Sunday, January 07, 2007


The King is coming! Last week they have been painting the curbs, and this weekend there were security helicopters overhead. Today I noticed that they painted the bottoms of the trees white, as they are in Rabat, but I still do not know why. I heard that when the King comes to a city there’s a major cleanup; that has yet to be in evidence but it would be nice to see. I heard that he’s coming on Friday for the groundbreaking of a home for old men and that there will also be a parade. I hope I see him! He has a palace near here so this might not be my only chance. I’ve seen a president, several candidates for office, occasional movie stars, but never a king! This one is in his early 40s and is quite popular; I think it’s against the law to say anything against him so even if he weren’t popular he’d be popular.

Not that this is a natural segue to Gerald Ford, but it occurred to me that the majority of the volunteers here were not alive when he was President or were so young as to have no memory of him.

I finished my knitting project – a headband. As I was starting it over several times, I thought that the best course of action would be to have the tailor make a fleece one that matches my jellaba, and the finished product is more or less pathetic, but the knitting was relaxing, and I will do more of it (though I may crochet next). The yarn here is – well, it’s like everything else – not exactly what I would want but it fills the need. I may look for some at the Monday souk. It’s smaller than the Tuesday one but I haven’t been yet and it’s part of my exploration plan.

Yesterday was the wedding dinner for the brother of my host father and the sister of the neighbor; I thought the whole family would go and I would have the house to myself, but only the adults went, and late. This has been a stressful week – one night all three kids were crying for various reasons (not all of which are clear to me) and later, Lalla was crying too – I guess holidays are stressful everywhere; exams are next week for the older kids too. Two months is a long home stay – the texts I get from my friends all share that sentiment – but it occurred to me that it’s also a long time for a family to have a stranger in the house, nice as that person may be. For the wedding I helped my host sister fill party bags full of henna leaves – this required weeding out all of the stems and sticks, not as meticulously as Lalla goes through the spices before she grinds them, but still, it gave me time to both talk to my host sister and think of some poetry. Though I consider myself a specialist in haiku, here are some limericks:

The women we work with make rugs
For big living rooms or for mugs
By hand they do weave
From morning to eve
If you buy one you’ll also get hugs!

The carver here uses stone
Fossils, minerals, maybe bone
At a fair in Rabat
He sold quite a lot
And now customers also phone!

Here is also known for its wood
The carvers are really quite good
There’s a metalworker too
At the artisana you
Can see them – and you really should!

There were party bags full of henna, uncooked eggs wrapped in tulle, a tray full of triangle-shaped milk cartons, fabric for a wedding dress for the bride (some of the traditional dresses have a plain under-dress and a lacy/sequined thinner over-dress), and a big floral arrangement. The henna and the eggs were not a part of the mock wedding we had, and there were no cones of sugar or honey or dates. The only thing this wedding had in common with the mock wedding is the milk. Why, my host mother could not tell me. Pictured are the milk cartons, with the henna in the background.

When I came downstairs from the roof I saw my host brother with my toothbrush in his mouth and for a second I felt dizzy. I think I have extra toothbrushes in the package designated to be sent to me but I don’t think I brought extra. I was trying to figure out how to go out and buy a new one and I decided I just had to say I was going out to get a new one.

I spent three tutoring sessions getting the report to the delegate translated into French – it was good to see some French, but to save time he wrote it out and we didn’t spend much time on pronunciation, though we did have a little discussion of conjugation. It was good to get back to darija in tutoring this week. I went to have tea with the owner of the Auberge for our mutual birthdays and had a long conversation with his wife, solely in darija – probably my longest conversation to date. Went to pick up the carte de sejour on the day they told me to come back, even though as I was walking there I had not a doubt in my mind that it would not be ready, and sure enough they told me to come back this week. Then there was a pink slip in my post office box, indicating that I had received a package. I waited for about half an hour only to be told that the package wasn’t here yet. How can the slip be here and not the package? I ask that rhetorically because of course there is no answer.

It's nice to be the King!
No, it's GOOD to be the King...which I have been thinking all week...and which I was about to say but I had a feeling you would!
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