Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vacation time!

Justin and I have only been teaching for a month, and now with our students' winter break comes a 2-week vacation. If the pace of life in Morocco is wrong, I don't want to be right!! 

We are happy to have the break, though - It's been an adjustment jumping into the role of a teacher. Each night, we scramble to review the lessons from that day and to adjust and create new lesson plans based on the students' progress. We are teaching 7 different kinds of classes: Beginner Adult, Beginner Kids, Beginner High Schooler (Moroccans study English in high school), High School English Exam prep (high schoolers here take a major exam at the end of their last year - like an SAT on steroids - and English is a big part of it), Intermediate, Homework Help, and Advanced Speaking. While some of those classes have similar lesson plans, we have to adjust the content and nature of the lesson for each audience, and of course, make sure we know how to say it in Moroccan Arabic! Needless to say, it's been a little nuts but our students are all very patient and respectful and we are learning just as much (if not more) than they are! 

Other than catching up on lesson plans, I'm trying to spend more time working on new recipes in the kitchen - recent successes have been falafel, tortillas, lentil chili, and cornbread (all fully from scratch!). I'm planning soon to put up a page on the blog detailing my cooking extravaganzas, so keep an eye out for that. 

And next week, we will travel to Mehdiya (northeast of Rabat, just on the coast) for a week of training with the Peace Corps - we'll be reviewing the things that we have learned in the few months in our community, and beginning to talk about future projects that we may want to implement. I'm looking forward to the chance to step back and think a bit more about my goals for the upcoming two years, and a change of scenery for a few days will be nice too!

Those are all the updates for now! Enjoy the below photos, from a recent excursion to the nearby countryside with our Moroccan friends (notice the essentials for any Moroccan picnic - tea (a lot), bread (even more), and don't forget your drums, or a device that can double as a drum). And Justin and I spent an afternoon being tourists in Rabat last week, which was a fun change!

our friends leading us into the countryside..
you can't see it, but at least 3 drums are being carried along!
Surprisingly the area was full of people. We found out that people were trying to hunt
wild boars (not to eat, just to kill). Didn't know that they had them in Morocco, and enjoyed
watching people spending the whole afternoon running back and forth after these guys.
Important Moroccan picnic items: Don't forget your tea glasses, your teapot,
your tajine pot, 10 loaves of bread, and a pound or so of sugar :)
Tajine success! Pretty impressive for cooking over a fire... beats my Girl Scout days!
Justin and I pose in the countryside
And the last important element of the Moroccan picnic is
the drum - any object that you can beat on will do!
Justin and I touring Rabat - this is the door to the Kasbah.
I love having the guy in the photo to get a sense of how big it is!
Inside the Kasbah. To me it looks like pictures I've seen of Santorini in Greece!
the water! Justin looks out in the direction of New York (we think) :)

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