Things to get used to

Second day living with host family. I woke up, had breakfast (French bread spread with cream cheese and milk with coffee powder), and went to ALIF this morning, even though I was pretty sure I don’t start class until next week. I was having trouble telling my host-family that, and since I needed to use the Internet anyway, my host-family called a taxi and I was on my way. Checking my email at ALIF (with not really better Internet connection), I found out that my class does indeed start next Tuesday, and my roommate will be arriving tomorrow. He and I will be sharing a room together for 6 weeks, hopefully we can get along.

Since I really didn’t have anything to do, I went to an ATM machine to take out some cash, which thankfully was successful. I didn’t bring enough cash to Morocco for exchange for living here for 6 weeks. It was noon at that point, so I called a taxi in the street, showed the driver the address, and was rejected by the driver. I don’t know if he doesn’t know the place (which I highly doubt), or he just doesn’t want to drive to the old medina. So I stood by the curb for a few minutes, and another taxi just stopped by me. With some luck this time, the driver said yes and dropped me off at the right place. The petit taxi (red with yellow rack on top) here runs on meter, so it really isn’t that expansive to take a taxi. My trip from a street near ALIF to the gate near where I live was about 7 to 8 dirham, and I will be doing this everyday when I have class.

I was pretty proud of myself for walking back home without getting lost. I believed I have confirmed that the meal that occurs between 1 pm to 3 pm is lunch (it was at 2 pm today). My host-mom is a good cook as far as I can tell. She made us (me, two of her children, and herself) a kind of lentil soup, salad (more like salsa, but with more ingredients), fried fish (not breaded), almost-mashed eggplant (at least I think it’s eggplant from taste, I couldn’t really tell from the shape or color) and French fries for lunch. Eating in Moroccan family means that you use your hands a lot. At my host-family, the soup (or sauce) is placed at the center of the table in a large round plate. You are supposed to take a piece of bread (I forgot what this one is called), use it to scoop from the plate with you right hand, and then eat the entire thing. I read that you are not supposed to use your left hand as it’s used for toilet, but I did see the children using left hand so it’s probably not that big a deal. The salad is a mix of lettuce, tomato, and other fruit, vegetable, or potato, and is eaten with a fork. The fish and fries were also eaten with hands, and the eggplant is eaten the same way as the soup. For the past two days dinner and lunch pretty much consist of the same thing. The time of the meals is another story. We have breakfast after we wake up (different for everyone apparently), have lunch at around 2 pm, or when my host-dad comes home if he decides to, a snack at around 9 pm (usually includes cake and milk), and then dinner at 11 pm (or when my host-dad gets home). They go to bed after dinner.

Now, there are two things that concern me. One: shower. They don’t have one (pretty typical for families living in the medina). The bathroom is a small cubicle that has a toilet and a sink in it. There are also two tap at near ground level, but I could hardly imagine them shower in there without getting everything wet (even though the floor is usually wet when I go in there, but I think it’s because they have been using the ground-level tap since the sink is broken until yesterday). And I also didn’t really see any of them shower. I know Moroccans go to a hammam, Moroccan public bath (Turkish-style steam bath), at least once a week, and I am hoping that once a week is coming up. Yep, I haven’t showered since I moved into my host-family, and frankly I don’t really do much everyday that I feel gross not showering, but it would be nice to have a chance to clean myself in very near future.

Second thing: laundry. On my program guide, it says that my host-family is not expected to do my laundry, though they usually offer to. Well, I haven’t had the courage to ask, and I still have a number of changes of cloth. I just hope I find out what the laundry situation is before I run out of clean underwear.

And correction on the Internet in the house, there is one particular spot where I have to sit at to get a semi-stable one-bar signal, which isn’t bad, considering at ALIF the best is only two-bars. I will try to update the blog in the morning or in the afternoon the next day, but the date is still going to be the day things happened. I still haven’t taken a lot of pictures yet, and I promise I will when I get the chance to go out more. (Speaking of pictures, go check out my weekly photo project to find out how to get a postcard sent from Morocco to you!)

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