Thursday, September 24, 2015

EId Mubarak!

So, today is Eid. It's about 5:00pm as I write this blog post, and our traditional sacrifice and meal is over.
Me (left) and my roomate (right)
I'll take you guys through an hourly explanation of my day.

(WARNING! IT'S GRAPHIC- photos at the bottom)

7:30am: Alarm goes off... but I get up after about 3 hits of my snooze button. Family is arriving at about 9 for breakfast. Breakfast includes myself, my program roomate, my host parents, brother and sister, cousins, aunts, grandparents; basically a lot of people.

 9:30: We eat outside on the rooftop like balcony. The villa I live in is two floors, and there is a door in my room as well as the kitchen that leads to the outside area. For breakfast we ate this fried (AMAZING) dough called rief with cheese, jam, olives, and of course, tea! It is my favorite breakfast here.

10:00-11:00am: After breakfast was over and cleared, we started to cook a little. My roomate and I helped peel tomatoes to make this eggplant, tomato, red pepper spread that we eat with bread, and we diced carrots to put in a potato-tuna salad. After all that was done, the butcher and his helpers arrived!

11:15+: It's time! Our family bought three sheep that we kept in the downstairs open compound of the home. I had my phone out to record the process so I could send to my family back home in the U.S. We took the first sheep, and shielded the others with a sheet so they couldn't see the process. That's when it all began. There were about 5 men who came to the home, all of which held down the sheep while my host father said a very short prayer, took the knife, and slit the sheep's throat. I was about four feet away when the knife left the sheep's throat and it began to bleed out. Alas, it did not make it.

Once the sheep was fully "gone", the butcher decapitated the animal, skinned one of the legs, cut the bone a little so he could break it, and tied the achilles tendon to a rope hanging from the ceiling; this way the sheep was upside down. Boy was that tendon strong. It was holding this hundred and something pound sheep upside down, and it didn't even rip. After the sheep was hanging there, the butcher continued to skin the whole sheep with a knife. Once the animal had no skin, the butcher cut open the torso to get out all of the insides. The liver, lungs, small intestines, bladder, everything. The liver and edible organs were kept, but those that were not were discarded. The last intestine to be removed was the bowel. For this process, the butcher and his men poured water into the sheep's anus, blew into it, and we watched the water clean everything out. Basically, it was an enema but instead of coming back out of the anus, it came out a slit the men made in its bowel.

This was repeated two more times.

1:00pm: After all the sheep have been sacrificed and hanging from the ceiling, we cooked! The sheep "hang out" (no pun intended) for 24hrs, so for today, we eat the livers, They were cut into cubes, marinated, individually wrapped in the sheep's fat, put onto skewers and put onto a charcoal grill. This created so much smoke I felt like I was in a burning home. My eyes were red, red, and my roomate could't even stay it was that thick. There seemed to be about 50 skewers. We all sat down, ate the spread we made earlier that day with homemade fries, bread, and potato-tuna salad. I took the fat off of the cubes of liver (you can eat them with or without the fat) and ate it. UMMMM, it's not really for me. It was good, but had a particular taste that I could not eat in large sums. Nonetheless, I ate the bread (obvi) with the paste, olives and tea. One's essentials. After I ate half a skewer and my roomate ate a full one, we went to get away from the smoke and just sit down upstairs we were so full. After two hours of mingling, talking with family, sitting, we went back downstairs.... and people were still eating! Pravo to them, but I don't think I could take that much liver and food. I was so full I thought I was going to explode. After another hour or so, we cleaned up, changed into our pjs and are just hanging out :)

5:00pm: There are still so many skewers left, and I don't even know if we are going to eat dinner, that's how much food everybody has had. Nevertheless, after this exciting, culture filled day, I am happy to just be sitting in my bed writing this blog post.

Happy Eid Mubarak everyone!




Our flight coming in was a bit late so we landed an hour behind schedule. Then, our driver was not there to pick us up at the airport (it was 1am). 

Foreshadow: Here in Morocco it is the norm to tell people what they want to hear even if it is not the truth. 

We called the driver and he said he was very close. Okay. 30 minutes pass and we call again. He is almost here. Okay. 30 minutes pass, he is five minutes away. Okay. An hour passes and we call him. "I'm here but don't come outside". Oh yea, like we are supposed to believe that. Anyway, we are all sitting at a cafe in the airport, talking, waiting for him to show. When he finally does, it's four in the morning. 

We go outside, and I have so much luggage that I end up tripping over my own carry-on and falling in the middle of the street. Ooops. The Americans have arrived. 

We get to the hotel at around 6am and have to be up at 10. Yay. 

We get up, eat, and go meet our host families. 

*fast forward a couple hours, days... I don't know, I lost count*

It's super fun here. I love my host family and my roomie, I love taking taxis, talking to them in arabic (the little arabic I know) and just putting my "Resting Bitch Face" on when random people in the street want to talk. So much fun :). 

I have been in class for a week now. Standard Arabic from 9-11:45, and then an hour of Darija which is "Moroccan Arabic". It's great. The people here expect me to be European, so when I start speaking Darija (which only Moroccan's speak) they are super surprised. GOTCHA MF'S! 

I still have so much to see of Rabat. I also have to make friends outside of NSLIY. I hung out with a Moroccan girl I met the other day, and I played tennis with a guy from America yesterday. Tomorrow I am going to the American School in Rabat with my friends to see who we meet and also.... make friends.

This Wednesday I am going to a horse stable in Rabat with a Moroccan guy friend of mine (who rides everyday and has been riding since he was four) to look at the stables and decide whether I want to ride there. 

OH! I almost forgot! Thursday is Eid Kabir which is the sacrificing of a goat/cow for Allah and those who can't afford the meat. Our family is getting three sheep!!!!!! Tomorrow our host dad is getting one, and the in-laws will be getting there's relatively soon. I think we are keeping it downstairs (outside) but I'm not so sure. I also think that my host mom said her mother-in-law walks her sheep around the area when she gets hers... but that may have been a language misunderstanding because that doesn't seem right. But if it is, I love her for it. 

We will go to a slaughter house ( I think ) and watch a butcher kill all our sheep, then we will cook them! Again, some details may not be accurate as their Arabic is not as concrete as mine... hehe

(P.S. My host father's mother is sooo amazing! She is older so I really have to bang on the door and say hi. She invited my roomie and I over the other day for cous cous, and it was delish. She thought it could be better, but that's because she has obvi had some amazing food. Also, there was a cow hoof in our cous cous.... just saying.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Almost There!

Well, I'm off! 

I am currently sitting in the Frankfurt airport during my 10 HOUR layover (ugh.), and could not be more excited. I have been here along with the five other NSLIY girls for about five hours, so we are half way done. 

I officially left for the start of NSLIY the 9th of September and flew to DC. There, we had a PDO (Pre-Departure Orientation) that lasted two days where we learned about Morocco, the program, safety tips, everything! I learned so much that I honestly couldn't think of one question by the end! 

The other NSLIY with are soooo amazing; I could not have asked for better travel buddies. From Frankfurt we fly to Casablanca (about a four hour flight), get our luggage and arrive at a hotel in Rabat at appx four in the morning (again, ugh). There we get about four hours of sleep as we have to be up at 11am that morning to go to school and again be introduced to the program, but this time in Morocco. After the "mini-orientation" we will sit down for some pastries and orange juice and meet our families!!! 

I am living in a Villa- which is pretty rare, most kids get apartments- along with my roomie from Brooklyn. There are five members of our host family...

Mother: Housewife
Father: Bazaar owner
Sister: 7yrs old
Brother: 3yrs old
Brother: 1yr old


I am currently sitting down on possible the most uncomfortable seat in the world, so I'm going to move and find something better/I really want to watch Netflix. 

I'll keep you all updated!