So, the New Year begins. My sort-of prediction that it might be a noisy and somewhat dangerous New Year’s Eve celebration turned out to be wrong. It was rather quiet–I didn’t hear any fireworks or sirens in the wee hours of the morning, though I conked out well before midnight. Hopefully, then, parties were confined to people’s homes and no one was involved in any fatal traffic accidents.
Next week is the Feast of Sacrifice, as I posted earlier. One of the religious traditions surrounding the Feast is that families who can afford to do so will buy a sheep, offering one third of it to the needy. Larouz is buying his this week, he told me on the trip to Rabat. I asked if he would slaughter it himself, but the farmer he buys from will do it. My students asked me if I had bought one, but I told them no, I didn’t have a place to keep it and feed it. They laughed, so I assumed they got my joke. They’re a great bunch of young men and women. They gave me a very colorful, fragrant bouquet of pink roses and red carnations as a New Year gift, a much-appreciated and thoughtful gesture. Many of them have invited me to visit their hometowns, one of which is Er-Rachidia, where I hope to be going at the end of the month or the beginning of February to give a workshop to Peace Corps volunteers. If I get to travel that far south, I hope they’re out of school (yes, there is another holiday of sorts coming up in February after they do another week-long practicum at the end of January). If so, it’ll be nice to know someone who can fill me in on where to sightsee.
I’ve also been hoping to take the new bicycle for a spin in the countryside, but the forecast is calling for rain the next three days. I’ve been told that December is one of the rainiest months, but it didn’t seem like we got all that much precipitation. Maybe January will make up for it. Today seemed colder than usual, and riding the bicycle to work at 7:30 this morning was a rather uncomfortable awakening.
I rode it back to the school this afternoon for the semi-monthly teacher/administration meeting. Usually one of the other English teachers is there to translate for me, but I was really a fish out of water today–I was the only one from our department attending, and the Arabic and French swirling into and around my ears left me rather bewildered. About the only words I understood were “photocopy” and “projector”, so I assume they were talking about lack of equipment or lack of funding to buy equipment. If there is anything important, someone will phone Larouz and let him know. Afterward, our very friendly and helpful Student Affairs Director, Fouad, told me that I really didn’t have to attend the meetings, especially if Larouz or one of the others wasn’t attending. Thank you, Fouad. I’ve never enjoyed this type of meeting anyway. More later.