it out. The tenses are all mixed up in my head, but I did realize that I was starting to think in darija a little, as I was trying to compose a sentence in French in my head (it's a language mess in my head apparently) and started putting darijian prepositions in it. It was weird. We met with our taɛawunya dyal elayalat (co-op of women) again today, during which we all had questions to ask in darija, so that was sort of fun, and a small personal victory in the I-just-read-an-entire-paragraph-in-darija-and-they-actually-understood-what-I-was-saying arena. Yay me. Quite funny on the way home, we were walking past a couple of little girls, and I said hello to one of them in darija, who promptly replied with "F**k you!" Clearly someone had told her that this was the correct response when an American says hello to you! I was rather amused by said three-year old.
This weekend I'll be going to the hamaam, in'shallah, which I'm looking forward to, mostly so I can call myself clean again, but also so I can see how it all works. The weekend is the only time that we can go as the women's hours are between noon and 6 each day, so we're always in school. We'll be staying in our own town this weekend though, as next Friday we'll be off to hub again followed by 4 days of final site visits (eep!) so we'll be gone for about 8 days total. Must cram in as much language as possible before we leave so I'm not the idiot volunteer in my final site.
I realized I haven't talked much about the food, so I'm going to do a little bit of that right now. Fruit selection here is pretty fantastic - my family has a quince tree growing over the house, so they climb up on the roof and gather the fruit, which then gets cooked in quarters with usually a lamb tagine, with potato and peas, etc. We had prickly pears the other night, which I've never had before; was pretty excited about that. Apples, bananas, and grapes are pretty much staples at the end of a meal. We had the most amazing figs from the souq when we first arrived - the last of the season, but looking forward to getting them again next year. For lunches we have a lovely cook that makes our meals - Hadiša - who usually makes us a tagine with chicken or lamb or fish with beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and/or peas, and a salad on the side of tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. We have discovered more cheeses, only available in large cities, but this week we've had edam and camembert - something that I'm sure will be a rarity for us in the next two years. And most of you know how my relationship with cheese goes. I've found drinkable yogurts that I'm having for breakfast each morning, pomegranate flavored - as I didn't do well with having a large hunks of bread, olive oil, cheese triangles, jam, coffee, and tea for breakfast. A little too much for me at 7.45 each morning.
Back to the darija… 10 days until final site announcements!