!سعيدى محرم السنة
December 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Before anything else, I wish you all a happy belated New Years. According to the Islamic calendar, yesterday was the first day of 1433. In case you were wondering, this post title (sa-ida moharm as-senah) roughly translates to firecrackers outside my window, every business, school, and library closed, and Arabic class cancelled. Like the dollar, Kim Jong-Il’s popularity, and America’s economic policy options, the attendance at my Arabic group lessons have plummeted; now there is only a solid trio of us who regularly attend. The holiday observing bested us 3-0 as we all showed up at the CCCL, expecting class. When we conferred that the New Year was the most likely culprit for the closure, we decided to hit up a nearby café for an hour and a half of Arabic practice amidst a smokey crowd of Moroccan men engrossed in a football match.
Without Century 21 or Craig’s List, I’m relying on the good old-fashioned word-of-mouth as my real estate agent of choice. So far I have a a handful of options but very few details. There’s the possibility of a very large and luxurious apartment all to myself, a small apartment with a Moroccan girl (if her father gets over his aversion to foreigners), a room in a villa in Hay Riad, a room with a single mother in Tamara, a flat with an American or two, a family in Kenitra, or being roomies with a French guy who goes by the same name as my old dog (Gus). My biggest dilemma is whether I will seek out an apartment (either solo or shared) or if I’ll take another gamble with a host family. Call me crazy, especially in view of the way my current host family worked out -or didn’t- but I am leaning towards the latter because when else will I have the opportunity to live in close quarters with a Moroccan family?
Tomorrow I hope to complete and submit my research outline on a self-declared topic. I hesitate to disclose what I hope to center my efforts on in the coming months until it is officially approved by my internship director, but I’ll pull a Julian Assange by leaking that it might have something to do with determining women’s knowledge of their new right to choose and consent to a spouse on their own and comparing it to socio-economic and educational levels. That, in theory, would be my very large independent research project to be submitted to UNESCO.
I am also considering another, more personal investigation. In the way that Pluto was the solid closure to our solar system when we were in elementary school but now that we’re in college it can’t decide if it’s a pair of moons or its own planet, I’m having an identity crisis pushed on me. My ambiguous skin tone and ambivalently Asiatic features (isn’t that the aspiration of a melting pot?) gives me daily challenges whether I ask for it or not. Learning how to be comfortable in my own skin and with the ethnic judgements that come along with it did not make the list of things I expected to encounter and learn in a foreign country. I am beginning to outline an essay tentatively entitled “I went to North Africa and all I got was a Kimono: stories about perceived identity.” Did I forget to tell you that story?