I know just enough Deriga to greet people Be kher? (All is good?) La Bas? (no problems?) Mezien? (good?) Hamdoollah! (thank goodness!). Then, people get all excited and they start a flood of words.
Misunderstanding: I really thought that the fruit seller across from the door of the studio was asking how my show was coming, saying it would be beautiful (Meziuowena) and that he would come see it on Saturday (Samedi).
What he really said: I found these 6 kittens. Each one is a different color, fampti? You understand? Here is where I should have said Ma Fampt Shi—I don’t understand. They are beautiful. I will bring them to you on Saturday so you can draw them.
So, I know just enough that people think I can speak really well. But really, I know about what a 3 year old knows: I want this, how much, I go here, I do this. I find myself wanting to reach out with my words to ask more about others, but I am tripping over the lack of vocabulary. But in the end, we all end up nodding and smiling. They say "Misquina" poor little one--(I think it sounds like poor little mosquito). But they like me because I am trying. If I am lucky, someone is near to help translate, and all is well.
Packing up more today, and leaving tonight. I just know that these stories will slip away, and this one was too good to forget.
Hello from Tetuoan.
Today is Thursday, and back in Seattle I hope you are all sleeping well.
Yesterday, I went to Rincon (the beach) with Sumaya, my wonderful Derija teacher and friend. We crammed into a taxi—a blue Grand Taxi, think 80’s or 90’s era Mercedez. 6 of us actually rode—two in the front seat, 4 in the back seat, plus the driver. Sumaya tells me they call this “Tender Taxi”—the incredible intimacy of being so close with a stranger. Sometimes, Sumaya tells me, you will see a man with his arm around a woman in the front seat, merely because that is the only way they will both fit in the car. You will think they are together, but no, they are not.
We were quite early. 10 is early for Morocco—most people aren’t out and about until later. That is most visitors: the net menders, the seagulls, the cats, they are all out and busily doing their jobs—tying knots, cleaning scraps, and lying in the sun digesting (respectively).
The day before, Sapi and I visited Chefchaouen together (I haven't processed the photos yet). We purchased all the 6 seats in the cab so that we wouldn’t have to wait for more people (cabs don’t leave until they are full), and made our way to the very blue city, which is about an hour away. Chefchaouen caters to tourists—Tetouan feels more that it is made for the everyday people of the city itself. I am certain there are places in Chefchaouen that are less touristy, but I couldn't tell.
They paint the city 5 times a year. You can have your photo taken with a colorful bird.
It is all quite beautifully blue, and in varying shades. The doors are quite tiny, and yet are really in use, with children everywhere. It feels like a genuine experience, yet also I was reminded (sadly) of a smurf exhibit in Disney Land. I pretended I didn't notice until Sapi said something about it.
We had a wonderful traditional meal of Tajine at Aladdin's Palace—(seriously, that is the name). Tajine. Yum. Think meat and vegetables (or Chicken and plums, or Chicken and lemon and olive) served with bread. The meat and veg have been baked somehow in a ceramic container (this is what Tajine means). The container looks strangely like the hoods on the Jalabas that people wear. Jalaba: think the first desert scene in Star Wars and everyone is in hooded cloaks. The lid of the tagine is like a pointy hood on that cloak.
Today, I meet with new friends who I will go with to a wedding. The original purpose of my journey—to gather experiences—is certainly being fulfilled. Meanwhile, some art is also occurring.
Love to all of you back home!
Heather Danso wears many hats. As an artist, she playfully explores work in Acrylic, printing, and multimedia, creating portraits and abstracts that explore expression, playfulness, identity, and the possible. Her CV is here.
She is also a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Method® Practitioner, yoga teacher, Awareness Through Movement® teacher.