Celebrate Summer - Sun drenched days and starlit nights...
-- Gooseberry Patch
Summer in Moroccan means slow days, unthinkable heat... 120 degrees, constant bucket baths, sleeping on rooftops, sleepless nights, smoothie and salad diets, beach escapes, family vacations, friend visits, frozen grapes and Moroccan weddings galore. Next year I'm smartening up and planning vacations OUT of Morocco. But my summer was wonderful nevertheless. Here's a cheers to summer in photos:
Moroccan weddings filled this summer. Shebat l3ars. (Translation: I'm full of weddings.) Literally, the whole village comes out for these events. Music, dancing, food, henna-ing... and no one sleeps until the wee hours of the morning. Nice.
Lainie came! And we road tripped in the dead heat. Hit Marrakech, Essaouira, Tiznit and my village. I'm incredibly proud of her. We did this trip on a Peace Corps budget. We squeezed into seven person taxis, slept in cheap hostels, bucket bathed... everything. Shared tagine at Ilham's. Henna-ed our hands at Hafida's. AND she learned some darija. Woo!
Then my mom and sister came to visit. They got a lot of loving from the ladies in my village. Talk about hitting home Peace Corps' goals 2 and 3. Mom learned how to knead bread and steam kskus. Emily made a tagine. We had exciting cross-cultural discussions. We introduced eating with chopsticks! Before they flew out from Casablanca, we stopped in Essaouira. There, we bargained for souvenirs, eat fresh seafood and enjoyed the cool breeze. I'm incredibly thankful my family could catch a glimpse of my life here.
For the four-day weekend, I escaped to Asilah with fellow PCVs. Asilah lies 46 km below Tanger. The mdina is refreshingly clean, well-kept and spotted with murals. Highlights include zwin apartment right on the boardwalk, Moroccan carnival, bumper cars (spinny ride... not so much), big scoops of ice cream, strong crashing waves, Pirates of the Caribbean boogie board and art art art. Minus the harassment, I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Ramadan reared its head last weekend. That means I'm nearing my one-year mark in country. On my plane ride over here, I sat next to a Moroccan native who was working in DC. He told me, "After 11 months of playing with the devil, Ramadan is a special time. You''ll come to enjoy it." Last year, I was still plugging through training. Having school from morning until sunset, I missed most of Ramadan. This time around should be interesting. Last week, I already had the joy of making shebakia with my host family. We balled dough, rolled, cut and flipped these bad boys before frying them in oil, dunking them in honey and sprinkling sesame seeds on top. By 6pm, we had filled two buckets of this pastry. And they still weren't finished!