I’m reeeeaaaallly trying to be better at not letting so much time go in between blog entries. I was trying to think of the theme for this one, and I couldn’t come up with anything. Crazy, huh?
Each Moroccan morning brings more discovery.
I mean, it's not like I'm bored here. Every single day of my life is an adventure in navigating the languages (I find myself operating in French for work, and Darija outside of the “office”. My poor FusHa is getting left behind)
and culture (dodging creepy men who shout “Hello Lovely-Jovely! Spice girl! Welcome to Morocco!” out of car windows, trying not to get frustrated at the…relaxed…pace of life, learning not to take my plans too seriously)
and research (working furiously on my presentation for the upcoming Fulbright Symposium, where I have to present my work up to this point. Meeting amazing Human Rights activists, more victims, and academics. Having some fascinating conversations about the concept of Human Rights** and the Preservation of Memory. Nerdy? No apologies.)
and this city (Rabat is, hands-down, one of the best cities I’ve ever lived in. It is, at the same time, ancient and cosmopolitan, European and Middle Eastern. The center of government in Morocco. Large enough to have tons of cultural attractions and events, but small enough to walk everywhere, or take a cab for 4 dirhams. I’m discovering this place on foot. Best of all, it’s on the ocean. Oh yeah, the King’s Royal Jet Ski Championship is held here every year…)
and new relationships (meeting such great people, slowly making friends. Having some great dinner parties. My attempts to extend the olive branch to my neighbors- by baking GF chocolate chip cookies no less- resulted in some terse “Merci, madame. C’est gentil.” Doors closed in my face. And they still have my china plates! Plan B: Operation Convince-Them-I-Don’t-Work-for-the-CIA. I’ll have to get creative.)
So…once I look this all over, I guess my life is exciting, and every day has its stories.*** But I feel as if I’m settling into a good place where Morocco no longer seems like an exotic mystery. It feels like home; something normal that I love to return to.
I might be a little MIA for a while, putting my nose to the grindstone to come up with a coherent research presentation. The, the Pop Skroch is coming to visit! Then, the day after the conference in Rabat, I’ll be heading to Lebanon, Syria, and eventually ending up at another conference in Jordan. Let the adventures begin!
**Last week, a university professor literally started yelling at me for wanting to research Human Rights in Morocco while my very own country is bombing the heck out of certain middle eastern countries and committing human rights abuses on its own soil (and Moroccan soil, for that matter. ) Yes indeed, I tried to explain, all countries commit HR abuses, the US nonexempt. However, my work is to see how this is being remedied specifically in Morocco. Now let’s get past the blame game and start working on the structural issues.
***A run along the ocean led to me to find the site of a former prison in Rabat, where some of my victims were held, now converted to a military museum. A quest for some furniture for my apartment led to me singing karaoke to Mariah Carey in a bar full of upper-class Moroccans. Spending dawn on Easter morning watching the sun rise over ancient Roman ruins, singing hymns with a drunken Spaniard. I don’t understand it either.