Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ruth and the Crazy Tortoise Lady (Called Ruth)

What a difference a day makes. I was in my souk town this morning, and it was like I was in a different town than the one I was in the other day. This is the town that I'm in on a regular basis - two, three, four times a week, and is generally pretty intimidating, but with the help of my iPod, my bitch face, and sunglasses, I can usually make it through without too much trouble.

When I was there on Friday, a man grabbed me by the arm out of the blue, which, needless to say, I was none too happy about, and demanded that I give him some of the water I was drinking. Yesterday, I was crossing the street and a random man (not the same one) grabbed me even more forcefully by the arm and tried to pull me in his direction, which was a pretty upsetting experience - especially as these instances are the first that I've had anything quite so physical in terms of harassment - usually it's the stares, the cat calls, the rock throwing. Of course, thankfully it went no further than just unwanted grabbing, but not fun.

But today, I went to town, and while waiting for some shoes to be finished (not mine - different story) I went and hung out with my vegetable guy, Mustafa. Who. Is. Awesome. I sat in his vegetable stall for over an hour, while he made me drink copious amounts of tea and eat cake, and handed me his cell phone with hours of video of Berber dancing. I showed him pictures of my tortoises (yes, plural - again, different story) and we spoke in my halting darija about the word for late (which there isn't one), how each of our families were, and the difference between normal tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. I love how trusting Moroccans are - Mustafa would get up and wander off to get the tea or have a chat with someone, leaving me in charge of his stall without batting an eyelid - while I was quietly dreading what would happen if an actual customer appeared, as I didn't know the prices of anything.

Anyway, it's interesting how from day to day it's a completely different story and experience here. The little things make such a different in either making or breaking your day. Of course, how I approach my day makes a difference too. A friend of mine just sent me "The Secret" (thank you Al!) and I've only listened to a little bit but the author talks about how like thoughts attract like thoughts - like if you're thinking negative thoughts, then you'll start thinking more negative thoughts and dig yourself a hole. Quite interesting, and true I think… I'm trying to stick with positive thoughts from now, which - I've said it before, and I'll say it again - is getting easier, as life gets easier in the cold land with the hot sun. As luck would have it, I completely understand why it's called that now.

And so here's the tortoise story. I now have two - Olly, aka the little one, and Tiberius aka the big one. Last week, I inherited Tiberius from two volunteers in my souk town, and luckily, so far, there's been no fighting or baby making between my now two tortoises. Two is enough I think. Between Olly, Tiberius, knitting, and my Bailey's addiction, I think I can now make it official. I'm the crazy tortoise lady of Ain Chaib. Brilliant.

I'll leave you with that happy image.


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