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Morocco, Week Fourteen

Week fourteen began with Austrians and ended with Germans. I had two delightful Austrian house guests, Sabine and Hans-Peter, who kept me entertained on Monday and Tuesday. Both of them had quit their jobs, bought motorcycles, and embarked on an around-the-world journey. (They took crash courses in motorcycle repair before leaving.)

Next up: traveling down the western coast of Africa. Their trip ends, I suppose, when they get tired of traveling and move on to the next thing in their lives. We ate delectable Moroccan food, played with Loki, and had a long, fascinating conversation about the attitude toward the film The Sound of Music in Austria and why most Austrians have never seen it.… Read More

Morocco, Week Thirteen

I began this post on Sunday morning, sitting in my underwear typing it up. Because, really, being able to lounge around the house in your underwear is one of the nicest perks of living alone. I had woken up an hour earlier, with early-morning sunlight glinting in through my window.

Partially because I was rejuvenated from a relaxing weekend in Chefchaouen, and partially because my work week was only four days long, my week started out great. Got lots done in the library, and even managed to begin the planning stages of a new, exciting project in the community.… Read More

Morocco, Week Twelve

“The only things they trust are the racing ships
Posiedon gave, to sail the deep blue sea
like white wings in the sky, or a flashing thought.” (The Odyssey)

One of the perks of working in a school is getting to hear children say all sorts of silly things. Students at AST (especially the kindergartners) are fond of exclaiming, “Oh my God!” at the drop of a hat, for instance. Talking about volcanoes? “Oh my God!” Finding out that a dinosaur in a book is too tall to fit on the page? “Oh my God!” Explaining that a tomato is a fruit? “Oh my God!” I suppose our students just have a flair for the dramatic.… Read More

Morocco, Week Eleven

Another slow week, which means a short blog post this time. After a long work day on Monday, I took a spontaneous trip to the school swimming pool with a couple kids in tow.

We practiced swimming, splashed, and even had a spirited game of marco polo, then headed to Wafae’s house for soup and Moroccan pastries. (I have been specifying the type of pastry every time because I am aware that you, my readers, are extremely discerning and absolutely need to know whether each pastry is Moroccan-style or French-style.)… Read More

Morocco, Week Ten

My tenth week in Morocco was challenging. I had one of those workweeks where the few rewarding moments are swept away in a deluge of minor catastrophes. Despite all of that, this week I put the finishing touches on a school reading contest (with the help of my intrepid student volunteers, of course), fleshed out ideas for a few library fundraisers, and got paid.

And, of course, read one of my other favorite childhood books to the kindergarteners, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. Loved the amazed faces when Micky flies his dough-y airplane to get milk for the bakers. Still in store for the kindergarteners: Pierre, Just A Dream, Cautionary Tales for Children, The Adventures of Isabel, Amos & Boris, The Paper Bag Princess, Two Bad Ants.… Read More

Morocco, Week Nine

I’m sorry to say, dear readers, that week nine will be a bit of a letdown. One of the downsides of working so much is that by the time I get around to blogging, I’ve already forgotten everything I did the previous week. Most of my waking hours last week were spent at work, and most of the things I did there are wildly exciting to only a select few people.

I supervised the creation of a middle school book club. Made a publication timeline for the student literary journal. Read more books to tiny children. Created a fabulous dinosaur-themed corner in the library, complete with illustrations of various species and a memorable pun.… Read More

Morocco, Week Eight

At the beginning of week eight, I acquired a new roommate. One with spindly legs, abundant whiskers, and a very pink nose. Like the old nursery rhyme, he followed me to school one day. And though it was against the rules, I have to admit that it was difficult to resist scooping him up and installing him in the library. I shouldn’t have worried, however, because he was still sitting on the front steps waiting for me when I left school that afternoon.

Shortly thereafter, Loki was installed in his own little room in my apartment, complete with armchair, big cushy pillow-bed, and plenty of toys. I’m thoroughly convinced that out of all the kittens in Tangier, I’ve got the very best one.… Read More

Cookies for Cogdog

This is a special post dedicated to Alyce, the mother of my good friend Alan Levine. Alyce, who passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago, would get up every Sunday morning, bake cookies, and hand them out during the week to anyone who looked like they could use cookie-inspired happiness. A couple of days later, Martha Burtis threw together Cookies for Cogdog, inviting Alan’s friends to bake cookies and share them as a tribute to Alyce.

So last Saturday I got up early and made an enormous batch of sugar cookies, coating myself, my kitchen, and far too many kitchen implements in flour.… Read More

Morocco, Week Seven

Well, the school year has officially started. As week seven opened, faculty and staff ran around the school, frantically trying to get everything ready for the students’ arrival on Wednesday. On Monday, paint was drying on the wall, I had stacks of books scattered around the room, and my desk was in limbo in the center of the library. Two carpets, four plants, four comfy chairs, and several furniture switches later, the library was finally looking great. The children’s section had a big couch and carpet, the high school reading area was comfy and inviting, and my desk was back in its corner by the door.… Read More

How to Cook a Tagine in the Woods

I suppose this post should, logically, be preceded with another titled “How to Cook a Tagine”. But you know me- I don’t do anything half-assed. I’d never cooked a tagine before, so naturally I made my first one in the woods over twigs and stones. Mustapha and I surprised his sisters by whisking them away last Sunday for a picnic in a forested glen by the ocean. After arriving, we spread out a big carpet to sit on, piled up the containers of ingredients, turned on some music, and got to work. … Read More

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