Wednesday, August 29, 2007

a Christmas letter from the Maghreb

Christmas Eve 2006, 24 December

We arrived in September and wilted. I am still trying to digest the realization that was the “Fall heat”, the heavy duty stuff is yet to be seen – come June 2007 we may be requesting shipments of ice packs.

Q has made some wonderful friends here in the Villa and has had many adventures. The DOD did her a wondrous favour and sent along a few of its Finest. One of whom (Captain, Special Forces Marine Corp) recognized her core of steel and announced it to the group; the other two found her beautiful, compassionate, and a good friend. All in all an exercise in raising the self esteem of a brainy twenty-two year old who did not think she was pretty, to new (and deserved) heights.

We both made some new friends, and met some people with whom we would otherwise have never been in close proximity. On 10 December there was a mass exodus for home, which left us and Sally the Australian. We expect the next group and the return of ‘the English’ and Gorgeous Norwegian Guy on 8 January 2007.

I have made significant strides in my writing, my second purpose for coming here. I joined a “writer’s group”, submitted four stories for consideration for publication, and had a wireless conference with a NY agent in regards to the non-fiction book. I am in-process with putting together a query for New York, and in the thrall of a new novel while still working on the one I have going.

We have both, in our own ways, adjusted to life in Morocco. Q is working hard in both her classes at the school, and the private tutoring for translation of Arabic literature. She is getting that ‘thing you get’ when you see a deadline looming – all the Fulbrighters are to present a paper on their work in Rabat come March. We have both learned the Medina quite well enough to navigate our way about. We have had to make the adjustment that even though she no longer needs a “parent”, I am still her Mother, tricky business but we are navigating the waters of living together after having lived apart – and one of us in the interim grew up!

Christmas in Morocco is quiet for us. Q picked up her present in Casablanca a few days ago – A. has arrived. Susie came down from Tangiers last night and will be staying until Tuesday and Sally is here. We are all going to Palais De Fes for a big lunch tomorrow, and the children will be cooking some special goodies for a Christmas dinner. I will pay for the first and show up for the second – my contribution.

The weather since the last of October has been spectacular! Endless blue skies, cool days, and lots and lots of lush green everywhere you look.

My head has been pretty good, just popping up crap at all the wrong times; albeit I am not sure when is a good time for that much pain..

We are planning on leaving Fez in May, as the heat that arrives in June is not bearable. Most likely we shall evac out to Rabat and take over one of the apartments from a Fulbrighter who is leaving to go home – I hope, that will work out well.

AIM is iffy on my computer as the connection (which I am simply thrilled to have!) is not dependable. I have been really at the writing! I have set myself a schedule and a goal of ten pages each day. In the New Year I will strive to be better.

Oh my goodness! I can smell the homemade Raisin Hermit cookies! Bugger, no eggnog for me this year! I doubt even Q in her various languages could explain that one to them! That is a funny picture. I shall miss my Christmas cookies and eggnog, but most of all I shall miss having them with you, along with one of our late night discussions after all else are abed.

Q and A are having a great time. Q is enjoying her role as tour guide and interpreter. They are happy to see each other, and all seems well. 4 January they are leaving for Tangiers (to visit Susie who is here now), then Rabat to visit Pam, then Marrakech to visit someone else – which is great and will save them lots of cash on hotel bills. They are then going to rent a car and visit Ensoura which is wonderful as A wanted to “go to the desert”, oh yea that made me feel that my only child would be snug and safe! Thank goodness, Q decided Ensoura was a better idea.

The writing is really great, but terrifying. I mean what if it is awful? What if no one will publish it? If they publish it, what if no one buys it? It is so nebulous. If the guy from NYC agrees to represent me and sell the “Letters from Fez” non-fiction, that will really set the way. The one thing that is certain is that it is great fun, and unbelievably difficult.

I had A bring me the camera I had ordered, as the bloody shipping was over a hundred dollars!! I didn’t want to buy a new camera, but the agent said the book will need photos, and the ones from Q’s point of view – well that is just another point of view. So I will click away tomorrow and send you our Christmas photos. It is pretty cool, very tiny and chic.

I am going to end as I have not been out of my room in a couple of days! Thought I would take a walk around the Medina this afternoon, see if my new djellaba is ready at the seamstress. I have to get the other one from the cleaners – oh get this; I took two of Q’s sweaters in a couple of weeks ago, three dollars for two sweaters! Three dollars, you believe that?

I am done nursing my sore back from the fall – I thought the box Q was looking for was atop the armoire so I stood the rickety chair at the side and looked, no joy. As I was stepping down the legs of the chair buckled. The chair went flat and skidded out toward the bed. I fell down and onto the wooden Koran holder, which was holding my DVDs and the hit busted it. The action of hitting the wooden stand snapped my head forward instead of back into the wall where it was headed. My right arm was flung out toward the wooden arm of the settee where I had set the paper box with the rest of my leggos. Thankfully, again, my arm hit the box which sent all the teeny pieces of the kit flying but prevented my arm from cracking on the wood. As the wooden stand splintered it slid forward, again pulling me away from the wall. When I came to myself and regained control I was able to pull myself from the morass without serious injury. Inshallah.

Happy Christmas to all!


jmb said...

HI Lady Mac,
I noticed on Pageflakes that you had posted over here.

This is quite the different mass Christmas letter (which I assume it was). I thought you were still looking for an agent. Did the fellow in NY not work out? You are a good writer, it will all work out in the end.

Anonymous said...

I second that motion!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Great post, Lady M. I felt I was right there with you, but then, I always do.