Sunday, November 21, 2010


I know the few of you who follow this blog, or my life via facebook, know I was in Portugal this past week. And I know you are expecting a post and pictures and such. It will come...but not today. Having uploading issues on facebook and now have to get ready to actually teach tomorrow. So, the blog post will happen with more details. For now, I will just say that Portugal (Lisbon, Sintra, Belem) did not disappoint. It's an amazing country with fabulous people. It was my first time in Europe and I loved it!

If I don't get to posting this week, Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I'm kinda bummed to miss out on what has become my favorite holiday back home. But, I'm sure the Turner Hall will survive without an appearance from me on Wednesday night. (Although I think I AM hosting a happy hour on Wednesday to try to make up for it!)  I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunities I've been given in my life. I'm lucky to have met some amazing people over here in my 'new life' so to speak. But without the love and support of all of you, my friends and family back home, I never would have been able to take this leap.  So, I give thanks to all of you. Can't wait to get home for a couple weeks over Christmas and see as many of you as possible!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful, yet wanting...

Life is good. I can, by no means, complain about much of anything. Other than not yet having a bank account after living here for 3 months now. Granted, digging into wads of cash hidden in pockets and drawers is kind of a fun feeling. I'm tempted to throw it all on my bed and roll around in it. But I probably won't. As I was saying though, life is good. Today begins our 'fall break' I guess you'd call it. We have next week off because there is a big Muslim holiday next week where they sacrifice sheep and eat all parts of the sheep from what I've heard. So, in order to NOT have to see the blood that is apparently everywhere...I'm fleeing the country (legally) with friends. We are going to Lisbon, Portugal. Flying up there on Monday and staying through Friday. So, any job that allows you a week break to travel to places like Portugal is pretty dang sweet. I feel lucky and thankful to be here experiencing this. Hence, the 'thankful' title of this post.

But, as humans, we naturally want more, right? Well, my 'wants' are more like things I'm missing. And today, that is the nature of my post. Because TODAY, the thing I'm missing the most (aside from salsa and all-things Mexican food related) is Happy Hour. Good ole, city-livin' Happy Hours. You know, where you can go to a bar/restaurant at 4:00 after finishing work on a Friday and have a tall Miller Lite and half price appetizers. And there will be all kinds of people milling around who are also very excited that it's Friday and are also thoroughly enjoying their tall beers and cheap food. Today I'm missing this more than normal because it's the Friday before break and I'm home, doing nothing, waiting until I can meet up with friends later because nothing in terms of food and such opens until at least 7.30. Needless to say, this has been an adjustment for me. A more dedicated person would have just taken advantage of this time and gone down to the gym that is next door. But, instead I'm pouring out my soul to you via this blog and drinking a Heineken trying to kill time. Bottom line? I miss Happy Hours. And I hope to partake in a couple when I'm home in December. Who's with me?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween, etc.

    So, they do sorta celebrate Halloween here in Morocco. And by 'they', I mean the locals. And by 'sorta', I mean that it's a bit scaled down compared to the states. At least by my observations. The kids here have the same focus as kids in the states - candy. And lots of it. Our PTA put on a big Halloween dance/party at school on Friday night. They had the gym all decked out, brought in a DJ, and I think had some semblance of a haunted house as well. There were also some of the little games that kids enjoy. I was a dutiful teacher (along with a few others) and volunteered to work a shift at this gig. I was signed up for an hour at the 'straw relay' table. I had no idea what this was until I got there. It turned out to be really easy, but pretty disgusting at the same time. Two kids at a time, using a straw to suck up small coated chocolate candies (like M & M's, but a bad imitation), and then drop them into a cup. Most candies in at end of a minute (or whenever I said Stop) wins a good prize (candy bag or a game of some sort). Loser got a halloween bookmark. Now this might not sound so bad. However, young children sucking up candies with a straw and then depositing them in a cup apparently requires a lot of saliva. One boy was sucking 'em up and when he was blowing out to put them in the cup, globs of slob were coming with it. We didn't have replacement cups, so we had to keep using the same grimey cups over and over. With slimey candies stuck in them. Some kids even came up and used the same straw to suck on as kids before them. Before I could get a new straw out and ready, they already had it in their mouth. Gross. Really gross. But, they kept going and I kept trying not to look at the slobbery mess of coated chocolate candies in the cup and on the table. Costumes were similar to in the states. Although I think we had more young girls already dressing 'skanky' like the older girls now seem to. It was a little disturbing. But, the kids were excited to see me and it was fun to see them in costumes. I was also happy to not have had a party in the room that day. This way, their sugar high went out the door with them, directly to their parents. Or nanny/maid. Or driver. At least it wasn't my problem. ha.  Kind of a funny story. Today I was asking the kids if they really 'do' trick or treating here. Some said they do it a bit maybe in a small community (neighborhood). Then one boy said "No, we can't go around and do that. Because if we walk in the streets, the crazy drivers will hit us."  It's not just me who recognizes the craziness of the drivers here.

    On Saturday night, a group of us teachers got together for a combination birthday and halloween party. Jim and Luann were the wonderful host and hostess, as it was Luann's birthday. According to them, and the fact that they keep up on what Oprah and Martha say is 'hip', grilled cheese parties are the new thing. Soooo, they asked everyone to bring some kind of cheese and anything else they thought might go well with a grilled cheese sandwich, and away we went. I must say that whatever Jim cooked up for me was quite fabulous. I don't remember the type of cheese I had, but I know it had slices of pears with it as well as some other fabulous ingredients. All in all, it was a big hit. And there was not a trace of velveeta to be found. The other fabulous part of the party was...Candy Corn. Luann had bought some their last visit to the commisary. I think I was responsible for demolishing one entire bowl. Mixed with peanuts. Felt like I was back in Mom and Dad's living room. Loved it!  Costumes were optional for this party, and most were not very festive in this regard. My friend Jenny and I decided that costumes should be worn. So, we combined our thinking and her artistic talents and went as 'CAS Survivors'. We had our 'buffs', fire torches, war paint, etc. We definitely won the costume prize. Even though there wasn't one. We laughed, sang, danced, and drank. Pretty much like Halloween partes in the states, yes?

    Again, I'll say that I'm going to try to blog more about the randomness of living in Morocco...and more specifically Casablanca. I'm fortunate enough to ride home with friends who have a car here, rather than the big blue bus. And our rides home are always entertaining. We just have to look out our windows, and the laughter ensues. More on that in posts to come.

   One thing I really miss right now is salsa. And clothes fresh out of the dryer. Oh how I miss that Bounce dryer sheet fresh smell....

Jenny and I as 'CAS (Casablanca American School)  Survivors. Outwit, Outplay, Out ...

Randy & Jim, my favorite 'mature' (they don't like me to
call them older) married men. Their wives are saints! ha

Jim and Luann. Fabulous host and hostess.