Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer adjustments…..

Finally bought a fan-even hot moving air is better than still heat. Besides, my computer is working better w/the fan on it as well-was afraid my hardrive was gonna have a meltdown. And the fan has a timer so I now have it on when I go to bed and hope to be asleep before it shuts off.

Pepto Bismol becomes a constant companion. Doesn’t matter how careful you are, in the heat of summer, your system’s gonna be shwiya. Happens to the locals. Just can’t keep absolutely everything in perfect order-fruits and veggies are out in the zwiqa all day. Hanuts are cooler-out of the hot sun, but don’t have a/c, so all products warm up. Every time I travel I end up w/my sytem out of whack. (Note that it is also common for PCVs to discuss their bodily functions far more readily than normal). It’s interesting to note that I’m never sick in Ribat El Kheir-my new “normal” is good on my sytem.

Walking slowly. Now there’s one way the women stay cooler in their jellabas w/long sleeved t-shirts underneath. They move at a snail’s pace. Gotta remember this when I’m trying to rush thru the Sefrou medina to catch my transit to Fes or back home.

Riada. Between feeling a bit punk each time I travel and the heat, my workout regime has suffered. I only hope that my suffering appetite is making up for it.

August vacations. Lots of people are gone this month. Lots of businesses, organizations on holiday. Hard to get work done ‘cuz no one’s around to get your questions answered. We could take a lesson from this. They don’t answer email or phones during vacation. Gee, maybe that’s what a vacation is for! Decided that I need to plan vacation next summer for August-miss some of the heat and Ramadan-the 2nd year PCVs learned their lesson and many are out of the country right now.

Time changing. Rumor has it that the time will change back to “old time” before Ramadan starts the end of this week. How does one know? Since Daylight Savings Time was just introduced to Morocco last year, some people continue to operate on “old time”, never changing their clocks. They’ll supposedly change back to old time for Ramadan to move up dusk when the fast is broken to give people relief from the heat of the day, now that Ramadan is in August (moves up in the lunar calendar about 2 weeks every year). That means that Daylight Savings Time will have been in effect only a few months-further confusing those to whom it is a new concept. Oh well.

Cooking-or the lack thereof. When your system is shwiya and you don’t feel like cooking, you gotta get somewhat creative in meal prep. Trade ideas w/other PCVs, ie; soak ramen noodles 20 min-no cooking needed, then add them to veggies and olive oil for a salad dinner. Yougurt, eggs and smoothies become staples.

Heat adjustment. You realize that sweating doesn’t bother you so much-it’s more noticeable when you’re NOT.

Travelling…You accept that 105 degrees and riding 7 in a taxi isn’t abnormal-and I keep forgetting that you may think that’s no big deal, but a/c in cars and buildings doesn’t exist. And then there was the transit ride today where we had 10 people plus the driver crammed in the space in front of the seats. You had to negotiate space to put your foot down flat and hold on. Was warmer when I actually got a seat-go figure!

You learn to wear as little clothes as custom allows in your duar, and fortunately my town is relatively liberal-I can wear a sleeveless shirt in the heat, and found that skirts are much cooler than pants (no shorts for women).

Doldrums and attitudes. Have had numerous discussions lately, mostly w/expat friends in Fes, that seem to regress into Morocco-bashing. I’m hoping it’s the heat and they’re all feeling worn down. They’re all here for careers or love, but have chosen to live here, so it’s particularly discouraging to sit in on these conversations. Then I realize that I’m not having the same feelings because I’m in such a different Morocco. Thank the Peace Corps for that. I’m learning the language and trying to use it always in my town. I’m not in a big city, so I’m less anonymous-maybe feel more a part of the town. And all my friends in Ribat El Kheir are Moroccan and only speak Arabic or Shilha. There are no other Westerners. I believe that, even with those friends married to Moroccans, I’m much more integrated into Morocco than they are. I don’t feel (despite the fact that I am and always will be a foreigner here) like I’m on the outside looking in. But gotta watch that I don’t get dragged down into these diatribes-too easy to get negative.

Just a reminder that life is a self fulfilling prophesy-you get what you expect. I'm expecting a cool breeze right about now, yak?

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