May 3, 2013

Sunday, April 28 marked the time change here in Morocco, the usual spring forward.

Except it seemed like Liz and I were the only ones who observed it, it seemed.

Daylight Savings Time was only instituted in Morocco a few years ago, and the time change idea hasn’t taken very strongly to the population here.

Liz and I were supposed to meet a friend at the Sunday market early so we could get some good deals on clothes. We had changed our clocks the night before, so we got to the appointed meeting place at 7:30 a.m. Our friend came an hour later, telling us the time change didn’t actually start until 2 p.m. that afternoon. The market was lovely, but it was the start to a strange day.

Apart from being really tired, we were also a bit stressed out, not really knowing what time it was the entire day. We had a meeting to be at, but weren’t exactly sure when it was starting. So we just showed up and it was fine.

We might not be sure about anything time related until the time changes back in the fall. Government offices and schools, I guess, make the change, and maybe in bigger cities more people do it. But a lot of people just ignore it.

Thus was our introduction to Old Time and New Time. We should now be on New Time, but as many people don’t observe the time change, whenever you’re setting up an appointment, it pays to make sure which time the other person is talking about.

On top of this is the fact that Moroccan culture is almost the polar opposite of the United States when it comes to time. Deadlines and appointment times carry much less weight here than they do in the U.S., so it’s not uncommon to wait a half hour or more for your person to appear. It’s just an adjustment to make and it doesn’t help to get mad, although I still tend to feel kind of panicked when things don’t start on time. It’s really all fine at the end.

When speaking about future events, Moroccan’s inevitably follow their statement up with the phrase “incha’allah” which translates to “God willing.” They mean it to indicate nothing is possible without the will of God, but it’s a bit disconcerting when you tell your host mom “See you tomorrow” and she says “incha’allah.” The phrase can also be used when you are being requested to do something that you don’t really want to do, as a way of not exactly committing to an appointment, but not directly saying “no.”

Incidentally, there is also a new phrase I have learned “l3bda,” which means “definitely,” as in “I will absolutely be there to do whatever it is we’re going to do.” This can also be followed up by “incha’allah” but doesn’t have to be. Basically hearing “l3bda” is my new favorite thing.

New goal for my two years of service – figure out Old Time/New Time.

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Categories: In site, Morocco | Tags: | Leave a comment

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