Saturday, September 25, 2010
I could see and smell the Juicy Fruit gum as she sat across from me in my house and talked about her trials and tribulations since arriving in Fes. I had been instructed to extol the virtues of Morocco and one Moroccan in particular as she was here to get married.
She met her intended on Facebook and they fell in love, even though he spoke no English and she no Darija. Even though he is at least 35 years her junior and they relied exclusively on the translation feature on their computers to communicate.
Left alone with her I learned she sells beds in the states but her real love is Zumba, the latest aerobic/salsa dance craze. She herself is an instructor and she told me she liked the definition of the muscles on her new love as photos were exchanged across the ocean and the continental U.S. She envisions teaching him to be a Zumba instructor in the States and she was here to arrange his visa. For a while the conversation was “Zumba-this” and “Zumba-that”.
Her entry into Morocco had not been without challenges as she was plucked in the middle of a lively Moroccan household and promptly got sick from drinking tap water. The lack of privacy and the excess of food didn’t sit well with her either. She seemed a bit unyielding to me but no one can be expected to show their best side after 30 hours of travel and such an immediate and strong dose of culture shock.
So I gave her the benefit of the doubt and tried to tell her to take her time. I wanted to impress upon her that she couldn’t possibly know how deep the differences are between our cultures nor find the clarity to assimilate them without the benefit of time and a healthy amount of patience. I cited a few examples from my own experience here. I asked her not to repeat my warning as I had been asked only to say positive things and this might not be received in the manner intended. She said she understood and was soon gathered up to return to her fiancé’s home.
The next day a phone call came. It was said I had told her Moroccans are ‘stealers’ and altogether bad.
What the hell!?
When pressed, she admitted I had said no such thing but that I had asked her not to repeat my words and this, she reported, didn’t sit well with her.
So much for trying to help.
And so, Miss Zumba, I think it best that you turn around and go back where you came from. I can’t begin to imagine what will transpire if you spend an entire month here. And while I am biting my tongue and refraining from issuing strong warnings to the Moroccan family that is increasingly bewildered by your behavior, I won't say another word as I have learned my lesson about dispensing advice to people I don't know. I only hope the next foreign bride-to-be that arrives full of hope and romantic notions doesn't come knocking at my door.
Posted by Water Dragon at 1:10 PM