I just spent the last three hours eating lunch. Three hours. Four courses. Two of them were full meals. And so obviously I asked why were we having such a big meal? What was the occasion?The response? No occasion. It's just a Thursday, that's all. But my host mum and all the other women that live in our building, who are all related, just decided that they wanted to get dolled up, and have a massive meal. Really, really massive. I'm in pain. I don't ever want to move again. It was like having a full cooked lunch (of lamb tagine), immediately followed by a full cooked dinner (of couscous - the biggest serving bowl full I've ever seen, filled with stomach wrapped in intestine - mmm), followed by fruit (my mum made sure I ate three pieces), followed by cakes and biscuits and tea. And throughout all of this, everyone is telling me to eat, you're not eating enough, your stomach is too small, you have to eat more, why don't you want to get fat, you're so tiny you can't be eating enough… and so on and so forth, and they think my I'm full protestations are just the funniest thing ever. Oh, and they threw in a couple of you have no idea what we're saying, do you, and you don't understand anything, just for good measure! I'm pretty sure I'm going to explode if I have to eat dinner - I've eaten more than enough for one day - and I think my stomach is realizing the sheer volume in there and is about to revolt.
Backtracking as usual, this last weekend I spent in Marrakech, which is quite the town. It's big, it's noisy, it's full of people, it's full of people wanting to sell you things, and this weekend it was full of the Marrakech Film Festival (saw Keanu Reeves, again…) as well as about 40 of us volunteers for a Peace Corps/USAID sponsored craft fair. Unfortunately the women from my association didn't attend, but it was definitely great to see how it all came together, so that when the next fair comes around I can get my women involved. On the bus home I had some time to do some good thinking about projects that I want to get involved with, both in regards to my association and for myself, and so I'm looking forward to throwing myself in to things. However, first I'm going to concentrate on the basics - language, a house, settling in, remembering people's names. I had my first tutoring session this morning - and it made me miss my CBT and LCF SOOooo much. Everything seemed so much easier there!
This week I also manage to get my Carte de Sejour business all finished, which is good news since the stamp in my passport expires next week, which means I would be here illegally. I experienced the process of Moroccan paperwork at it's finest I think. First I went to the office where I was told I could get said card, presented myself and my paperwork, only to be told I couldn't get it there. But, the gentleman I spoke with wanted photocopies of all my paperwork anyway. Fine. So then I went to the right office, but there was no chief of the gendarmes there, who is the man I needed to speak to. That was trip #1. Trip #2 - met the chief of the gendarmes, but was told I needed six copies of everything, and 600dh to apply, when I was told just 100dh. I got said photocopies, but called the PC to ask about the 600dh since that didn't seem right to me. PC called the gendarme, and told them no, 100dh was right. They agreed. Trip #3 - no chief of gendarmes at the office. Trip #4 - no chief of gendarmes at the office. Trip #5 - I took my six photocopies, and then was told, no, four would be fine. But they all needed to be notarized. Trip #6 - to the commune, where there is a notary. Done. Trip #7 - no chief of gendarmes at the office. Trip #8 - Handed in my notarized photocopies, but now my passport photos are too big. Last week they were fine. Sat in the gendarmes for nearly 2 hours while watching lovely, but technology-challenged chief painstakingly type all my information in the computer, then struggle with the 20-year old printer that likes to chew paper. According to him, I was born in United Kingdom, USA. Trip #9 - Hand in new photos, and apparently I'm done. I'm told nothing else is needed - but I'm still waiting for the phone call to tell me there's another thing they need. But, all that said and done, I still have to visit my gendarme once a month in order to get a renewed bit of paper that says I'm legal. Oof. I can only compare it to the Californian DMV, but worse. At least they don't keep changing the requirements on me.
Anyway, so that's that. Now, I'm going to try and avoid more food.