Friday, October 3, 2008

Week Three in Morocco

Realizations this week:
-I am very, very far from home, making me feel completely helpless when something major is happening back there.
-Although I currently both love and hate the Turkish Toilet, it isn’t as big of a deal as I had feared.
-Although I miss warm water, bucket baths aren’t as big of a deal as I had feared (and the hammam is wonderful!).
-Do you remember getting together during the holidays with family when you were in that awkward in-between stage, too grown up to play around with the little kids and not quite mature enough to hang out with the adults all day? That’s surprisingly similar to how I celebrated the end of Ramadan, with my vocabulary of a 2 year-old’s. It was wonderful to have this inside view of Ramadan (which I wouldn’t get if my home-stay was in a different part of the year), but I wish I could contribute more by way of conversation at this point.
-Children are the same everywhere. They are hilarious and fun and crazy, and as soon as their mother leaves the language-limited foreigner in charge for a minute while she runs to a neighbor’s, they will take advantage of the situation.
-The world should cut back on its introduction of plastic into the environment.
-It is possible for this suburban girl to get used to walking across town, passing semi-feral cats and dogs, chickens, donkeys, sheep, goats, cows, and one amazing view of the mountains with hardly a second-glance.
-Any family that will take in someone who barely knows the language and continuously makes cultural faux pas is amazing.
-I was foolishly dependant upon recipes and measurements in my cooking and baking back home. Now I’m putting myself to the test without such crutches---hey, my chocolate chip cookies were edible!
-Morocco has many amazing foods to offer in and outside of Ramadan, particularly by way of sweets.
-You can always eat more food, at any hour.
-Even if you insist you are full, you can always eat more food at any hour.
-Even if you plead and make motions that you might explode, you can always eat more food.
-Eat! Eat! Kuli! Kuli!


Raichel said...

Dude, Lisa. Your experience is sounding so much like our trips to India! Its awesome. You know, bucket baths are a good way to conserve water! Same idea as turning the water off in the shower while you soap and shampoo up. I'm really interested to hear more!
Missin you, Lis! Especially when it rains :)

Loda said...

Lisa! keep up the good work! I'm so proud of you, it must be SO hard to be over there and have such a difficult time with the language. Don't worry, you'll get it eventually! It sounds like your host family is pretty cool, and I know you can handle those kids, you've got lots of practice at that! I love reading you blog all the time, sorry I don't always post replies.

Loda said...

Oh and by the way, cooking without measuring is awesome, its the only way I cook, really, unless I'm trying something for the first time.

Marcella said...

Amazing how different and really just the same people are all over the world, no?

Enjoy cooking on the edge. Even when I have measurements I rarely follow them. My recipes include a squirt, blob, dash, sprinkle and some...its the only way to go ;)

Lisa said...

Raichel- I think I should just go to India ;) Actually, that sounds nice, and livable if it is like it is here!

Loda- I know, I keep reminding myself that I will get it eventually. And it makes a big difference to have people who are patient with you. I mostly try to talk to my host mom because she is willing to wait while I figure things out. Then again, maybe she likes the break from the little kids and talking to an adult (who happens to talk like a little kid...)

Cooking is different. I usually don't worry about recipes for cooking unless it is something new or tricky.

Marcella- Yes, it is amazing how alike we all really are!

I agree that cooking by taste and feel is the way to go. I would like to totally be there with cooking sometime. I have been a cook for a lot shorter time than I've been a baker--and the issue with baking is measuring to get chemistry right for something to rise. My real challenge is to do more measuring by feel/appearance. One day!

gold-dragontsu said...

-Even if you plead and make motions that you might explode, you can always eat more food.
-Eat! Eat! Kuli! Kuli!

"Have some more," my Grandpa would always say. :} I am reminded of the following dialog between my Grandfather and Uncle several years ago...

Grandpa: Have some more!
Uncle: No thanks. I already had three helpings already.
Grandpa: Ohh... Good for you!
Uncle: Actually, I don't know how good for me that really is!

Baking without measuring = Respect for your kitchen skills. The word around the family is that my Grandma never measures anything when making her revered potato salad... but I'm not sure if the same is true for when she baked things. I struggle making good brownies using a boxed mix. ;)

I'm curious as to what prompted the bullet on plastic...

"I've been to many places in the world, but one thing you can always find everywhere is rubbish!" ~Bear Grylls, paraphrased


Lisa said...

GD- Cooking is a lot about taste, and I don't usually measure. Mmmm potato salad :)

My comment on the plastic has to do with the large amount of plastic (yoghurt cups, candy wrappers, shoes, etc) I encounter as I walk around the town I'm in. There is a big discussion that could be had on this, but I won't go into it in a comment. I will say that in the past trash could typically be disposed of/burned nearby and it wouldn't leave much evidence for very long. With plastic, it can't be burned (safely) and it doesn't decompose in a reasonable timeframe. The town does have trash pick up, but no large trash receptacles. Trash bags get opened by dogs and cats and is spread everywhere.