A sonic environment can be a powerful thing. It can take you places, or leave you places; its presences and absences can be more telling than the most articulate guide.
Notable absences from the sonic environment I have enjoyed without interruption for the past three days: the impoverished bleating of sheep and goats; the mournful mooing of cows; the soulful, yet soulless call to prayer; the sprightly chattering of hundreds of little mischief-makers; the vigilant ringing of schoolbells, cell phones and alarm clocks; the guttural exoticism of the Arabic tongue; the overly-welcoming harassment of preying street vendors and slick Don Juans; in short, the persistently present reminders that this Moroccan mayhem is my life.
And in their place? Zamfir interpretations of Celine Dion hits piped through the poolside surround sound system in the morning, and perky American party playlists in the afternoon; the perpetual, muted gurgling of the heated pool’s water filtration system, and the satisfied splashes of swimmers who are neither hot nor cold; canned ocean waves lapping through the massage room speakers, and real ocean waves wooing one beachward; the dignified German, English and French conversations of fat, white Europeans in speedos and bikinis, or their skinny white counterparts, also in speedos and bikinis (I, incidentally, fall squarely in between the two); the distant clattering of silverware being moved from one place to another by hands that exist to satisfy one’s every gastronomical whim; in short, all that is most certainly not Moroccan.
My dear Canadian friends have had to wait a full six weeks longer than usual to read my annual Gratitude List. Sorry, guys. I was in the desert while you were being thankful, so I’ve jumped on the American bandwagon and given thanks today instead.
For those of you who are new to this quirky tradition of mine, here’s the scoop: Every night before I go to sleep, I write down a few causes for gratitude. I try not to repeat myself (keeps the thankfulness muscles limber!) but I’m certain you’ll notice an emerging theme or two. Each Thanksgiving, I post the list for the world to ponder and puzzle over. For me, it’s a grounding practice of putting days and years in perspective. For you, it’s either funny, or inspiring, or TMI. Whatever. It’s not about you.
I suspect that no one but my mom actually reads the list from start to finish, but should you wish to try, godspeed!
Beginning in October, 2014, here is my year, chronicled in thanks!
A hearth, a family, a sharing of lives
A new form of freedom
Acceptance and openness
What I have is enough
Decisions made = settledness. There is security in having chosen.
Fiction fabulousness Continue reading
What do Canadian teachers do when Morocco grants them a Wednesday off to celebrate Independence Day? Why, they go to the spa, of course, to work out all the knots and kinks acquired on Monday and Tuesday. This knotty exposé (the closest to kinky prose you will ever find on this site) explores one woman’s search for the nonexistent no-man’s-land between “relaxant” (relaxing) and “tonic” (???) massage. Relax, dear reader, and enjoy the show.
Massage in Canada involves sheets and undergarments. Not so in Morocco.
I should have been prepared for this. I discovered at the doctor’s office that those modesty-inducing hospital gowns are nowhere on the Moroccan radar. I made a similar discovery at the esthetician’s and at the hammam. Why would I think massage would be any different?
I will not trouble you with an exhaustive narrative of the experience; I will simply provide you with a helpful chart for future reference. I suggest you print it, laminate it and keep it in your purse; it will be an invaluable aid next time you are considering an afternoon of pampering in Casablanca:
It happened this weekend that my desire to attend an out-of-town event exceeded my fear of going alone. Here’s the story of my first solo excursion outside Casablanca to attend the Visa for Music showcase in Rabat.
Going Solo: Part 1
It is 1:25 pm (or 13:25, as they say around here), and I am triumphant. I have skillfully and cheerfully accomplished the first of the many daunting feats before me today: I have boarded a train. Continue reading
Things for which to be thankful, upon schmucking your chin with great force upon your classroom floor:
- Just yesterday you dispatched a child to the office for some boxes of tissue: essential in staunching the blood as you dispatched yourself to the nurse’s office…
- …which is conveniently located just one floor up from your music room…
- …which no longer looks like a crime scene, because someone came and mopped up all the little pools and trails of blood.