Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dour Cheme3

Muslims accept Muhammad, the founder of Islam, as the last of God's prophets, and his birthday is celebrated during the third month of the Islamic calender. Most Moroccans observe this holiday by going to the mosque for a special prayer, spending the day at home, and eating sweets. However, the Sale Medina (the city across the river from Rabat) hosts a mussim (yearly festival) to commemorate Muhammad's birthday, and I had the chance to attend! The event, called Dour Cheme3, reminded me of a parade. There were several music groups, a few horses, cars covered in palm leaves carrying photos of the King, children in tradition outfits, and finally, the centerpiece of the parade, the structures shown below.

I don't know what the name for these are, but they are made of candle wax. During the procession, they are taken from the Mausoleum of one of Sale's founders and carried around the Medina. 

The hat like things carried by these men are usually used to hold the bride's gifts. 

One of the many bands! Everyone on the crowded street was taking pictures, clapping, and dancing along with them, which made the parade really fun! 

This band is Gnawa style--ancient African Islamic songs. They're always playing on the street here! 

These children are carrying Qu'ranic verses on their tablets. 

Despite the dreary weather, the energy of the mussim amazed me. I am so grateful for my friend and her family, for their hospitality and explanations while guiding us through the Medina and welcoming us into their home! I am now enjoying a two day break from school as part of the holiday! Eid Mubarak :) 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Halfway there!

We had mid year orientation last week. Though I don't want to waste my precious time here by dwelling on how much of it is left, I can't deny that I am halfway through this amazing year. Former exchange students warned me of how quickly time would fly, and I didn't believe them until the weeks started peeling by at lightning speed. I'm in a list making mood, so I thought I'd share a few of my lists with you!

10 Things I Miss
1. Indoor heating
2. Neutrogena Face wash (Apparently it is sold here, but I've yet to find it!)
3. Skiing
4. Scotch tape (The tape here just isn't the same)
5. Pad Thai
6. Notebook paper
7. English class
8. student based learning (A more teacher based system does have its benefits, but I do really miss my discussion based classes)
10. hugging my friends at school every day (though I do LOVE the bisous)

10 Things I Love Here
1. rafeesa
2. cous cous
3. chebeckia
4. the hammam
5. changing into 'house clothes' (pajamas) the second I get home
6. the Medina
7. walking everywhere
8. sunsets & the sky here in general (somehow, it just seems wider and closer)
9. the kindness of the people I've met along my journey
10. hanuts (convenience stores, there's at least one on every block).

10 Things I've Learned about Myself & the World
1. I can be good at things other than school.
2. The world is huge, but its' interconnected-ness makes it feel small.
3. Sometimes the best comfort I can give someone is a listening ear.
4. Taking time to recharge and be alone is essential to my happiness.
5. Exercise makes me feel so much better.
6. A lifetime, let alone a year, is not nearly enough time to learn all I want to know about Morocco! (guess that means I'll have to come back)
7. The little moments are the most important and memorable.
8. Whenever I feel down, there is always something worthwhile ahead to look forward to, even if I don't know exactly what yet.
9. Time flies and all I can do is the make the most of every second.
10. I never want to stop exploring, I want to have more of these experiences that allow me to call a different country home.

10 Songs I Love
1. Zina (Babylone)
2. C'est La Vie (Chab Khaled)
3. Formidable (Stromae)
4. Papaoutai (Stromae)
5. Aicha (Chab Khaled)
6. Habibi I Love You (Ahmed Chawki feat. Pitbull)
7. On se connait (Youssoupha)
8. Wake Me Up (Avicii)
9. Royals (Lorde)
10. Ana Wiak (Amine Aminux)

10 Favorite Words in Darija
1. heblimlook (cherry, it's just really fun to say)
2. ahumdullah (thanks to god. This expression is used not only during good times, but also during times of sickness and sadness)
3. Kfartiha (Said when someone is going to get in trouble. For instance, my host sister comes home late, and when I open the door, I tell her, 'kfartiha' because my host mom is mad at her).
4. safi (enough, it's clear)
5. yallah (let's go, I wrote a post about in September found HERE)
6. bisa (said before/after a trip the hammam or when someone gets new clothing)
7. ashnoo (This word just means 'what' but it's fun to say!)
8. hammam (the public bath--one of my favorite things about Morocco)
9. moose (This words means knife--but whenever I hear it, I can't help but think of a moose)
10. shukran (thank you--my first Darija word and still the most important)

My exchange year has been very good to me lately, and the New Year has been off to a busy and fun start. I visited Casablanca and Meknes, went to a carpet souk in Khemissett (a nearby city), and picked out fabric (maroon velvet) for my newest djellaba. I'm looking forward to all of the adventures that 2014 has in store! Thank you to everyone reading my blog and a huge thank you to everyone who has sent me mail!

Love from Rabat!