Tag Archives: mohammed v

IN ABOUT TEN MINUTES

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My buddy Olivia is going to walk into this café and we are going to HANG OUT.

This will be a quick post.

“Hanging out” is a concept very foreign to Moroccans. It’s quite difficult to explain, because one can hang out without doing anything or meeting anyone. One can also hang out with a bunch of people doing lots of things, or go to a popular hangout, or (you know) just…hang out. It’s a surprisingly nuanced concept, and I just googled it to justify my inability to adequately explain it to the Moroccan youth who are so curious about English.

(insert a few hours of hanging out with Olivia, who is awesome).

I’m sitting in one of the cafés in the Rabat train station, which is pretty much the only source of reliable internet in this entire city. They’re playing a Lenny Kravitz/Jack Johnson mix turned up to drown out the trains. I’m attempting to write things (coherent academic things), but it’s about 9,984 degrees CELSIUS and humid and I keep getting distracted by the Internet and just how many colors you can use in Paint. THERE ARE SO MANY COLORS. So I picked red.

This is what I see going home, or leaving home if I turn around. That is my door. That is the view. That is where I live.

The arrow pointing to “Rabat” was going to say “mausoleum where Mohammed V is buried” but I realized I didn’t want to write all that out in Paint, so I just said Rabat. But everything to the right of it is also Rabat.

If I walk out of my Kasbah, down along the outer wall, cross some dangerous traffic, walk down the boardwalk, and then turn around, this is what I see. Cooool.

OKAY so here’s the sitch. I leave this country Friday morning.

You’d think that I’d be getting emotional about leaving, but all I can think about is eating a bagel. A real bagel. A real bagel.

And running around in as little clothing as possible and having it not be weird. YEAH.

We’ve cycled back to Lenny Kravitz on this playlist.

They sell iced tea here.

I’m having trouble with coherent thought and compound sentences right now, so let’s have another dance party!

 

Serenity

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Would I have imagined nearly six weeks ago that I would sit here watching the cars on the bridge, the boats in the river, breathing calm ocean air, and feel such tranquility?  From this beautiful space I see the whole of Salé spread in the distance; watch, from afar, the trains pull into the city, watch the slow construction of the new touristy condos just across the river. For the first time, I feel as much a part of the world spread before me as I do a witness to it from the outside. It’s a strange feeling, to have made a home; to have recognized my place here, made peace (for the most part) with the implications of that place, and to have begun to recognize the new ways in which I go about formulating my identity.

I recall the pressure I felt in the first few weeks of being here to have a formative experience here now, I recall how hectic and strange this country seemed, how lonely and isolated I often felt, and reflect on how (somewhere in there) all of that has changed.

Each day, I think of home a little bit less and read a little bit more; things that once unsettled me now make me laugh. I’m not so tired all the time, little things fail to irk me the way they once did, and I feel much more able to deal with the small frustrations and triumphs that accompany everyday life in this wonderful country.  I’m not so panicked and furious anymore, though my fervor for social justice and women’s issues has skyrocketed. I used to seek reminders of life in the States, just to reassure myself that it was still there; now, I seek ways to become more fully present here.

To the right of Salé, I can see the Mausoleum that houses the remains of the Moroccans’ beloved King Mohammed V, who reigned when Morocco gained independence from the French Protectorate in 1956.  Rising next to it is the Hassan tower, the minaret of what was meant to be the largest mosque in the world, until construction halted with the death of Sultan Yacoub al-Mansour in 1199. Dates, names, bits and pieces of the history of this country rise casually to the surface of my wandering consciousness, working their way slowly into the patchwork spread of days, colors, sounds, smells, and people that compose my experiences here so far.

As you may have guessed, this means that I’ve got a deeper awareness of Something Profound, that I’m becoming more Wise and Mature with each passing moment, and that I will indeed return to the States Enlightened in some way. Juuuust kidding! The rather contrived idea of philosophical illumination that’s supposed to come with experiences like these doesn’t mean much to me anymore, either. It’s just life, that’s all. They’re just people, that’s all. They’re just things, they are what they are, in all their flawed, subjective, and obscure glory.

I guess what I wanted to say in this post is that for the first time since coming here, I feel something close to serenity.  Even as I write this post, I no longer feel the usual pressure to pile meaningful insights into words; just a hope that my words might convey something, meaningful or not, to you.

(Huh. Reading over that post, I have concluded that there must’ve been something in the water in Fez that causes severe cases of the Waxing Philosophe, and must therefore provide you with a post detailing our adventures there. To be continued.)