People always comment, it seems, when I post under the tag boring everyday life. “Your life isn’t boring,” they say. But you have no idea. Everyday life by definition just isn’t all that exciting—even if you live in a place considered exotic by the people you went to high school with. If I’d been born to Mohamed and Latifa Slaoui and raised in Rabat, no one would think my life here all that exotic, and I’d be all agog to hear about life in the ‘burbs, shopping at Target, or what it’s like to just go out for Mexican food. My kids don’t find their lives exotic. Snowball fights and hot chocolate with marshmallows is MUCH more exciting than eating cinnamon-spiced lamb with your hands under a tent while the Saharan winds swirl the sand outside, or listening to the call to prayer wailing out from the minarets that dot your city, or a guy riding a scooter down your street with milk cans attached front and back, selling milk. (Aside: I haven’t bought any yet but I am going to. Is it goat, cow or camel milk? I’m guessing goat. In Mauritania, at certain times of year, you could go to the edges of the city and buy fresh camel’s milk from the nomads who were there with their herds, but we didn’t since we’re not big milk drinkers. Also I like my milk pasteurized AND homogenized.)
Life goes on as normal here. It’s a sunny day and I’m trying to catch up on the laundry—I don’t have a dryer and the house is so damp that things hung on a rack can take 3 days to dry, and still feel slightly damp. I tell a friend I cannot believe how much of my life is consumed with laundry; with scanning the skies for rain, ready to grab it off the line at the first sign of a sprinkle; with constantly moving the rack from the balcony to the front room, where I put it in front of the space heater and try not to burn it. (See? Bo-ring!)
This week we had a friend visiting from Mauritania, someone we knew who is moving on and stopped by on his way. We stayed up late talking about how things have changed, people who’ve left, people who’ve stayed, as well as various future plans. Other than that, the week has been uneventful. We found a new tailor who has very good prices and got some trousers hemmed. (The Nomad family is height-challenged) Ilsa and I had coffee with a woman from my book group and returned home with our arms piled high with new books to read. Right now? I’m reading one loaned to Ilsa, The Giver. I’m also reading Brick Lane.
Saturday night, we went to a going away party. That’s another constant, another part of our everyday reality. People are always leaving. Others come. I just made a new friend, a new American family here to replace an old American family who are leaving.
The party was great fun. We renewed acquaintances with a couple who aren’t leaving till November. Ilsa made and decorated the cakes, all by herself (well I technically made the buttermilk one, but it was because of time).
Tonight our friend flies out from Casablanca to Alabama (I think. Possibly Arkansas. I get them mixed up. What’s the difference?), returning to a life of Starbucks on demand and traffic laws that are obeyed. What’s exotic about that? Plenty, depending on your point of view.