Thursday, October 9, 2008

over yonder mountain

Friday, 3 October

It’s been a long but alright day. Woke up and went on a hike with my site mate on the mountains in our site. Only a few weeks ago she found out that two of our douars are actually located on the other side of the huge mountains, so technically, we had to go visit. So sad and embarrassing I know, that it took me nearly a year to climb the damn thing. First people told me I wasn’t allowed to go alone, and then when my site mate arrived we were still told it wasn’t a good idea. We finally made the trip when a male PCV friend of ours came for a visit.

A steep and rocky climb up, some little dog problems on the other side (luckily I was with people not nearly as terrified as I am), and we were in amazingly beautiful country. We’re hoping to make the trip again before it gets too cold, but for now Natalie and I are happy to just go up and down our side of it once a week or so just to get out of the house and more in shape. So today we did that; hiked up, took some pictures for the new brochure my friend is designing for my Cooperative, and hiked back down. Not surprisingly we got suckered into lunch at the douar closest to the mountain. Fridays are couscous days so I actually wanted to, but it turned out to be a congrats party for someone we didn’t know getting engaged to someone else we didn’t know. Typical, but whatev. So after three rounds of tea and two entrees (sheep and prunes in oil and couscous with some meat and chickpeas) and dessert, we were finally able to head back to the town center around 4:30pm.

Along the way I received the loveliest gift possible, a phone call from my best friend! Ya hoo! It was wonderful to hear that thick Wisconsin accent again and catch up a bit more than facebook comments allow. It was so great to hear about her life and being in the right place (grad school), I’m so dang happy for her I can’t stand it! She’s actually asking me for info on some stuff here that relates to a paper she’s working on. Talking to her reminded me of course of the world away I am. I deal with things like not being able to wash my dishes or bathe because the waters out, or who I have to go have tea with this week so they won’t think I’ve forgotten or hate them, and how many donkeys of wood I need to buy to last me through the winter, and how ridiculous it is that onions are now 4dirham a kilo when last week they were 2.5. These are my worries, and though I appreciate them, I miss higher education sometimes.

Tonight I watched more of the Planet Earth series, I got a few episodes from a friend and am enjoying it immensely. It really depresses me because I love it so much and have so little hope for it all, but I watch it because I love “nature shows” as it’s the only place that makes sense to me. So I’m just moseying through another night here, wondering what the hell I’m going to do with my life (does anyone else have a clue? Because I’m really out of my own loop) and wondering what I will do with tomorrow.

Maybe what I have to accept here is to just be here, impossible and ridiculous as it sounds. Because I love the pace here, and I fight it constantly only because it provides the space to think and that scares me. I have my silky happy cat, my humble little house and a community of people simply living here and fine with my odd volunteer presence. I hate that I don’t know what I want to do. I hate feeling so disconnected to the “real world” and that all my conversations in Berber are short simple and wanting, and all my conversations in English are about Peace Corps and everything we miss or want or are unhappy about and that we’re wasting our youth out here. It’s an odd social life. I stay in site a lot more and am becoming quite the chubby homemaker; making nearly everything from scratch now. Baking my own bread, I made an amazing foccacia loaf, rosemary pasta, apple pie, falafel, etc. etc. and with no kids or hubby to feed but my cat I’m eating far too much. But still I love knowing all that goes into my food and how it all works; I never want to own a microwave again! I’ve also kind of fallen into wine making, which is surprisingly simple, and so hashuma in a Muslim country I know, but I love it!

Speaking of food, did I mention I failed Ramadan? Well, mostly anyhow. It’s a month of fasting and while the first week I fasted because I was sick as a dog, when in Figuig I didn’t fast because it was hot and the people I was staying with were just too dang good at cooking for me to pass up. And once back in site and settling in I just couldn’t get into it. I fasted a few days, but nowhere near experiencing what Ramadan is all about. So maybe next year…? Eid was fun and I actually did a good job visiting many people in my site, and suffered a hard sugar crash by late afternoon. As part of my guilt but mostly for its own reasons, I will be fasting for that other very special holiday coming up…

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