Monday, September 27, 2010

On Work and Play

It’s been 2 months since my last the day. I have a series of excuses I could make, but my dad told me something about excuses once...ahem...the crux of it is that they all stink.

So, a quick, excuseless recap...

Ramadan (the Muslim holy month of fasting) took up most of August. For various reasons I decided to fast with my Muslim friends the whole month, so from about 4am until 7pm I didn’t eat or drink – water included (except for Sundays, when I ate with my church). The days were long and hot, physically draining and emotionally trying. As expected, research productivity dwindled as my interviewees made themselves unavailable and I myself wanted to do little more than lie around all day, conserving energy and not dealing with people who might annoy me when I was hungry and irritable. When I walked about the city I pretended to be Bear Grylls (from the show Man vs. Wild), doing all I could to prevent sweating and to preserve hydration. I walked in whatever shadows I could find and curbed my natural tendency to power-walk everywhere. It was of little use though, as the intense, dry August heat always got the best of my survival tactics. Water was the first thing I reached for when the sun set.

I began Arabic classes again as a way to maintain some level of productivity even though my interviews were lacking during the month. Getting through 2 hours of class every morning while I was undernourished and sleep deprived was certainly a strain, but I made it through and have, in fact, seen a significant improvement in my Media Arabic.

But as miserable as the days were, I already miss the Ramadan nights. The famous Moroccan hospitality was at its best, as I was invited to FTOUR (the meal to break the fast) at some family’s house almost every night. (For the record, I still think Latifa has THE WORLD'S BEST HARIRA.) In the evenings after ftour the streets came alive, something that only happens in Fez during Ramadan and the Sacred Music Festival (in June). For once, it was safe to walk around until about midnight, as families went for strolls all over the medina. I filled the evenings with guitar jam sessions on the roofs of several different cafes, going out for walks with friends and their families, taking Soukaina out to the fair, or simply staying in, watching sitcoms and Ramadan specials. And, of course, eating.

Ramadan ended on September 10, and since then it’s been a massive return to productivity. Interviews have resumed, and my calendar is full of classes and research-related appointments. Most of my otherwise free time is spent writing and writing and writing.

But we know what Benny Franklin says about all work and no play, so lest you worry that I’m becoming a dull girl, some photographic evidence to the contrary:

(Why yes, indeed, I did tour Morocco’s winey-est winery last weekend.)


1 comment:

Barbara said...

Vino!!! I'll drink to that!