Monday, February 19, 2007

Becoming Moroccan

I fixed lasagna tonight for the family. I think it went over well, but then again they're quite good at humoring me, so who knows? In any case, it tasted good to me and it was fun to work in the kitchen with Souad. Last night, I served Pasta Stephanie for a group of students at Caroline and Neal's apartment, where we had more guests than plates and opted to serve Moroccan-style instead, with six forks in one bowl. The equally communal chocolate mousse disappeared even faster...

It's amazing how quickly life settles into routines. Last Thursday morning, I got up and took a full shower (my first in a week) before doing laundry - with a system of large plastic buckets in the same bathtub I had recently vacated. It wasn't until Hannan walked in and chuckled at my slow and somewhat clumsy pace that I remembered that this was indeed not precisely normal, that in some other world I threw my clothes into a machine and picked up a book.

Likewise, having Sarah visit made me realize how accustomed I'd become to being the foreigner in the street. With her blond hair, we received easily twice and possibly thrice the attention I merit, and she found herself sensitive to the number of young men who greeted us with outrageous compliments in stilted English. I don't know if it's that I'm at least brunette, or that I've begun wearing traditional clothes most of the time, or simply that I've learned not to make direct eye contact with others in the street, but fewer strangers have tried to speak with me lately, and I've become comfortable with these bizarre exchanges.

In short, I'm becoming more Moroccan bit by bit...though I can't change my pale skin and don't intend to abandon my faith, I'm learning to fit in otherwise in a place that isn't so different after all. Souad just poked her head in to see what I'm working on and sends greetings to my other friends and family, courtesy of my Moroccan family - this has become my home, in a way.

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