Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bridal Showers and Couscous

Friday saw me eat more than I think I have eaten over the course of one day, including Thanskgiving.  I had mistakenly thought that I would not be leaving to join the Moroccan family until the evening, so I ate lunch at the school.  Directly afterwards I was informed that, in fact, the family was already here, and I was whisked off to a second, even larger lunch.

Moroccan appetites are large, and good manners as a host dictate that you must feed your guest until they are full to bursting, and then a little more.  The first (and probably second and third) time you refuse food will not be taken as a refusal.  If you are asked if you want two more eggs and you say "no," be prepared to eat two more eggs.  This means that if you would like to be able to stand up after a meal you really should begin trying to refuse food about half an hour before you think you'll be full.  Keep in mind that meals are almost always followed by some form of dessert, and that Moroccans are prone to small snacks between meals as well.

After my second delicious and very filling lunch, our host mother informed us that we would be attending a bridal shower (this isn't really a good term for it - think of it as a pre-wedding party) with her.  She took great pleasure in dressing me up in a traditional Moroccan dress, over which she placed a gold belt which, of course, she cinched down good and tight.  (My camera battery died so I have no pictures, but my host mother is quite the photographer and promised to send me some.)  Barely able to breathe and walking very upright, we made our way to the party.  Where, who would have guessed it, there was more food.  First we picked figs and I was, of course, required to eat one.  After that came a round of tea (read: sugar with a side of hot water) and heaping plates of sweets.  After a short time in the warm, dark hustle-bustle of the party my host mother stood up to leave and gestured for us to follow.  I was relieved.  We followed her outside, and she directed us to another house.  We sat down and another woman brought us more couscous.  I was no longer relieved. 

When we returned to the house she dropped the two of us off and went to pick up two more girls from our program.  They, in their graciousness and thoughtfulness, brought host gifts: strawberries and miniature cakes.  Our host mother, delighted, set about making us strawberry juice (think a thin smoothie with strawberries and bananas), piled the figs we had brought back from the party into a bowl, slid the cakes onto a plate, brought the lot into the living room, and sat us down, saying "Eat!  Eat!"

All joking and stomach pain aside, it was truly a wonderful experience.  Our host mother is a lovely, lively person with three lovely rapscallions for children.  Saturday we got the chance to go the beach and, seduced by the slap of the waves, I decided to go in.  Fully clothed.  There may or may not now be sand and salt strewn around my room at school.  I am, however, entirely glad I did it.

This Sunday it looks like we way be joining the family for a trip to the Caves of Hercules (yes, the same cave Def Leppard held a concert in).  Hopefully we will be able to maintain this relationship for the duration of the program and long after.

I leave you with the smell of jasmine, the whip of the wind in the palm trees, and the chirr of the crickets.

ليلة سعيدة 

No comments:

Post a Comment