There are so many little things that happen to me everyday. I'm constantly making observations about what I witness during the mundane events of my daily routines and ventures. So, I've decided to make a list of these things, or at least some of them that I've experienced up to this point. I hope to make this a recurring issue for this blog with random updates when I've amassed enough little things to post. So here's the first edition of "Bad News Beard" - Morocco:
1. My favorite person in Morocco is the deaf bathroom attendant at La Paix in Ifrane. He can't talk or hear what I say, but he and I have formed this wonderful relationship without typical modes of communication. Usually just a hug and a kiss and a few awkward gestures occur when we encounter, but it's beautiful nonetheless.
2. There is a man who sells souvenirs in the park. Mark and I have passed him on several occasions and we are always obliged to stop and visit with him for a short spell. He doesn't speak English or Arabic. I don't speak Darija and my Arabic is really bad, so I never really get to talk to him.
Around the time of our first encounter I decided to let my beard grow (I have since trimmed it a couple of times). As Mark was talking to him he kept saying something, pointing to me, and rubbing his own chin in a manner that indicated he was talking about my beard.
Mark and I departed his company and he informed me that the man was asking Mark if I was a "fundamentalist". Jokingly, or course.
3. I decided to fast during Ramadan. Towards the end of the Holy month, some friends and I traveled to Casablanca, and I subsequently stopped fasting. As we walking through a market in the city, I stopped to admire the chebekkia at a shop. The man insisted that I try a piece and I refused because I didn't want to be disrespectful and eat in front of all of the fasting Muslims.
People in Morocco are very persistent, as was he, and I had to come up with an excuse now to take his chebekkia using my VERY limited Arabic. Since I HAD been fasting for over 3 weeks prior, I decided to use that as my excuse and said in broken Arabic "I can't eat because it's daytime". The man then asked me if I was Muslim, to which I replied, "Na'm (yes)" and the man buried his head into my chest and began hugging me.
Now I know some of you, or not all, may be a little disgusted with my lie. In my own defense, the lie wasn't intentional. "Na'm" is just a knee-jerk reaction when I'm in a situation where I don't understand what's being said and I want to get out of it. The friends who were with me contend that I'm going to hell, while I insist that even though I told a small, unintentional lie, I made this mans day. You wouldn't believe how happy he was.
4. It could be simply because I miss my friends and family, but I've noticed that a lot of people I know have Moroccan dople-gangers:
Chris from Cheapo Discs
...to name a few.
5. No one on campus will talk to me in Arabic. They all insist on speaking english.
6. I've taken to teaching Omar slang. It's fun.
7. We just got a foot of snow, and the people in charge of clearing the walk-ways are forced to use spade-shovels. On the other hand, they do have a Bobcat-style Caterpillar for the larger areas.
8. My MSN is email@example.com and I'm ALWAYS online if you want to chat.
9. Moroccan Fanta is better than American Fanta and European Fanta is better than Moroccan Fanta, but Moroccan Coke is better than any other Coke. And Moroccan Oreos are incredibly stale.
10. My little sister sent me a package containing two different kinds of deoderant. When I got the box, there was only one in it. A friend of mine got a package that was supposed to contain a backpack, tissues, wet-naps, pens, oreos, lactaid, a wooden bowl, and some medication. The oreos were missing.
Well that's it. The first edition of "Bad News Beard". I hope you enjoyed it.