Friday, January 15, 2010

On Life In-Between

Why, yes, I am sitting on the roof of my new apartment in FEZ JDID, drinking sugarless tea and eating a bowl of Rice Krispies. How did I get here? A lot has happened in the past month that’s pulled me off the bloggin’ wagon, but I’m back and it seems we have some catching up to do.

I was able to go back to the Land of the Free for two weeks and spend Christmas with my family. I got a healthy dose of culture shock when I woke up in the morning and a life-sized Joe Scarborough was jumping out at me from my dad’s enormous HDTV. In the same day I witnessed the return of Spandex and the super high, intentionally sloppy ponytail. But the indoor heating was the biggest (and best) shock...especially with the blizzard that covered the D.C. area shortly after I arrived.

It was in many ways a lovely vacation. I got to spend time with my family (a lot of them)...I saw the Steelers win a couple games (too little too late, I guess)...caught up with some dear old friends (among the dearest and oldest I have)...and my sister and I learned the dance to Jai Ho that they do at the end of Slumdog Millionaire (probably the highlight of my trip).

But of course, being back in the States led to the natural comparisons between here and there. I love here and I love there, but for very different reasons. Then certain political events went down in both countries and elsewhere, which highlighted the things that I DISLIKE in both. The whole thing made me feel dreadfully in-between. Not that that’s anything new.

On New Year’s day I left the States again...through Tangier...finally back to Fez on the 3rd.

I had set up a new apartment in Fez before I left for Christmas. I wanted everything to be in order when I came back so I didn’t have to worry about moving and all of that when my new class term started. But, lest we forget, this is Morocco. Things didn’t work out like I planned and due to problems with the landlord and the apartment and some neighbors, I decided I needed to find a new place.

I crashed with the Khattabis for a few days (they tried to convince me to stay forever), and stored my things with some other Fulbrights. After seeing a few apartments – some of them disasters – I found a good place for a good price from a good landlord who is also a teacher at the school. And the best thing about my new place: the location.

I’m no longer in the ancient Medina (where I lived with the Khattabis), nor am I in the modern Ville Nouvelle (where I lived 2007-2008). I’ve moved into Fez Jdid, which is situated geographically as well as historically between the other two cities.

The name Fez Jdid means, “New Fez.” It was the new city before the French came and made a newer city. It’s an awkward in-between place of which I know nothing (Yet). It’s kind of perfect.

My next adventure: learning Fez Jdid. YALLA.