Living Abroad has toughened my skin….or rather my stomach

One year ago…I was in Egypt. Its a typically summer day. I had gone to the juice bar right across from my workplace. I ordered my typical orange juice. I loved it because of its fresh pulpy goodness. When I got back to the office, I started to drink my lovely healthy concoction. I happened to look down and I saw little white “friends” swimming in my fruity freshness. I literally started to scream. I was gagging. You guys know me! I can get a tad bit dramatic.I went into the bathroom and started to gag even more. I was in utter shock. How many maggots did I consume!? I then preceded to call my mom in the states. She did not pick up. So I preceded to call my brother, the science-y one in the family. My questions to him were as follows: will I die, will I get stick, will I keel over? The answer was no. THANK GOD. After a bit of hoopla explaining to my co-workers my surprise, I calmed down.

Fast-forward to earlier this week. I was buying grits, (yum). I was actually on the hunt for grits since I had some for breakfast here in morocco (my arabic school serves free breakfast). So that was my indication that they exist here. But I didnt know what they were called. So I was in the market yesterday, and I kept describing to people what grits were. “You cook them on top of the stove (duh), they are white, you add butter and salt to them….” Then I finally found a guy who had an idea of what I was talking about. He did not have it in his store, but he lead me to another store about 30 seconds away. But because it was around 10:30pm, it was super dark. The area where he led me to was not lit at all. So I tried to stay behind where the light was, but when he turned to see that I was not following – he edged me forward to come along with him. So I did…..there we found some what of a warehouse— of GRITS and rice, beans, you name it. But there are huge bags of the stuff just waiting to be scooped out of, you just take what you need in a smaller bag. But I got a bit to last maybe the week – or a bit longer. But then he made the calculations on the scale, and the price was 34 dirhams – 4 dollars. My eyes just about popped out of my head. When I contested the price, he consulted the owner of the warehouse who said the price was 5 dirhams 50 cents roughly). –which is still a bit much. Anyways, when I got home to make the grits, they cooked SO FAST. I added a ton of butter a salt and cheese (of course), and man did I grub on….until I found a worm in my bowl. Of course knowing me, I did put up a drama fit. I gasped a couple of times. But you know what? I took my spoon, fished it out, and threw it away. AND I CONTINUED EATING FROM THE BOWL. Living abroad has taught me many things. But one thing is – if you see worms in your food. You still gotta keep it moving!!!

Thus, the story of how my skin….I mean my stomach have been hardened. 🙂

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Moroccan Nights and Why I stick out like a sore Saudi thumb.

When Moroccans think I am foreigner (many of them don’t), there is one place they consistently guess is my watan – my homeland. The balad, country, they attribute my roots to is none other than Saudi Arabia. I have got that assumption over ten times now, so I guess there might be something to it. Of course there are Saudis that look like me, but the overwhelming majority don’t….for obvious reasons.  So there must be something else about the way I carry myself or speak Arabic which would make them think that. So I asked some of my Moroccan friends, and the people that ask me. It boiled down to things as simple as the way I tie my scarf!? Yea, that is one reason. Moroccan women like Turkish woman, Syrian women, Egyptian women, and Khaliji women, have their own way of tying their scarves. The Moroccan hijab is closer to the face, does not typically extend over the chest, neatly tucks into the shirt, is of satin fabric, and has no volume in the back. — The complete opposite of my style. I think it would be a stretch to say that the way I wear my scarf is khaliji, but it is similar. It is interesting how a piece of cloth covering your hair can tell people where you are from and what cultural values you may hold. That’s is not the only thing people assume about me. Many people think I am non-Muslim, even though I wear hijab. Very strange. One cheese vender offered me a sample. A lady next to him said, “why would you give her some, she is fasting”. Shocked he asked me if I was Muslim…Duh. Anyways, he proceeded to ask me if I was really fasting, if I prayed, and then tried to show me how to pray….. -__-. Maybe it has something to do with me hanging out with foreigners? Or being one…Who knows?

My Moroccan nights have been mizziyan bizzaffff (Moroccan for very good). It have been soaking up the benefits of being walking distance from the nearest Mosque, which has been packed to the brim since Ramadan’s start.

 

*Update: I just asked my Arabic teacher why I get Saudi a lot. He said that the color my skin is closer to theirs than to “Africans” *~!@#($. Time for an excursion to Saudi and “Africa?”