Stood up

October 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m getting weary of hopping the train to Kenitra and returning 42 dirhams poorer and with no new triumphs to report. Yesterday morning I was to have a meeting in the UNESCO office in Kenitra to meet the Dean of l’université Ibn Tofail. Perhaps he was busy, sick, or just contracted a bad case of the Monday blues, but regardless, he canceled the meeting. Mme Rhissassi emailed me about the cancellation an hour before I left to catch the train. That information would have been more helpful to me before I left home dressed to impress than on my way back. That fruitless trip was admittedly my fault, but at least I met the UNESCO secretary and got some practice trudging in heels as high as my expectations for the next day.
Should have gone with flats. Hopped the train to Kenitra today optimistically early for an afternoon class. My French teacher had suggested I take her class on Tuesday afternoons but only vaguely described what it was about. I thought I would reduce confusion by calling to confirm. She told me to go into the first classroom on the left and that she’d be there at 2. My small talk with another student made it only as far as a sneered “You’re American? What’s your religion, then?” before I assumed the infamous role of wallflower. A stony-faced professor infiltrated the youthful murmur with her call for commencement. Like a trained monkey, I opened my notebook and dated the first blank page. My automatic information absorption mode didn’t last long. I was in the wrong class. But how to escape? In true French academy spirit, not a soul dared fidget while she had command of our minds. I weighed out my options, but decided a quick getaway would be infinitely better than the eventual questioning and demand for an explanation. I bolted for the door at the soonest possible lull, followed by a herd of raised eyebrows and sea of disgust. I made a search for the correct classroom of the building’s first floor but to no avail. Not expecting redemption, I plodded up the staircase. WHAM! My clumsiness got the best of me and I tripped on a step, in full view of the class I had just escaped. Never found the right class. As a phone call later alerted me, I was in the incorrect building. Once again, information that would have been more helpful a few hours prior, but I appreciated my professor’s concern over my absence nonetheless.
Tomorrow morning I will go back to Kenitra for the 3rd day in a row. I hope I’ve used up my bad luck for the week and lady fortune decides to give me another shot.

To date I have had one half of a French class, five Arabic lessons, one completed meeting with my internship director (I’m leaving out the 2 failed attempts), 4 Friday couscous meals, 7 containers of pistachio yogurt, innumerable cups of tea, and a dozen train rides; I’ve bought shampoo, dates, dried apricots, purple sandals, notebooks and a flat screen television. I’ve paid to use a restroom, gotten 5 marriage proposals, and made a few friends. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I arrived.


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