Here I am writing this from Tanger. Yes, Samira called on Tuesday from here and asked if I could make it for the weekend. Well, yeah! Besides, I want to see if it is possible to do a Marche Maroc in Tanger, and this was my excuse to come up (or Samira was my excuse to check it out). Anyway, my business plan was a bust, as the Artisanat was closed all last week for L’eid. Oh well.
So here I sit w/beautifully manicured fingers, pedicured toes and a haircut and blow-out. I was sitting in the salon chair, listening to Andre Boccelli sing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, getting my hair done for the equivalent of $7. And I don’t even pay that-Samira’s paid for it before I get a chance. Samira’s friends can’t grasp why I’m living in Hermumu and why haven’t I had my hair cut in 1 ½ years. They don’t appreciate the luxury of not having to worry about how I look in Hermumu. However, I’ve also decided that suffering and denial do not legitimize the Peace Corps experience. I seem to get spoiled whenever I come to Tanger. Maybe I ought to do it more often!
Once again, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Samira’s friends and family and her generous hospitality. This time I got to meet her other brother Hassan (Karim came in as well-both live in Spain) and one of her aunts. I was also included in the surprise birthday dinner thrown for her life-long friend Suad. It was at a beautiful villa above Tanger, overlooking the bay-private room, fires in the fireplaces, overstuffed furniture. Beautiful. Don’t click those rube slippers yet-we like Oz!
I find it a challenge to follow the conversations when I come here-Samira is always surrounded by a lot of friends and family, and the talk is a mix of Darija, French and Spanish. Most of them were schooled in private French or Spanish speaking schools here in Tanger, and French is the language of choice. It is interesting to also be working in the countryside with illiterate women in a Cooperative that has been formed to hang onto the traditional weaving patterns of their region. A country of contrasts.
We made it last night to dinner at a Chinese restaurant-there are a ton of restaurants here in Tanger-unlike the sparse selection in Fes. It reminded me of hearing about the Italian woman who loved to cook-everything looked great-but always still tasted like Italian food. The Chinese food looked like Chinese food, but still tasted Moroccan. Go figure!
I head to Rabat tomorrow by train for Mid-Service Medicals (and why does it take 5 ½ hours for what should be a 2 hour trip and where do I have to sit for a few hours along the way, and would it make more sense to just get a train there and taxi the rest of the way?), or MSM. That’s the annual medical checkups that all PCVs have every year. It will be the first time that all of us who trained together will be together since last June. I’ve seen most of them at one time or another, but not all of them. Should be fun to catch up.
I also hope to connect with the French School and the American Club Comissary to continue our discussion on potential craft fair Spring 2010. In addition, I want to meet up with Ilham to continue the dialogue on building a mentoring program with her organization of Professional Businesswomen. Inshallah to both.