Morocco: Host Family (1/18/13)


I moved in with my host family last night. I’m living with a relatively old couple, probably in their late 60’s or early 70’s, in their apartment in the city. Their names are Idris and ‘Izza, I’m 90% sure. Their 40 year old son Hakim lives with them, along with his pregnant wife (we’re having a baby in March, y’all!) whose name I don’t yet know.

It’s small, but cozy here. It’s cool because it’s supposed to be walking distance from most of the main parts of town, while 5 of the other CIEE students are living in an area called Temara which I hear is kinds far away. I have yet to establish any kind of mental map of the area.

They don’t speak English, except when ‘Izza tells me “Sit!” when it’s time to eat, so we talk in MSA, although Idris has already started teaching me Darija (Moroccan colloquial). The first thing he said to me this morning was “Na’ista b-ziad?” which is the Darija version of “Hal nimta jayyidan?” which is the MSA version of “Did you sleep well?” I’m also learning more French than I ever wanted. Every time I sit down in a restaurant, I get handed a French menu, so outside of ordering poulet, I have to ask someone to tell me what everything is. Bother.

But to end on a good note, all the other CIEE students are super cool and we’ve all bonded pretty quickly. It was funny how, when we all got split up yesterday, we felt like it was actually the end of our time together rather than the beginning. But we’re all having friday cous cous today for lunch at “the big house” where Brynn and Darby are actually living, so we shall be united again shortly.

moroccan cous cous
moroccan cous cous

Oh, should I give a cursory list of the other students in the program, in reverse alphabetical order by first name? Yes? Well, if you say so:
Vivanna- lovely girl from Bogota, Colombia; goes to U of I; only other person who doesn’t know any French, but she’s studied Arabic for 5 semesters, I think; she’s engaged to a soon-to-be doctor

Uchenna- the guy with dreads from DC; goes to school in Maine; speaks French and a bit of Arabic

Nina- goes to school in Maine; speaks French, but no Arabic; eats a surprisingly low amount of lobster

Lesley- she’s from Kentucky and goes to Evansville; speaks French, but no Arabic; likes to ask you where her elephant is in Russian; already been nominated team mom

John- goes to school at Indiana University; ocean lifeguard; speaks French, but no Arabic; easily provoked into giggle fits

Gabby- goes to school in Massachusetts; speaks a little French, I think, but no Arabic; always tries to use double negatives in Never Have I Ever

Darby- can’t remember where she goes to school because she spent last semester in Turkey; she’s a biochem major from Columbia, SC (Go Cocks!); she almost went to Chile instead of Morocco because she studies Spanish; no previous Arabic, but she knows some Turkish

Chessy- short for Francesca; she’s French-American, I think?; fluent French and some Arabic; when I try to use my Moroccan cellphone and a French lady won’t let me call people, I get her to fix it

Brynn- goes to BU, but she’s from Pittsburg; knows a good deal of French and some Arabic; fellow Boy Meets World fan

You wanna know the best thing about going on a trip with 7 girls? You never have to worry about taking pictures.

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