You know you are far from home when you have to go through two other translations before you finally hear English, but are discouraged that you can’t understand a word of your native tongue that’s hiding behind a very thick Arabic accent with a whole lot of French influence. And then there’s the signage, as beautiful as it is curious.
|Yep, that’s me… Laurie Sunderland, reading from right
The journey to Rabat was long… not because it was all that far (a “short” 2 plus hour flight from
Paris), but because the biggest part of the flight, Boston to Paris, felt more like a KC to Albany run
given the size of the plane…knee to knee, elbow to elbow, bad food and generous pours on cheap
wine (ok actually free wine), all added up to a not so great experience, short of a lovely French
woman sitting next to me (seriously, are we ever so intimate with strangers but on a plane???) who was interested in what I was knitting and pulled out her phone to share photos of her recent knit projects. Sometimes words aren’t necessary. I love that. I think I will need to keep loving that communication with few words in the weeks to come…
The house where I’m staying is small but very charming and efficient. It’s also incredibly clean and I would totally feel comfortable eating off of any part of the floor, where, by the way, shoes are not allowed. Barefoot all the way! I will be sharing this small 2 bunks room with another girl
who I haven’t yet met, as she is away this weekend. I’ve taken cues from her neatly stacked belongings and have tried to organize my things with that in mind. I think she’ll be pleased with her new roommate’s organizational skills. Not even knowing who will be in the bed a short 4
feet from mine is just one more curious anticipation that I find myself faced with right now.
Tomorrow, we ( the 4 volunteers who arrived today, including myself) will have our orientation, at which time I will learn more specifically what I will be doing during my time here. It sounds like I may be the only one at my placement at the women’s center as it sounds like everyone else will be working at the orphanage, but I will learn more tomorrow. It is this unknowing, this going to bed with new sounds, new smells, and new sensations, that reminds me of why I love this so much, which kind of surprises my orderly, Virgo side. It takes me back to so many first nights in 3rd world countries when I teetered between waking up in the middle of the night with feelings of “what the hell???” and not being able to fall asleep because I was so anxious for it to be morning when I’d be able to get a closer look at my new temporary home.
Those of us who were around tonite (only 4 of us) had a lovely light supper of lamb, rice, fruit salad, roasted fennel, Moroccan soup, homemade bread (which I smelled all afternoon baking), dates, pomegranates, and a combination of sautéed vegetables. Not only was it a beautiful spread, but very tasty as well.
For now, I’m tucked comfortably away in my lower bunk ready to sleep off some of this jet lag. I’m
soaking in the smells and sounds of this new city, this new country, this new continent and it’s feeling pretty amazing. I can smell a hint of jasmine that is coming through the billowing curtains of my open deck door. Perfection.