Sunday, January 23, 2011

A sip of normalcy

It doesn’t feel normal talking about normalcy. But most of the time my life here just doesn’t feel normal, so little moments of normalcy feel so good.

Some times they do come in moments and other times they come in a full day. Today was a day I honestly felt like I traveled back to America.

One of my new girlfriends here, Soukaina, took me on a day excursion to Casablanca. I prefer going to the big city with a Moroccan with me because I just don’t know it well enough to feel comfortable there. So when I am with a Moroccan friend I can rely on them to know where to go, or to at least ask, and I can relax and enjoy.

We first went for a walk around Hassan II mosque. It was my second time there and I still couldn’t help but stare in wonder at how beautiful it is. We continued our walk to my favorite place in Casablanca. It is an area right on the beach lined with nice cafes, restaurants, and is full of people jogging or just enjoying a stroll.

After we walked for a while, enjoying the view, we stopped for lunch at the always delicious McDonalds. This place has totally taken on a new meaning for me. Each of the rare times I get it, I enjoy it thoroughly. It’s not like back home when I can stop at the one of three McDonald’s in town.

We sat and chatted there for about an hour. Then hopped in a taxi that took us to the expensive shopping district.

Store are having their semi-annual sales so Soukaina wanted to see what they had. Even sale prices at these stores are nothing that I would ever feel right about spending with my Peace Corps budget. However, it was really fun to look in these nice stores and listen to the bumping music that I so much enjoy.

Soukaina tortured me further when we went into a lingerie store, I wanted to buy something pretty so bad. I got smells of perfumes from every corner and was, for a while, in my own little heaven.

After some shopping I met up with my former Peace Corps teacher Lahcen. He now lives in Casablanca and I had not gotten to see him for nearly one year. We spent an hour gossiping, laughing, and catching up over  hot chocolate and coffee. I had missed him a lot and it was so nice to hear his humor once again.

On our way out of town we stopped at Soukaina’s favorite French bakery. I almost died there. I wanted to sample just about everything. Cakes and treats, torts and cookies. Everything looked like something straight out of the movie Marie Antoinette. For those of you who can’t picture that, it is something delicious but at the same time as beautiful as a work of art.

Soukaina surprised me with my favorite pastry. It’s called Mille-feuille in French, which means cake of a thousand leaves. I eat it all the time from the bakery near my house, but this was something else. I almost can’t even compare the two. It was such a delicious treat.

Just like my day in fact. It felt like such a treat to be with a girlfriend doing something fun and interesting. Being able to walk around and not get stared at. Days like this help to recharge me for the rest of the time to come.