Sherin makes ill-timed jokes in a foreign country

It’s been an unreasonable amount of time since my last blog post, but I’ll make the grand assumption that no one is too particularly appalled. Many tantalizing events have since transpired, and I’d be glad to share each one with you in excruciating detail.

First of all, I would like to reiterate the fact that Morocco is an insufferably warm country. Having said so, I would like to extend my condolences to Saudi Arabia, seeing as my face has now become the number one exporter of oil worldwide.

Nonetheless, I’ve been having an absolutely wonderful time here, all made better by the fact that I completely adore my host family. My host mom is an incredibly sweet woman who always offers me reassuring smiles when I feel I’ve done something stupid (which is quite often) and wakes up unreasonably early to make me breakfast and delicious mint tea. Because she doesn’t speak French, communicating with her often consists of games of telephone, some Darija I’ve learned, and various facial expressions (but who says a relationship can’t be built on smiles, amIright?!)

My host siblings are equally awesome and endlessly patient with me. My host sister always helps me with my homework, and on occasion I’ll provide an impromptu English lesson, which would be really great except for the fact that during my attempt to teach numbers, I forgot how to spell the word “three” for a good 5 minutes. I must be held in high regard.

In general, I feel so much more relaxed. On the very first day I met my host family, my awkwardness was almost tangible. Family time consisted of me sitting on the couch like a mannequin, with beads of sweat trickling down my forehead. However, I am proud to say that I have recently graduated to lying splayed on the couch like the hippo-sloth hybrid I truly am. Life is good. My host siblings and I just played cards and did magic tricks last night and I seriously had the time of my life.

Last week, I made a feeble attempt at comedy during dinner, when after being asked as to whether I was enjoying Morocco, I emphatically replied, “Il est terrible!” with grotesque facial features to match. I think I heard crickets in Casablanca. I never quite regained my composure after that incident and it certainly made me reconsider my budding Moroccan stand-up career. I’m also fairly certain that my family thinks I’m from Holland instead of Poland. Because I don’t believe they’re attending covert anti-Dutch meetings, I will passively maintain my alternate identity for the time being.

Cultural Enrichment Corner:

Meloui is a crepe-esque, bread-resembling Moroccan staple that I indulge in for breakfast and supper on the daily. For about 3 days last week, I truly believed I couldn’t eat another piece. However, I’m proud to say my appetite has predictably returned with a vengeance and I must guard myself at the dinner table lest I come off as a half-starved velociraptor. In fact, I am quite certain that at the time of this publication meloui constitutes approximately 67% of my body mass, with the other 33% being sweat and broken dreams.

An age-progressed photo of me in December:

Meloui

I have also visited a hammam (a bathhouse) and climbed some mountains since my last post! Both of these are experiences that deserve their own long-winded paragraphs, so please wait patiently for my next installment.

Here is a picture of me resembling homo sapiens at my mother’s request:

Sherin in Imleel

Salaam!

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I hath arrived in Morocco!

After many trials and tribulations, I have arrived in Morocco in one piece. My journey here was relatively uneventful, but somehow tumultuous and stressful all the same. I was naively excited for my eight-hour layover in France, thinking that I’d be able to glimpse a bit of a country I’ve never visited before. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about airports, it’s that they’re all quite similar and are usually all trying to sell you weird sandwiches for $20 (which I promptly purchased, obviously). I became intimately familiar with each and every bench and chair in the Charles de Gaulle airport and would be happy to make recommendations should you find yourself in a similar situation and needing an uncomfortable and extremely public place to sleep. There’s something about napping on a hard laptop and a crushed bag of chocolates for 5-minute intervals that relaxes a person.

 

Regardless, I was picked up in Morocco and arrived at the Ibis hotel in Agdal pretty exhausted. The next morning, we had the hotel’s complimentary breakfast, which included freshly squeezed orange juice (IT’S MAH FAVORITE). I drank approximately half a gallon of the citrus paradise, surely to the chagrin of the poor man squeezing the oranges. However, anyone who has unfortunately seen or experienced the sheer amount of liquid I am capable of sweating out is sure to understand why I consume so many fluids.

 

After orientation, we took a quick tour of Rabat with our Moroccan buddies, where this gem was produced:

 If you’ve never seen Sherin in even mildly warm weather, this is what she looks like. Do not fall prey to my seductive powers. (This is incidentally also the first picture of me in Morocco. I’m not sure if this is an omen) Credit to Fiona for this masterpiece.

 

Morocco arch

The question of our host families was one we were all excited and a bit nervous about, and I was introduced to my host mother and siblings on Sunday morning. I’m living in Temara, which is a coastal city right outside Rabat. My host mom is an incredibly sweet person and greeted me with the customary kisses on the cheek, as did her two daughters and son. I requested that my family speak as little English as possible, and my wish was duly granted. My mother only speaks Darija (Moroccan colloquial), and my host siblings speak both Darija and French, and only a bit of English here and there. To put it simply, communication is quite the ordeal. I have never been more thankful for my high school French classes, although when I think I’m saying “Kawtar, could you please pass the napkin”, I probably sound more like, “Me want soft paper, yes me is hungry”. Thankfully, my family is more than patient with me, and the siblings relay my questions and statements to my host mom. So far, we are managing quite well, but I’m hoping to gain some Darija vocabulary in the weeks to come.

I start classes tomorrow, so that’ll be interesting! Also, did I mention that it’s hot because it’s really hot up in here. Like for real.

Salaam!

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