Still Alive

Oops...I didn't realize that announcing my illness then not posting for two months might look a bit, um, morbidly cryptic.

Anyway, I recovered from the condition mentioned below pretty promptly. But, the truth is, I don't think I like blogging very much. I find that it's an inadequate and alarmingly public way to communicate a very interesting and at times overwhelming experience. Also, it's amazing how putting a few weeks between me and a post can make me cringe at every word I'd written.

If you're interested in hearing about my time in Morocco, I'm hoping you can find a way to send me an email...

If you're sticking that chin up and moving on, thanks for looking at my blog, and to everyone who's expressed their enthusiasm and support through it. AnnieinMorocco, signing off.


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Listen to Your Heart

Recent updates: I've been incapacitated for the last two days due to a disease which I've finally figured out is boring old strep throat, but which I thought was cleverly masked by the fever and the chills. Now I'm slowly but surely building up an immunity to antibiotics. Awesome!

Feeling sorry for me? Then check out this link. My good friend Mona, who is a youth development volunteer out in the desert, just got a project proposal approved. She's trying to help the women and youths who attend her community center to fund the purchase of computers and dictionaries, both of which have obvious awesome usages. Mona and her community need your help to finance the project, so if you're feeling it, go to that website and chip in--every little bit helps!


At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get well soon! Love, Gavin and Cathe


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Me: The grad student said I looked like a seasoned volunteer! She said she could tell I've been here for a long time.
Whitney: That just means you're dirty.

Student: So on the outing, there are going to be six boys and six girls, including you, Annie, so we can fill two grand taxis.
Me: That sounds great. Soo, Fatima and Hawla are going to want to go of course, and Amina and Iman.
Student: Ah, well, no, not the girls who play les boules. They have their own club now, a different club.
Me: No, they come to the library every day.
Student: No, no, they're a different group. The girls who are coming are the other Amina, Jamila, Saida, and we need two more.
Me: I don't agree with this! You're excluding* people. You chose a certain group that you don't want to come, and that's hashuma**.
Student: Yes, you're right. Okay, they can come. 12 girls, 6 boys.
Me: You boys aren't organizing this just because you want to go off with your girlfriends, right?
Student: No, I want nothing to do with girlfriends!

*this student speaks very good English, luckily for me

Shopkeep: How are you doing with the heat?
Me: Hoo. It is HOT, isn't it.
Shopkeep: It is hot. And the sun!
Me: The sun is wild.

Me: How are you doing with the heat?
Woman: It is hot!
Me: It's REALLY hot***.
Woman: And the sun.
Me: The sun is wild.

***it's not actually that hot yet, to my dismay..

Fish man outside my house right now: Fish! Fish! Fish! Fish! Fish! Fish! Fish! Fish!


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Too Hot to Samba

Delicious Peace Corps Fruit Salad Breakfast:

--A bowl's worth of any fruit, chopped up (suggestions: melon, banana, orange, apricot, peach)
--A sprinkling of chopped almonds
--A sprinkling of All-Bran
--A dollop of non-sugar non-fat yogurt
...I'm off to make seconds now, mmm. But you should get organic fruit or something, I don't remember liking fruit this much in America.

It's getting unbearably hot in the middle of the day. When I got a burst of energy at the cool hour of 9:00pm last night, I realized that the siesta schedule makes sense and must be adhered to if one isn't going to be miserable.

I assure you I'm not being culturally insensitive when I say, regarding a major difference between Moroccan and American culture, at least in my town, it is more accepted here to say you'll do something and not do it, especially regarding things such as meeting in a place at a certain time. As a particularly gullible American who has no choice but to take people's word at face value, you can imagine this makes work hard. People do get angry with each other about it, but then they get over it really quickly, especially if given an adequate excuse. Unfortunately this has left me occasionally feeling like I have no obligation to keep any commitment because of the number of times people have tflla-ed alaya (I usually translate that as something kind of vulgar, but let's say it means "say something with no real backing behind it").

I'm talking about girls' sports. We're down to three. That'd be fine normally, but today I didn't have the key to the dar chebab and I would've had to wake up the mudir to get in. And I knew he'd be mad if I did it for three girls. So I made them go running. I think they were displeased. New mentality: oh well!


At 4:15 AM, Blogger bleisenblog said...

I am sensing a Peace Corps Cookbook in the works.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous cousin j said...

That fruit salad sounds REALLY good!


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My Morning Visit

My doorbell makes the sound of birds. Despite my relatively newfound comfort in my adoptive country, I still have an irrational hesitation to go to the door when the doorbell rings. Let's just say my personal space is very important to me.

My landlord's brother showed up at the ungodly hour of 8:00am today, the last day of my precious weekend, wherein I intended to spend all day sleeping. First I heard the birds and awoke stiff in bed, a look of horror no doubt frozen on my face. I stayed put, clinging to my new favorite, "If it's important, they'll call/come back." But, my house has an outside door and an inside door, both of which I lock at night. The doorbell is next to the outside door. After the ringing and a two minute reprise, I heard knocking on the inside door. So, despite my horror, I knew it was the landlord's brother, who fixes things. But I was wearing shorts and a brassiere, yet another instant of the constant challenge of having to cover up one's shame in order to interact with the outside world (not just pertinent to Muslim countries you will note).

I took my time putting on my muumuu. Then went to the window. There he was next to his motorbike wearing his trademark beanie. He made the symbol for "sleeping?" I nodded, but told him to come in.

He puttered around and I casually swept ahead of him gathering things such as gin bottles and balls of cat fur. Then I made coffee. Now, in Moroccan culture, when someone shows up to your house, especially at a meal time, you're supposed to offer them food. I know I'm exempt from everything really, but it was nice of this man to come, even if it was at 8:00am. Also, if my dad were involved, the man would be tipped thousands of dollars just for existing. So I got to work on a fruit salad. I chopped delicious fresh melon, banana acquired from the weekly souk yesterday, a peach, and a couple of apricots. I poured yogurt all over it then sprinkled it with expensive All Bran. We split a French press worth of coffee, then I offered him the fruit salad. He looked repulsed and said he was happy with the coffee. And I was off the hook.

He's still in my house, so I can't do things such as yoga or going to the bathroom.

Updates From the Front:

--the dar chebab kids have come to me wanting to organize an outing. I think I weird them out by constantly saying, "That's GREAT! I love that idea and I'll do anything I can to help you!" Because I assume they're like, well why doesn't Annie do something? I tried to explain that, when I try to organize something, it's less likely to work for a multitude of reasons. But if they organize it, that's better. I think they just think I'm lazy. Anyway, they want to go to a lake, and that sounds great to me.
--aerobics-wise, one of the girls has started teaching the class in my place. Finally! I like to think I can call that sustainable development. However, she's very hardcore and I'm scared she'll scare all the less-fit ones away..
--It's getting HOT. At least not as hot as by Ouarzazate. I heard it was 100ish there yesterday. It is not that hot here, but the sun has become intolerable after 11:00am and until 3:30pm.
--A grad student came here the other day. She sent out an email to all PCVs in Morocco, trying to go places to get narratives from women, so I invited her. She's now off in a village with my tutor.

I just went out to the kitchen and found my landlord's brother mopping. He called me lazy. Guilty as charged.


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Ain't No Party Like a Dar Chebab Party

Two exciting things happened today:

1) The party for the reading competition actually took place, and was successful. The girl who won--who clearly knew she was going to win, as she conveniently wore a sort of evening gown--gave me a passionate hug afterwards. There was music and singing, and more food than I'd like to acknowledge. This is perhaps the second or third occasion where I've had to speak to a group of people in Arabic (not in English class). It's getting easier but I was still surprisingly terrified.

2) I got positive feedback for my bacci ball skills from many members of the dar chebab community. I admit that I associate Moroccan culture more with criticism than with people telling me good job--I know it's a method of encouragement, but it's hard to get used to. So I strutted around beaming, basically, and now dream of going to France to defeat all the retired men one day, one at a time. The girls are also getting really good and there's talk of us forming a team. I hear, though, that regional bacci ball competitions are infamous for people getting totally drunk...so maybe that wouldn't be a good idea. Yeah, you think you don't talk about stuff like that in an Islamic country, but you do...at least in Morocco.

List #2: Four Random Lessons I've Learned in Peace Corps So Far:

1) There's no good dinner on a hot night like a healthy gin and tonic.
2) Trust no one.
3) An idealistic white westerner in his/her twenties might go somewhere in Africa to try and "make a difference"; but, ultimately, the status quo of white versus black, the apathy of the world, and the direness of the situation will leave that same go-getter in a state of utter despair, which will in turn function as a profound coming of age experience, possibly resulting in extreme suffering (or so I gather from Blood Diamond, The Last King of Scotland, and Shooting Dogs).
4) Chocolate chip cookies are the best baked good in the world, and people from other countries will admit it if you force them to eat them despite their evidently somewhat unimpressive appearance.


At 4:04 PM, Blogger bleisenblog said...

When you come home we will be sure to praise you also for your bocce ball and cookie making skillz.


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"The more one travels, the less one really knows." ~ The Beatles

A student and I have been playing a lot of chess lately. He has a clever little move that he got me with several times in a row. Finally, I did it back to him. I tried to translate the expression, "a taste of your own medicine." Instead, I believe I said, "Now you taste your medicine!"

There's a guy who comes to the dar chebab to play bacci ball who's really good. He's been teaching me and I've grown very attached to him, as the karate kid to Mr. Miagi. He has a hoarse voice and the look of an ex-con, and plays with the ball in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The arc in his toss has the grace of swan's neck.

7am aerobics is leaving me exhausted, and the girls seem dejected and lethargic every time they come.

In a nearby town's souk yesterday, I threatened to kill a man with a rock.


At 8:40 AM, Anonymous cousin j said...

Maybe do a bit of yoga, energizing postures, at the beginning, and maybe a relaxation/meditation sequence at the end.

At 4:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would anyone else like details on the rock story? Annie's mother

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

I would! Annie, I have a similar story that takes place a few months ago when I was riding my bicycle to a nearby village. I did not actually throw the rock, but I pretended to. It worked out nicely.


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