Recycling in the US means comforting sterility. Melting down plastic and then remaking an exactly similar bottle. I think the conventional wisdom here is that empty bottles (aka-garbage) hold deadly germs that put us at great risk of disease. But a strong hot wash with soapy water most likely kills everything that could be present. Moroccans, I found, had a very different definition of what it is to be dirty. In fact, most of what I saw, from cities to people, was very clean.
Our friends also took us to their local grain market where one can purchase all manner of bulk flours ground at different levels of coarseness. There dried beans, seeds, dried fruits and oils can also be procured. Whoa. This place rocked my world. For such little money, one can get all local goods. It was brilliant, I got teary eyed. There must have been 6 or 7 different vendors at this market, all selling much the same items. But in Morocco, it is all about who your know, getting to know the person selling your food, you know, personal relationships.
On Thursday, we had a truly typical American Thanksgiving (more on that tomorrow), but since everyone had to work and go to school, and no one else in the country was celebrating, it was anything but typical! And our last few days were really about staying local and relaxing with friends.
Unfortunately, the kids struggled a bit with all the changes. Sleep happened, but bedtime involved alot of screaming and fighting. While everyone ate reasonably well in the first part of the week, by the end of the week, we were down to bananas, toast and milk. Thing 1 was occasionally eating ground beef, and Thing 2 still accepted eggs. While I am thrilled to say that Thing 2 started really talking on this trip, I was irritated that what he learned to say was "No, No, No!" as he shook his head and pushed a fork full of food away. I am not sure if it was the big changes, the unfamiliarity or the stomach virus that eventually all the boys succumbed to (including DH once we got home). Thankfully after we returned to New York, eating recommenced.
This Thanksgiving I felt particularly thankful for dear dear friends, the kind that even an ocean and several months between visits can't turn into strangers. I am also particularly thankful that these same dear dear friends can put my whole crazy family up for a week, even when Thing 1 threw up on one couch cushion, had an accident on another, and I spilled a glass of wine on a third. I mean, what are we some kind of pack of wild animals? Although we are a handful, we do offer fun stories you can tell your friends.
This trip was an unbelievable opportunity to immerse ourselves in a different culture. The times I have been to Europe, I have always noticed a certain simpatico. American ideals of high culture are based upon the European model. Yet while Morocco is very European in feeling, much of their culture and architecture is very Arab influenced. And I think just about everyone here in the States could use a lesson what it means to be Muslim. I found the whole experience delicious, intoxicating, thought provoking and beautiful. The entire trip was a huge paradigm shift. It might be a while before we take another international trip with our kids. The trip home involved several hours of screaming from Thing 2 and a very rude woman who turned to me only halfway through our flight to say "You know, the next time you make travel plans, you should really consider other people." Really? Like I enjoy being trapped on a plane with a screaming one year old? I only wish that Thing 2 had thrown up on her after she was so rude that she made me cry on the plane, instead of waiting until after we got home. But hey, there ain't nothing like the view from the high road folks.