Monday, December 04, 2006


A family after my own heart….My host father went to a conference in Rome last week (ah, Rome - was it really just this past March that I was there? It seems forever ago) and brought back two shopping bags full of – CHOCOLATE! As he pulled out box after box, all of our eyes were wide. And then we dug right in – not quite the feeding frenzy that occurred when the head of admin tossed M&Ms and Reese’s at the crowd, but a definite let’s-have-some-right-now spirit.

So what do I miss the most? I guess the right question is “what do I miss the most this week – or this moment?” When I read my niece’s question about Pizza Hut, on the side of the computer screen there was an ad for California Pizza Kitchen. Had I still been in Chicago, surely within the last three months I’d have been to CPK at least once or twice (I could easily ignore internet ads in the past, but that one caught my eye, as did one for Godiva last week - of course, now we have lots of chocolate from Italy! Had a gianduja at lunchtime). And for a while there this summer I was on a kick for Starbucks Decadent Espresso Brownies. Cheese keeps coming to mind – a nice sharp cheddar or some feta or blue to crumble over tomatoes (Marjane probably has them, when I get back there). I’d say my friends, but I have more e-mails than I can get to and I’ve snuck in a phone call or two (and since Martha is in charge of paying my bills I never see them, so what’s $2.49 a minute between friends?). So the answer for today is my bracelets. I have worn these two thin gold bracelets on my wrist not forever, but for a long time. I wasn’t a bracelet person and when Martha gave me my first one she said I would become one. These bracelets have a habit of getting lost or falling off, usually to be found again, but when the Morocco Welcome Book said not to bring anything you couldn’t afford to lose, I decided to leave them in storage. And I miss them. I did bring some bracelets that I occasionally wear (two that I made and one other) but they’re not bracelets I feel like wearing all the time. I think I’ve already lamented that I wish I had brought more jewelry – something I didn’t expect to feel! They do have bracelets here but more of the bangle variety, not the thin chain kind. I may get some though. But first, I think I am almost ready to get a jellaba – a nice warm one for the winter. More fun than a knockoff puff jacket.. I wasn’t about to bring the warm, bulky coat that I left in storage, but I did almost set my Ugg boots aside to be sent and I may regret not doing so (though I know which box they’re in….). Now it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that the volunteer before Lee would have gone home after two months because she was cold. It’s cold. And it’s only the beginning of the winter; not even, really. As I walk out every morning, the bank just up the block has time and temperature (just like my walk in Chicago, when the Playboy/Palmolive building had it. I was sad when they took that time and temperature away for the renovation!). It’s been in the 40s but not hit freezing yet. I don’t think it gets much below freezing and my fleece jacket so far has stood up to it, but it’s only a jacket and there’s an entire lower half of my body to be cold).

So, back to the last week of training. I had my language test on Monday morning – felt much more confident than I had in the practice with my LCF the night before. The conversation flowed more smoothly and I didn’t have as many ums and ers. It was kind of a softball test – I didn’t get asked a single question that I hadn’t practiced – and I passed. Which is enough for me. Now I can work with my tutor and with other people here to speak more and aim to excel. I need to work on conjugation, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar (did I say this last time?). The trainee who gave the lower-back somatics lesson way back when also had her test over early, so we met in the salon to do the cranial-sacral lesson I had been trying to schedule. Somewhere in the week I also got my crochet refresher and a Scrabble game in, so I left no loose ends. And I learned a new card game that I can’t wait to play again. It’s called Nertz. X number of people play (we had four), each with their own decks. You put 13 cards in a pile in front of you, the top one face up, and then put for more cards face up in a row next to the big pile. Then you basically play quadruple solitaire, turning over cards three at a time – the cards in front of you are yours and yours alone, but the piles in the middle are for anyone to put cards on and, as you can imagine, it’s fast-paced and can get somewhat violent when two people or more ry to put the same card on the same pile. As you use up the four cards in front of you, you replace them with cards from your Nertz pile of 13, and when someone is done you count the cards of yours that ended up in the middle and subtract those remaining from your Nertz pile and that’s your score. As with all games, the person whose game it was did the best, but I caught on rather quickly (Martha and I play double solitaire when we see each other so I’m used to the pace and the violence).

This morning I spent an hour and a half at the moqaddem's. The highlight was the certifying of the copies of my passport. Two copies of the page with my picture and two of the page with my entry stamp into Morocco. Total processing - 4 2DH paper stamps, 4 signatures, 20 rubber stamps, 5 different ones per page. Then on to the police station (still 5:50) - I had to go out to photocopy the new certificate of residence I had just received, but then my paperwork was all in order and I can pick up my carte de sejour a month from today - my first birthday present! Rushing around today - I then went home for lunch, did some business e-mail, on to the post office to ransom the TaHaRoot and found the first mail addressed to me (hooray! Even better - it didn't take so long to get to me). And then I had to see the rockcarver. And then I thought I was going to meet with my counterpart but I think he's gone for the day so here I am! Tonight the Environment Program Assistant (also the person in charge of Gender and Development) is in Azrou so I am going to meet her - and she has my bicycle! Maybe there will be a nice sunny day before winter truly sets in and I will go for a ride!

The pic is me at the scarf-tying tea talk...I haven't gotten into scarves yet, but they might be good for those between-hammam-or-shower bad hair days...

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