Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ruth and the Roman Ruins

I know I've already complained about the bugs once this week, but I have another story, which I think tops the rest. I got up yesterday morning, and as I was getting ready to leave the house, I thought to myself, I'd better make the bed, so that no crickets decide to crawl in there and make their home in my pajamas. Again. And so I flicked back the covers in preparation for step two, pulling them straight again, and there, bold as brass, was the worlds biggest cricket/black bug/flying creature/mutant THING in my bed. That's right, IN THE BED. Under the covers, no less than 2 feet from where I had been lying shortly before. Luckily, I successfully I managed to get a tupperware container over his head, and him out the door. So, that was a really amazing way to start the day. How many people can say they've shared their bed with a mutant cricket? I showed the picture to my tutor today in order to find out what the thing was called in darija, and he had no idea, since he'd never seen one of them before. I'm not sure what that means.

But I did have really great adventure yesterday. There are two girls that live next door to me, the daughters of my landlady, called Soumia and Omia. They are super lovely, as is their brother, Abdelali, and they invited me to come and join them for lunch at their house. Imagine my delight when I was served chicken instead of mystery meat! (Did have to fight down two olives, but I survived to tell the tale.) But, we - the three kids, my landlady, Fatima, and her mother, got to talking - well, in as much as I "talk" or "converse" - after lunch and they were showing me their family photo album, and the two girls started talking about an old house, where there's a lot of sun, on the farm. I was confused by this, and they could see that I was not processing, so they decided that we were going there, leaving immediately. So off we went, and turns out they were talking about the old ruins of the mud house that their mum's family used to live in, which is at the back of one of the fields near my house. It was a gorgeous day, and they were right about there being a lot of sun. They brought along their school books (which I would have done too, had I any idea where we were going) and we sat in the sun and they read, and I took pictures and wandered, we played Marco Polo, found a turtle, watched the boys in the neighboring fields get chased by the farmers, it was great. Such a lovely quiet spot.

What else? Tuesday morning and this morning, I got up at 6am, yes, that's right - not a typo - and went walking with the ladies in my association. It was super cold - remember kids, the desert is not always warm - and pitch black when I left my house, which made for great star viewing as I was crossing the field by my house. The sky really is enormous here. And the call to prayer was still sounding when I left, which was really nice in a surreal kind of way. Usually I only hear it in my half-dazed state of going back to sleep. It was really interesting and quite eerie to see all the men leaving the mosque when it was over, moving through the town in their white jellabas, in the dark. My women go walking (some run) three mornings a week at this time - I'm guessing in the heat of the summer this is going to be the best time to go - before it gets to 120 degrees outside. In the winter it's just cold, but it feels nice to be getting some actual exercise in.

So I don't know if you're getting a sense of how I fill my days here - I've found that I am slowly getting in to a routine of sorts. Riada in the mornings with my women, and then I usually cycle in to town if I need to run an errand or go to tutoring that day, come home for lunch, spend the afternoons with my women at the association, studying and chatting, and have quiet evenings at home, unless I am invited to kaskrut or dinner after work has finished at the association. If I do end up at home for the evening, I get to crack into my top secret stash of "grape juice" and attempt to study.

But now I've come down with yet another cold so it's an early night for me… oh wait, what, I didn't tell you? I'm going for a world record of most colds in two years. I'm on three in four months, so I'm feeling good about my chances. If I stay on my very well thought out schedule I should have another one as a birthday present to myself in mid-March. Go me. Baileys counts as like a rescue remedy type thing, right? Good, glad you're on board.


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