EAndi partama zwina u sghirra: meaning, I have a beautiful and small apartment.
On Sunday morning, my courtyard smelled of sardines, a local specialty. I heard them sautéing from at least 3 nearby windows. Still, I’m not a convert. Here, it seems people don’t use their patios like we do in the States, though I’m not totally convinced of my own generalization. I am one of the few people in the building with their own terrace, and certainly the only one who uses the patio like an extra room. My first attempt at air-drying laundry on my newly hung lines was an epic failure. After a day and a half, my clothes were not quite dry so I left them on the line. This morning, I awoke to the sound of rain.Vodpod videos no longer available.
On neighbors and friends:
I have been in El Jadida for a week. It’s a charming small city of about 250,000. I live downtown, 2 blocks from the beach, 1 block from a park, and approximately 5 minutes on foot to the Centreville markets. I am starting to recognize a few people on the streets, mostly waiters from cafés where I’ve ordered a café nus nus. I have enough Arabic so that I could knock on the door of my neighbors’ apartment and feel comfortable introducing myself to the pair of women in repose on the couches. When one told me that the older was her mother, I said I missed my own mom who is far away in America. “Don’t worry,” the older said, now you have a mother down the hall. My super, Aziz, told me that if I needed anything, I should ask him because I was his sister. And my new friend Naima, who is responsible for me finding an apartment, has told me 15 times last week that I am family now.
I met Naima in a bike shop where I was considering negotiating with a man named Abdullah over a yellow bike that I knew would cost me more than it was worth. Naima tried to help me negotiate even though I wasn’t quite ready to buy the bike. She is a teacher at a local culinary school, where they train people to cook for the hospitality industry. She travels and collects friends from all over the world. She took me home that afternoon, served me coffee and croissants and introduced me to her 3 lovely daughters and her niece. Since then, she has helped me to accomplish almost everything I needed to accomplish my first week as a resident of this little seaside town, from finding an apartment to applying for my carte du sojuour (residence card). Though Naima’s English is far superior to my French and Arabic, we often struggle to communicate fluidly. This meant that I couldn’t always express what I really meant while looking for an apartment. Once I wanted to say that a dark apartment would make me feel sad in the winter; I could only offer that I thought the place was beautiful, but too large for me alone. And, negotiating the price of the apartment was an incredible affair with lots of nonsensical scribbles on my notebook. While our get-to-know you conversations are still quite limited in scope, I am so grateful for this woman who housed me, fed me cous couse and introduced me to the hammam. It’s true what they say about Moroccan hospitality.
And, school started today. I guess it’s about time to rejoin the ranks of the gainfully employed.