Daily Life in Morocco

So I wanted to blog about daily life here.  I have lived in my own house for 9 years before moving here.  I had about 3 room mates all of which I never really saw when I was at home, so it was really like living alone.  Now I live with 3 other people where someone is always home and well it’s difficult adjusting to this.  Most people here in Morocco, especially in Khemisset, have a small house.  Ours is about the size of my house in Albuquerque, 950 sq ft.  However when you have to share it with 3 other adults it becomes a challenge, especially when you can’t communicate very well with the 2 ladies.  The language barrier wears me out literally because there are so many things I want to say to them and I don’t know how.  I am learning traditional Arabic but there is a specific type of Arabic spoken here and it’s hard to find books on it.  I think we live in such a small town that there aren’t any to be found.  I’ve been to the one book store that I’ve been able to locate and all they have are books on traditional arabic even childrens books.  So what I’ve learned my new family can’t understand.  Neither of the two ladies really know how to read Arabic so if I do a translator on my phone they can’t understand it or read it.  It’s proving to be very difficult for me.  I will say somehow I will make it.  It seems that both ladies are very sad and I’m not sure why.  Mbarek says it’s because they are melancholy and have been since the loss of Mohammed.  I wonder why after 25 years.

They don’t seem to have government holidays only religious holidays so her days off are few and far between.  When she comes home she is very tired.  Mbarek’s mother, Zahre, won’t let me help her with anything.  Is a matter of fact she insists on even washing my dishes when i take them to the kitchen to wash.  I just want to be able to pull my own here and not be a burden on anyone.    I’m still trying to find my place here so don’t be fooled when you read the great posts about how I love it here.  It’s just what I expected when having to share a house with others.  I am the new one here and it’s just gonna take time.  I really enjoy when Naima comes over to visit she’s my sister in law by marriage.  She’s married to Waleed Abdul, Mbarek’s younger brother.  I’m not sure how old Naima is but I really enjoy her smile and company.

People don’t smile here much!  I remember asking my grandpa once why no one in the old family photos didn’t smile.  He said it’s because they didn’t have much to smile about.  I wonder if that’s the case here.  I have made a friend though, a little boy who lives around on the other street behind us.  He loves Butch and watches for me when I walk him.  He will come stand on the corner and wait for me then he walks right along with me.  I do seem to find myself talking to the children more I suppose it’s they are more inquisitive about who I am when most people look at me like I’m a complete stranger.  Well I am a stranger, ha ha ha ha ha.  I’m sure if I knew the language it would be different.  People around here are trying to figure out who I am, they are speaking all kinds of languages to me when they see me.  Mostly I get approached with Bonjour because most of them assume I’m French.    So even if I get my translator they can’t understand what it’s saying nor can they read it.  Naima she can understand what the translator says but she doesn’t live here.  I’m learning to listen for words I know like the other day I was watching the news and I heard someone say “beelax”  which means “in my opinion”  I’m starting to recognize what I’ve learned and I can say things like… I want to.. “Anna awad do”  …   Anna awad do douche, I want to take a shower.  Anna awad do koot, I want to eat.  I have learned how to write my grocery list in arabic so I can say what I want to the shop keepers. I know my food and some numbers.  I’ve only been here a month and maybe I’m expecting too much out of myself.  I sometimes become a laughing stock when I try to talk because of my accent evidently.  For some reason the American accent is comical.

So another challenge is that we don’t have a washer so all of the clothes and blankets, etc are all washed by hand.  I must say they don’t even use a washing board so this is very different and I don’t have it down yet.  I can wash my things but washing the larger things is just my nemesis, it’s so difficult.  I’ve only done laundry once since I’ve been here.  Thank God I brought a lot of clothes.  I’m just now meeting the local shop keepers and vegetable sellers.  All of which have been very nice.  I still don’t understand what they are saying to me but I show them with my fingers and they know that’s one or two kilos of tomatoes I want and then they show me a number and that’s how much. Sometimes like when buying olives I show them the money and they give me that much in olives.   Many places do not have prices on things and they haggle pricing over everything, I find that to be a pain in the ass.  I like going to the world market, the grocery store, where everything has a price.  That’s what I’m use to.

Besides the kitchen being small and not being able to navigate around them cooking on the floor I have to share a bathroom.  This is the hardest part.  I’m not messy in the bathroom by any means but I always have to go a lot.  I drink a lot of water and liquids and take HTZ for my blood pressure so I’m always having to pee.  Anyone who knows me knows this about me.  It’s my Achilles Heel.  Anyway, this is the hardest thing! I’m not use to closing the bathroom door let alone locking it all the time so this is a change.  There has already been the unfortunate incident of me walking in on my mother in law, thank god she was only washing her feet so she could pray.  However, I think it made her mad because she didn’t talk to me for a couple of days.  I said I was sorry and excuse me but huh at 80 I suppose I hurt her feelings.  I realize they have to adjust to one more person in the house as well and I’m keeping that in mind by trying to stay to myself.  I’m not getting bored but it’s bordering that.  I have much to learn with the language still, one can only do that so much a day though, and I have our nice room to keep clean.  Another thing here is we have a very nice rug in our room but two animals who shed.  Me being fat makes it hard for me to get on my knees to brush the carpet, that’s if I can even find a decent brush or broom for that matter with stiff bristles.  I think everyone here has tile so they don’t need a vacuum.  We are on the hunt for a vacuum at the moment but hell finding one of those is proving difficult.  Mbarek tells me to just be patient, and I’m trying to be believe me.  I love him so much and he is truly a wonderful man and everything is worth it.  It will be in the long run.  Hopefully this stay is temporary and we will have our own house soon.  I just wish everyone was happier and smiled more.   So I’m going to get some fabric and start to sew.  I’m going to make a comforter cover for my bed.  I think that will keep me busy.  Both of us were afraid that I might get bored by being at home and well I don’t want to be bored but coming from where I worked all the time like a dog this is a much needed but a difficult change.  It’s hard to go from a Managerial position where you barely have time to get a moments peace to housewife and mother of two, wait, three animals full time.  This weekend I’m going to get out and find some art supplies along with some sewing supplies.  I’m going to make the comforter cover and some toys for the animals, then next week I’m going to spend some time sketching and painting.

So for those of you who are reading I need some help.  How do you cheer up a family that has very little friends and just spends their spare time cleaning?  I mean Habiba my sister in law does some amazing needlework really amazing but she doesn’t have fun.  I would like to really see her smile and enjoy some more things in life.  Any suggestions?  Hell I would love it if any of you would write me for conversation…   Hope to hear from you soon.