Or, Morning Edition
Tomi the Drooly Kitty and Rime the Pregnant Kitty sleep on my bed every night and growl when I move. Really growl. Growl.
Here in Morocco, everyone lives with their family until they’re married, or something else happens and they move out. Though there’s really not a status quo with cultural stuff in the US, many Moroccans find it bizarre that we moved out of our parents’ houses at 17 or 18 to make our own way in the world, and find it even more bizarre that we don’t plan on coming back; that we might not get married at all.
Including Alexandra and I, there are around 10 people living in a house behind the blue walls, tucked away in a corner of the labyrinthine Kasbah: five middle-aged siblings, 3 kids, and the two of us. THEY ARE AWESOME. You’d never guess that the house was small; from the rooftop terrace, it feels as though you have all of Rabat and Salé and the Ocean to wander to; you’d never guess that money’s scarce, because laughter isn’t.
Oh. So we get up before the sun rises, and this is what we watch out the tiny kitchen window as we eat breakfast. Like, whatever.
The family is very traditionally Moroccan, but not at all religious (that means something very different here than it does in the States; I mean only that they don’t pray each time we hear the calls to prayer rise from the mosques surrounding the Kasbah. Maybe they pray in their heads, who knows? I’ll have plenty of time to tell you about religion, religious language, etc…anyway); they sleep, as I mentioned, on the couches bordering every wall, and share one big closet. They all speak Darija, Fous7a, and French, they eat in the traditional Moroccan fashion, they watch ridiculously fantastic Arabic soaps. The house is always occupied, always lively, always loud, never lonely. Neither of us really have any problem communicating, this family are experts at bouncing between languages, encouraging us to speak and explain things to each other. Abir and Wided are our wonderful, 12-year-old fraternal twin host sisters that we can ask about anything, Jalel is their 14-year-old brother upon whom we are planning a good practical joke to get him back for spraying us with water from the roof yesterday.
That’s another one watching the sun rise. The BOATS. AAAAAH.
Jamila, Farid, Boushra, Abdnmabid, and Huria are the siblings living here. I’m not sure what all their stories are; some widowed, some divorced, but it’s not unusual here for siblings to just keep living in the family house after their parents die. This family has been in l’Oudaya forever, I’m pretty sure.
People are starting to get to know Alexandra and I, which is nice; maybe soon they won’t try to rip us off at the hanout because we’re foreign, which requires us to overcome our paralyzing fear of haggling with a local shopkeeper (yeah, that is exactly what we came here for. Cultural whatnot. I suppose we’ll get there).
Also, people stare. ALL THE TIME. I’ve never been so conscious of being so white. SO WHITE! SOOOOO WHIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTE ALL THE TIME. SO WHITE AND PRIVILEGED. I think about it all the time. Every time I go out and catch 8 people staring. I wonder if I’ll get used to that.
Also, you think Seattle is well-dressed? Come to Rabat. One Thing I did Not Expect from This Experience: Learning about fashion. Moroccans dress SO WELL, it’s a fashion show every time we step in the street! On the other hand, they immediately change into all-sweats inside the house. It’s two completely different realms, the street and the house. The divides between private and public, female and male, h’shuma and proper—all these I promise to enumerate in more detail over the course of my stay here. There’s a lot to talk about.
MOAR PICS NOOOWWWW WOOOOO