December 29, 2010 § Leave a comment
Currently, I have a pot of potatoes and lentils sizzling away on my gas stove top, al Jazeera on the television, and laundry soaking in a bucket with in my bathtub. This will be my second evening in my new apartment in Kenitra.
Yesterday morning, I arrived in Kenitra side-kicked by 2 ½ suitcases and my friend Lisa. We waited for a few minutes until my landlord-to-be urged us into her Yaris and chauffered us towards my new home: Résidence Sofia. My apartment, lucky number 13, is large enough to convince me to make more friends. There are two bedrooms, two living rooms, and one and a half bathrooms. The kitchen is large and with most of the dishes I would want. The refrigerator, toilets, and stovetop still have the shining glow of newness, and in fact, most of them still have remnants of a sticker. The television has about 190 channels in Arabic and 10 in French or English. I have a concierge named Driss, and one of those phones that let’s me know when someone on the street wants to be buzzed in. I have sparkling windows that close all the way (I’m thinking of you, shoddy wooden windows in the medina!). Here’s the catch, I can only use one of the bedrooms and one of the living rooms, and everything from the television stand to the furniture to the floor must stay spotless. My landlord was not planning on renting this apartment to anyone. She got it and began furnishing it with herself in mind. She has since half-moved back into her mother’s house because of her mother’s failing health, but still has a random selection of clothing and toiletries that she will return to the house for. So for now, I’m still living out of my suitcases and taking cold showers until she has enough time to collect the rest of her stuff and fix the hot water heater. She has, however, paid for a woman to clean the entire place, which already seemed spotless to me. She seems very particular about her belongings, so I must tread carefully.
Kenitra has a distinct melody, and I’m still a bit off key. Before yesterday, my wanderings in this town consisted of the a well-beaten path from the train station to the university and back. A friend from the university shepherded me from one side of town to the next, pointing out her favorite places. It was understandably reminiscent of my first few days in Rabat except that as far as I could tell, the only foreigner in the whole city was looking back at me in the mirror. Now, I have to start all over, finding new places to get bread, a new place for produce, a new favorite cafe or two, and so on.
My family arrives the day after tomorrow.