Posts Tagged With: Christmas in Morocco

Dec. 28, 2014

I know what you’re thinking: sheesh, Johanna sure isn’t as dedicated to updating her blog as she was when she first arrived in Morocco.

I will grant you that, however, look on the bright side! What was once such a new and overwhelming place to live that regular blogging and journaling were necessary to help my brain process everything is now a normal life with routines and things that can be expected and so forth. My classes began just after 3id Kbir – which was the topic of my last post – and have thankfully left me quite busy with a schedule that comes pretty close to the Peace Corps recommendation for volunteer work hours and with so many kids wanting to come to class we don’t have enough space to fit all of them.

So really, no blog updates probably means I am finding everything so routine it doesn’t bear mentioning. Huzzah! I’ve only been waiting for that to happen for a year and a half.

On that note, something truly exciting just happened!!!

My mama came to visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Yes, I was pretty much making that face the entire two weeks she was here.

Mom, being the good, kind, wonderful, amazing mother that she is, promptly began saving for a trip to come see me as soon as we knew where I was going, which amounted to giving me the best Christmas present ever. She stayed for the two weeks before Christmas and we had a lovely time doing a bit of traveling and doing a bunch of relaxing and sitting in the sun in T–. She got to meet my host family, as well as several other families that have become like my families here. My dar chabab youth were the cutest ever and decided to throw her a top secret surprise welcome party, complete with jumping out of a classroom en masse and shouting “Surprise!”

Us getting a tour of the boat building in Essaouira.

Us getting a tour of the boat building in Essaouira.

Why is it so rainy?!?!?!

Why is it so rainy?!?!?!

Relaxing with ZundZund.

Relaxing with ZundZund.

After lunch with Mounia and Jeremy.

After lunch with Mounia and Jeremy.

Out in Taroudant!

Out in Taroudant!

We ate lots of couscous, wandered through the souk, did impromptu carpet buying, and played Scrabble. For Christmas Eve dinner we made French onion soup and it was delicious.

Mom and Leah at the zwinest hotel in Taroudant for lunch.

Mom and Leah at the zwinest hotel in Taroudant for lunch.

Mom gets henna done for the first time.

Mom gets henna done for the first time.

Eating all the cake at the Dar Chabab.

Eating all the cake at the Dar Chabab.

Almost as good as being together was the chance for Mom to see what life in Morocco is really like. As much as you try to explain things, you really don’t understand it until you’re here and I think Mom came away with a very positive impression of Morocco, which makes me happy, because this place has been my home for the past two years.

Now that she has successfully arrived back home, I have a week of class before I have to head up to Rabat once more for what is called our Close of Service Conference (COS Conference), which I am dearly hoping will include information on how to leave Morocco without becoming a sobbing mess (who am I kidding, that’s a given) and how to readjust to life in America. We also find out exactly which dates we will be leaving Morocco, so that will be exciting and terrifying.

And since it’s New Year’s, maybe my resolution should be to blog once a week? Let’s try that and see how it goes.

Categories: Holidays, In site, Morocco | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Dec. 26, 2013

Merry (day after) Christmas, everyone!

The spread out when baked to look like Christmas arrowheads. Whatever. I tried.

The spread out when baked to look like Christmas arrowheads. Whatever. I tried.

All this year I was in great fear of being flat out depressed on Christmas. The period of time from Halloween to New Year’s is my most favorite time of year – even though I’m a great fan of Easter and the Fourth of July during the appropriate time of year – and the thought of being away from family for the holidays is pretty heavy for me. There’s no substitute for me being able to hang out with family and enjoy a Christmas feast together, spend a morning opening presents, going on a Christmas Eve cross country ski outing.

As it turns out, my first Christmas in Morocco was pretty lovely. Not as lovely as being at home. But much better than I was expecting.

They may look like plain squares, but really they taste like Christmas.

They may look like plain squares, but really they taste like Christmas.

Since I have guilt issues about canceling class, I decided to stay in site and not travel too far to visit any other volunteers. My classes met on Christmas Eve and Christmas as normal, but were treated to cookies, writing letters to Santa (yay for practicing the verb “to want”), and tonight – a showing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Jesus is considered to be a profit in Islam, so the story of his birth appears in the Koran (although I’ve been told he is born under a palm tree instead of in a stable) and most of my students had heard of Santa Claus (or Baba Noel) due to the French colonization influence here. They had fun making up ridiculous Christmas lists – what any 12 year old would do with a Ferrari is beyond me – and I received several real and virtual Christmas cards, which made me feel so welcome and accepted and at home in a place that is so far from my real home.

So that was class.

Most of this week, outside of class, of course, was spent on Skype with my family and making a day trip to one of the neighboring volunteers for Christmas brunch and a cutthroat game of Settlers of Catan.

Casserole and beignets!!!!

Casserole and beignets!!!!

Semi-early on Christmas morning, I hopped in a taxi, passed not only the goats in trees but also a herd of camels, to the west to visit one of my closest neighbors. A bunch of other volunteers had gathered there to celebrate the holidays, which we did with homemade beignets, egg breakfast casserole, and Christmas cookies. The nine of us also did a white elephant gift exchange – where you can steal and trade gifts until most people have what they wanted. I brought a knitted potholder to exchange and ended up with a bag of chocolate granola. That takes care of breakfast for the rest of the week!

Nom nom nom.

Nom nom nom.

Meanwhile, my family at home has swollen to include my mom’s brother and sister visiting for the holidays and I’ve been spending more time on Skype to feel like I’m not missing any of the Christmas activities. Being on the computer set in the middle of the kitchen watching dinner be prepared is almost the same as being there, right? Not quite, but it’s amazing to be this far away and still be able to see someone talking to you on a completely different continent.

While it would have been much better to be home, my Christmas was still quite nice and I’m excited for the next year!

Categories: Holidays, In site, Morocco | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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