It’s been a crazy couple of days here on Planet Nomad. On Thursdays, I teach two classes in an office building downtown—in other words, on site, rather than at the Language Center that employs me. To answer LG’s question in comments, I am teaching adults in these classes, and they are some of the nicest adults I’ve ever met. I am in love with my students! They are articulate and funny and they all like each other and tease each other. I have never had a class like this! They’re a joy to teach. My challenge is to come up with fun and interesting ways to keep them talking, which so far has meant not sticking too closely to the curriculum.
One class is noon to two, and the next 4 to 5, so I come home between classes. Since the office building is located in Agdal, the trendy area where parking is impossible to find, I take taxis. I am learning (the hard way) that I need to allow a LOT of extra time to get to that 4:00 class, because my route lies along a street with TWO schools right next to each other. These are quite large schools, along a narrow one-way street, yet neither school has a parking lot. The street is wide enough to hold cars parked on either side with a narrow lane open down the middle. It is theoretically wide enough for those with nerves of steel to fit two lanes down between the two rows of parked cars. And that’s what we do, me and my taxi driver (the grammar is INTENTIONAL Shannon), swerving in and out and yelling and gesticulating at the other drivers and obsessively checking our watches. (I’ll leave it to your imagination which of us is doing what) It is a madhouse. It would be quicker to walk, except that I don’t—I stick it out through the long blocks until we make it through to a wider place. The cars are double-parked now, parents darting through traffic with two or three kids strung out behind them, kissing and greeting other parents, while my taxi driver gently weeps. No of course he doesn’t—he sighs and comments on how horrible the other drivers are while he takes incredible risks and drives into oncoming traffic. I fidget and fret and sometimes fume, depending on my mood and how long it took me to find this taxi and how hot it is.
For the heat has returned! Suddenly, overnight, the weather has changed, the thermostat soared, and it’s nearly 80 degrees today, with a hot dry Saharan wind banging the shutters, and flapping the towels on the line. It’s not supposed to last, but hopefully it will kill some of those mold spores.
This Thursday was not a good taxi day. I stood impatiently, sweating in the sudden heat, as taxi after taxi whizzed by already full. I would have been late but luckily it’s Winter Break and the schools are closed. The taxi driver looked at me oddly as I loudly proclaimed “Alhumdudillah! C’est les vacances!” (praise God–it’s vacation!) as we drove rapidly down the empty street.
I’d had to cut it fine because this woman I know is having a baby, Irish twins as I’ve heard it called, since her first isn’t a year old yet. I’d promised to bring them supper, racked my brains as to what to feed them (they’re Nigerian), decided on a mild curry with rice, and spent my 2 hours home between classes not only preparing for class but also cooking a meal.
I made it to class on time, had a good session, and then raced home because I had a guest coming in on the train at 6. She used to teach at the American school in Fes and is now living in France, here to visit friends for a week, stopping off to see us for a couple of nights. I went home to make tortillas and salsa (two kinds) from scratch and change the sheets on Ilsa’s bed, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable visit, hanging out till late in the evening, sleeping in next morning and drinking loads of coffee.
After an afternoon dallying in the medina, where we finally bought a light fixture for our bedroom (Hassiniya proverb: drop by drop, the valley fills with water. Soon we’ll be fully settled; it’s only been a year), we came home to pizza.
At 9 p.m. I got a phone call from Abel’s friend’s father. They were back! Ilsa and I went to pick him up. He came home with tired eyes, sand-filled hair, and skin a different colour than it was when he set out. It’s amazing how much dust can settle in the minute crevices of skin. He brought presents for everyone—I got a silver bracelet and a woven trivet—and a bag filled with many very heavy rocks that he’d collected. We popped him in the shower and I unpacked his bag, filled with memories at the sight of sand-stained socks and mini-dunes in the corner of his case. He was full of stories; sand-boarding down the dunes, riding a camel, a nomadic concert by firelight, a snowball fight when passing through the mountains near Marrakesh. I’ll have him do a guest post on it soon.
But things aren’t going to get relaxing anytime soon. We have guests arriving on Monday, which also happens to be the twins’ 13th birthday! Yes, it’s all teenagers all the time now chez nous. Should be a wild ride!