Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ruth and the Stories of the Small Successes

I've decided that this whole thing is going to be about small successes. If I can set myself a few small tasks to tackle each day, shwiya b shwiya (little by little), I'll get there. On Monday, my victory was picking up my suitcase from the bus station where it had been delivered for me. Of course then, I had to drag my effing 50 pound suitcase through rain, mud, rocks, and puddles for two miles to get the silly thing home, and yes, I cursed some (or a lot) of the way. But I succeeded and I now have all my possessions in one place at one time, for the first time in two months. Despite the severe lack of big shoes, chocolate, and cheese contained in my suitcase, this success is very happy making.

On Tuesday, my success was asking about houses for rent in the town. I went to a couple of the four hanoots in the town, and asked the men there, in very halting darija - there was a lot of pep talking to myself before doing this: since I live in such a small town, anything I do is fodder for everyone basically, so I rehearsed the conversation in my head several times before attempting it. And of course it didn't go the way I planned, but Hamed at the hanoot humored me greatly, and I'm pretty sure I understood what he was saying. Which was that there is another house in town for rent (besides the one I know about), but the man who owns it is currently on the pilgrimage to Mecca, so I would have to bletti shwiya (wait a little), maybe a week or two, until he returned. Mashi mushkil. No problem.

I'd like to take a second and talk about a couple of darija words that I love.

- Shwiya. The word of many meanings. Can be 'a little', as in, "bgit zid atay? yih, shwiya, shukran." ("Would you like more tea? Yes, a little, thank you.") Of course, if you ask for 'a little' more of something, you're going to get a lot, so it doesn't really work in that context. Can also mean sketchy, as in, "shwiya internet". I have that - internet that comes and goes. There's the phrase shwiya b shwiya, as in above, which I say about 50 times a day, especially when someone is telling me I know no darija, and understand nothing.

- Mashi mushkil. No problem. It's just fun to say, that's all. Go on, try it. Plus it's a basic and much needed phrase.

- Safi. Means enough. Or that's all. Or okay. Or use it as a question. Or I like to say it at the end of sentences just because I can.

Today, I had a few small successes - and they are really silly, but whatever gets me through the day, right? Today was about conversational successes, ie. making myself understood. I went to the cyber, the photocopying shop, the post office, the mul xodra (vegetable man) and the association I'm going to be working with, and managed to ask where I could get photocopies, get the photocopies I needed, ask about my package coming to me, shoot the breeze, and get some product to take with me to Marrakech to show and maybe sell. All in that order. And on my own. Ha. Take that darija.

In a couple of minutes my task will be explaining to my host mum that I will be leaving the house at 7am to walk the 40 minutes to the next town (see below) to get the bus to Marrakech at 8am. The challenge here is that my host mum is I'm sure going to berate me about the early hour, and insist on making me breakfast (which I won't want that early in the morning) and then I'll feel bad that she's going to insist on getting up, when she usually doesn't get up until later than this. Wish me luck.

One other thing I'm going to mention quickly, because I'm sure I'll refer to it later, and it definitely confused the hell out of me when I first got here: the town next to mine has three names. Not one, not two, three. The official name on the sign is Oulad Teima. It's also called Houara. I have no idea why (maybe I'll discover that later). And the other name, which is my favorite, is Rbea u Rbein. Which means forty-four. 44. It's called this because it is exactly 44 kilometers from Agadir to the West and 44 kilometers from the town of Taroudant to the East. I think that's quite good really. And it's also another fun one to say. So if I talk about going to 44, you now know what I'm on about!

Oh, and I learned how to knit! Just going to throw that out there. I'm going to come back from Morocco an old lady - you've all been warned. I now knit, and later I will learn crocheting. Although, on the crocheting front, what I really want to learn is the crocheting with metal. Much cooler than just crocheting, although much more difficult and hard on the hands.

Anyway, safi. Up the stairs I go. (If there were stairs in this house.)


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