10 days of rain, cold and constipation have finally come to an end this week thanks to the return of the glorious Moroccan sun and my friendly neighbourhood laxatives. Anyone can handle a certain amount of miserable weather, but more than a week of hail and sub 40 degree temperatures will literally put a damper on your adventure. By the end of last week, I was feeling mentally and physically defeated. The rain and cold forced me inside, my swiya (little) Darija kept me from interesting host family conversations and the constipation took away my only solaces: bountiful bread and frequent workouts.
While this was not an end of the world/crisis situation, it did make me long for feeling in my toes and salads without added sugar. Following the end of my formal language and culture lessons, I returned home exhausted and would lie in bed for an hour as feeling slowly returned to my extremities. Apparently being cold all the time is hard work for the body and mind, who knew? My new diet had also started to take a toll on my stomach; despite the constant caffeine intake, I was seeing no results in the Turk department. While this didn’t concern me, my stomach solidly freaked out on Friday and not-so-subtly encouraged me to give the Peace Corps Medical Officer a ring. Combined with my “bouche-a-coq” hairstyle and infrequent showers, I looked and felt like the shit that has been unable to escape from my body.
Saturday changed everything. Starting the day with a burst of sunshine, a fiberlicious breakfast and LMFAO, I was on my way! I successfully visited the souq (market) to purchase food for the upcoming week, bonded with my host family and choreographed a number of dance routines for this week’s Spring Camp. And the laxatives? Still waiting on the effect. My new diet is ideal for the 70 and over crowd: minimal bread, a daily dose of Metamucil and as many vegetables and bran as I can fit into my belly. C’est la guerre.
Sunday was a full day with the host family. We started the day with 5 hours at the local Hammam (aka bathhouse); this was my first and ideally longest visit. As my host sisters graciously washed me and scrapped the dead skin from my body, I started to understand why Moroccans believe Westerners are dirty. It had been several weeks since my last good scrub, and I was filthy. By the afternoon I was ornery, dehydrated and my skin resembled a tomato. A solid first attempt at bathing, Moroccan style. After we devoured lunch, my host family took me on a lovely afternoon hike to the local waterfall and into the hills. While we enjoyed the picturesque waterfall and good conversation, I started to sing a praise song. Nature always gets me that way. As I floated away on my own thought bubble, my host dad burst into a round of “Happy Birthday” for no reason. I laughed so hard that I nearly cried; it’s a gift to find a family as quirky as my own.