Family Matters.

10 May

Just a few things to update you on my life in Morocco:

Tomorrow is my last day of school! Technically, anyway. Tomorrow is the last day where I have to turn in something (aka fourteen pages which I need to write tonight eep), so it’s essentially the same. Friday Macarena and I head north to Chefchaouen, then Tetaouen, then Larache, then Tangier, then back south to Moulay Idriss and Marrakech, then back to Rabat for the Mawazine festival, then to Casablanca for a day and then I head home on the 26th! I am SO excited! Whoo!

In other news: So the day I had the best day ever (see previous post), Macarena messaged me and said, “Did you know our host dad has been in the hospital for the past few days?” SAY WHAT. Apparently he’d been in an accident earlier that week and had been in the hospital in Casablanca (where he works)! We rarely see him, so that’s why we didn’t really question his absence…but when Saida (our host mom) told Macarena that he’d been in an accident, we were both thinking, “Why didn’t you think to mention this before?!” In America this would have been mentioned the day it happened, not a few days after.

So, a few days later, we ask Saida, who simply was looking devastated, how Amine (host dad) was doing. She said he’s been in a coma. A COMA. Once again, holy smokes, but then on the other hand, why didn’t she mention it to us?! He’d been in a coma for TEN DAYS before she said anything and then only after we asked! Is that how Moroccan family dynamics work? Some people said yes, some said no.

But thankfully, Amine returned home to Rabat this past Friday. He’s still sick, but he’s doing better.

Which brings us to our next adventure in Moroccan family  life. Aya, our host sister, had been in Italy for all of the past week staying with her uncle (we think in part so she wouldn’t have to really know about her dad being in the hospital…yeah, we don’t know if she knew about that. Crazy!) and returned Saturday night. As I’m sitting eating bastilla with the family in the sitting room (Macarena is “asleep” in our bedroom), I see some usual and not so usual faces: Saida, Aya and Amine, and Nadia, one of Saida’s sisters. Nadia’s husband was there too. So were 4 children. Two very young ones (under 4), one around 8 years old, and another  who looked like he was 17. I hadn’t seen the kids before, but figured they must be Nadia’s kids.

Next day (this past Sunday, Mother’s Day), Macarena and I go out to pick up the ingredients for our American dinner feast for the night. We’d been promising for months to make a dinner, but only got around to it now. On the menu: chili con carne, mac and cheese, and corn on the cob (listen, we don’t have an oven so our options our kinda limited). We couldn’t find any corn, so we only did the chili con carne and mac and cheese.

At breakfast we had asked where the 17 year-old kid (name: Saif) lived. He said Italy and that he was visiting for two weeks. We figured, “Oh, he must be Aya’s cousin, because she was staying her uncle.” Logical conclusion.

As we’re preparing dinner, Aya wanders into the kitchen and we ask her, “Aya, how old is your cousin?”

Her response: “He’s not my cousin, he’s my brother.” 

WHAT?!?! We ask her, “Wait, he’s your brother?” “Yes!” “No, really, your brother?” “Yes!” Then we have an amusing pantomime act between her, Fatimazara and ourselves in which we learn that he is 23 and is the child from (we assuming) a previous marriage of Saida’s. He’s been living in Italy for the past 10 years.

We did some math. Saida is 40 (we know because we celebrated her birthday)…so that means she had him when she was 17. WHAT.

In any case, we now have a host brother we didn’t know about until this past Sunday. Yeah. Here’s a picture from Sunday with our meal. Counterclockwise from Macarena: Fatimazara, Saida, Saif, and Aya.

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