Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving came early

Gendarmes are the royal police of Morocco. They are the kings police. Think of them like the secret service. The king commissions them to keep watch for him on all cities around the country. Peace Corps volunteer safety is a high priority to King Mohammed VI. So the gendarmes in my city have a job to keep me safe. I have visited the office a few times in my first week here. The chief gendarme is named Ahmed and he had a huge personality. He is very welcoming, nice, protective, and funny. He has so much charisma and he likes me a lot. He takes on a fatherly roll with me telling me to hold my purse close every time he sees me. He tires to speak a little English to me, he knows he is not good, so we usually just laugh. The other day he invited me to lunch at his home with his wife. So today my host dad and I went there for lunch. His home was the biggest I’d been in so far. It was just the two of us eating this lunch but I can only compare it to a Thanksgiving feast. Beef, fish, shrimp, salad, bread, French fries, olives, fruit, pop, and an avocado milkshake. And not just a single serving of all these things. There was enough food for about 10 people. I tried to eat as slowly as possible so I could at least try everything but no matter how hard I tried I kept hearing “eat, eat, eat.” When my host dad and I could eat no more we tried to explain that we were full. I wasn’t sure what was being said but I’m sure it was something along the lines of “my wife made all this food for you and that’s all you want.” Well I don’t know what was expected but it was an incredible amount of food and there was absolutely now way we could have eaten it all. I figured “I’m full” cues were universal but the minute I would stop eating I would get “eat, eat, eat” again and again. I don’t want to be insulting but there comes a point were you have to listen to your own body first. In Moroccan culture eating a lot of food is a sign showing that you like it. Well I surely did think this food was delicious but I defiantly didn’t want to make myself sitting there. When we were done I graciously thanked Ahmed’s wife for the meal and I really hope she knew I enjoyed it.