We don’t just want to write about the Big Things in our lives, so here we’ll share small stories and quick blips and such. Catch all the Notes & Anecdotes here.
- The acoustics in my classroom are so bad that I have to shout a lot, which often means that my voice is gone by the end of class. I need to practice Teacher Voice more.
- We finally made plans to meet up with an Arabic tutor in town. Way better than us trying to keep our attention on the textbook.
- Last Friday, our host mom made us our favorite Moroccan dish, rfissa, for lunch. This was a big deal because it was couscous Friday! On Fridays, Moroccans eat couscous for lunch. Safi. It’s tradition. It’s a woven part of the everyday week. It’s a given. So, when Mama Ryqqia told us that she was going to make us rfissa (it’s also called bormash in some parts of the country), we knew that this was proof positive that she loves us bzaf.
- Our little neighbor girls want to hang out with us ALL THE TIME. It is both lovely and annoying. I do want them to come over every once in a while to play games and learn a little bit of English while we feed them snacks—they’re adorable. But seriously, the doorbell-ringing and door-banging is constant. We’ve even pretended not to be home a few times because we needed decompression time. We thought that our cat Mishmash would put a stop to their intrusions—most Moroccan kids we know are scared of cats—but alas, they ended up loving her. Mishmash, darn you and your irresistible cuteness.
- We were lucky to inherit many household items from our esteemed predecessors, but we still had some important shopping to do. AKA kitchen stuff, AKA the delight of Robert’s life. Shopping for kitchen stuff makes him really happy (which in turn makes me happy because it eventually leads to Robert cooking me delicious foods, hhhh). Taking the advice of everyone we’ve asked, we’ve eschewed the weekly souk in favor of other markets: the macro, the chatayba, and the large kitchen hanuts in town. We’ve found most things Robert wants for great deals, though we’re still searching for a good chef’s knife. (As a chef’s son, Robert haaaates shoddy cooking knives.)
- Which brings us to the next small-update—food! We can FINALLY cook for ourselves. My favorite creation so far is grilled cheese sandwiches with avocado and tomato. I even made stir-fry noodles. (Hamdullah that soy sauce and rice noodles exist in the Carrefour!) Next week, we are going to make chicken parm and bring some to our host family.
- We attended a Project Citizen showcase at one of the private schools in town, a great networking opportunity. Private school events are awesome because they always have snacks and tea… although they did make us give a speech, arghhh. We met a new friend who is starting grad school for computer science in Massachusetts in the fall. (His mom drove us home after the showcase.) Also, the headmaster told us he wants to have a meeting about collaborating for possible programs next school year! Yessssss—we’re totally going to see if Robert’s science fair dreams or my journalism program dreams are possible. 😀
- More Work Updates: I am loving my English classes so far! Ramadan and the end of the school year are both coming, so my schedule will no doubt morph next month. For now, I am plenty busy. I already have a rapport with my awesome students. (I can already tell which ones are the teachers’ pets and which ones are the sassy back-talkers. I adore them all!) I am extra excited because, come Autumn, I have loads of programs planned and I hope some of these students will help me. I’m sowing the seeds for them now. I’m especially looking forward to implementing creative writing classes that will lead up to the annual Write On Competition. As for Robert, he is creating curriculum for Science & Creativity classes—(going well, but lacking students. English is where the demand is.) He’s also developing some Health toolkits. Because I don’t have enough time and energy to do ALLLLL the English classes our Dar Chebab wants, he is also teaching his very first beginners’ English classes! We’re on a day-to-day figure-it-out schedule right now, but we have BIG PLANS for the future.
Robert & Julie