27 June 2010

Missing You

News Link of the Day: How I Became a Leading Voice for Moroccan Women (no it's not ME, but a prominent Moroccan linguist)

Picture of the Day:


This is our Intercultural Dialogue Group working together on learning a haiku they wrote (in both Moroccan Arabic and English), and figuring out how to present it to the larger group.




Thinking about the things that I’ve missed from Marrakech and Morocco, most of them I only realized I missed them upon my return. I missed the donkeys in the morning, I missed the coo of pigeons, I missed the not-so-rare times that birds fly into my living room or kitchen, I missed the way you can be walking along a street, and step between areas of tantalizing smells, and stomach-turning smells, I missed the dry dusty smell mixed with cooking meat smoke of Marrakech, I missed the way that everything is painted the ochre color, down to the electrical cords, and I even missed the way that tourists’ eyes light up when they catch the Jma Elfna at night.

I also missed cultural things, and the way people behave. Moroccans (and I feel like this happens in a lot of other cultures) tend to talk all at once when their in a big group. I bet Americans do it to, but it is much more noticeable to me when they are speaking in Arabic. Probably because I have to do my best just to keep up. I missed being able to sum up a relationship between men and women in two words: “Khoya” and “Khti”, meaning my brother, my sister. I can talk casually with almost any man as long as I use khoya over and over again. Some men, obviously, need to hear it more frequently. Conversely, I can use it to express to a man that he is important to me, but not in THAT way.

I really missed – and this I realized I missed while I was in Milwaukee – the way that speaking Arabic and having “blonde” hair makes me special. I mean, I know that it does, but no one else but me can acknowledge it in the US. Here, I see the way people’s eyes light up, and their smile gets wider, and they open up their personalities to me when I say that first sentence in Moroccan Arabic that makes them believe. Sometimes, it can get old to have to explain myself to 20 new people in one day, but, in the end, I am so grateful for my gift of languages. I am grateful because it opened up for me this completely different country that 95% of tourists will never see. And now that I know that language can do that, I always strive to learn as much as I can of any language.

Tomorrow we start our second week here, and it seems like I never left, but also that I’ve been working with these students and this center for a long time as well. We start the week with a Darija (Moroccan Arabic) test for the students, and then Monday night and Tuesday we are going to visit my town, Imlil, and Ourika. Nothing contrasts more with Marrakech than the countryside that surrounds it.

Until next time!

1 comment:

Papa Aziz said...

You said, "I really missed – and this I realized I missed while I was in Milwaukee – the way that speaking Arabic and having “blonde” hair makes me special. I mean, I know that it does, but no one else but me can acknowledge it in the US."

I disagree. Dads can say that their children are special, can't they? Well, this one does. Nice blog CD.