Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lead up to Shana Tova/Eid Mubarak

So this doesn't happen every year, in fact it only happens once every dozen years or more. As Rosh HaShana ebbs away, Eid Al-Fitr begins. And they might even have fallen on the same day, since Muslims still do the old-school-check-the-moon-to-determine-the-beginning-of-the-month thing. Implications: Ramadan is over, and I have two more days of weekend! So its off to Marrakesh tomorrow morning. My roommate and I are getting up at 4:45am to catch a 5:45 train and sleep on it for its 4-hour duration. We're staying until tomorrow night and we'll get to see Eid in action instead of sitting on our Jewish mother's balcone in Rabat.

This Rosh HaShana held not a few incidents that bear recording in this blog. I will begin chronologically, from last Sunday. It was a rough week.

I spent Sunday at the Oudais -- that wonderful garden area overlooking the sea. Lisa and I sat there for 3 hours or so during which time a parade of beautiful little girls and their grandfathers meandered through. I guess its the thing to do when you're a grandfather.

Uneventful. Gym was normal. Nice.

I got a cold.

WEDNESDAY: I woke up in a blur of haze and daze, but I went to the gym after class anyway because, well, I'm paying for my 20 minutes of cardio three times a week, and I better get my money's worth. But I was miserable. I had planned on taking it easy, but of course I worked myself pretty hard and then by the time musculation rolled around I was feeling like death. But I picked up my bedraggled body and did the musculation, and I did it well. But then, as I was coming back I was looking down to get a tissue, and I walked straight into a barbell. I heard a CRACK, saw black and doubled over, thinking I'd broken my nose. I hadn't. But I did have a nice black eye and cut on the bridge of my nose for a couple days. I made up a good story about how Musculation Man tried to punch a creeper who followed me to the gym but punched me instead. Everyone bought it. But I couldn't keep it up for long. I wasn't in good shape.

I was very sick. But I came to class anyway, and I even gave a presentation on one of the readings. I went home, ate some of Baria's weird barley soup to try and clear my sinuses, failed to clear them, got a fever (100.9 F. Baria was worried. I thought I had swine flu), and stayed in bed instead of going to the art gallery show with the rest of AmidEast. Cry.

I was better, but the sickliness was sticking around so while Lisa went to the gym I passed out on the wicker chairs outside, ripped my pants on the wicker, and crinked my neck from holding it the for too long in a position one might think was inspired by Picasso. When we got home we showered and got ready for the Chag, and went to shul -- which had fewer women, but maybe triple the men than it does on a normal Friday night.

Oh, forgive me for the pause, but I need to interject here with a short list of strangely awkward, and necessarily bizarre things I have (on occasion forced myself to) consume in the recent past.
From least gross to grossest:
1) Tea made from "Verveine" (French) or "Quisu" (Arabic), a dried plant substance that Baria told me would be good for my "Grippe" (cold). A spot of saccharina, and I was ready for bed.
2) 1,000mg Acetaminophen soluble tablets. Baria insisted I take at least 3 a day. One with every meal. I probably dissolved 7 or 8 of these huge tablets in about a half a cup of water, brace, chug, wince, and hope I'd feel better.
2) A tiny applypear fruit that is apparently very expensive and only eaten once a year - Rosh HaShana.
3) Orange juice that had the distinct aftertaste of gasoline. I was at Bert's and I swear it tasted like neft (Arabic/Hebrew for the stuff you put in your tank). I was just trying to a good dose of Vitamin C! Like I said, it was a rough week.
4) Glan (French pronounced "Glon(d)") AKA Blota (Arabic) - its a sort of tasteless nut thing that comes from a tree. We had to peel it and somehow consume it while pretending to enjoy it.
5) Sausage - we actually ate intestine-encased ground beef on Tuesday after watching Baria deep fry them. It made me feel feel...viciously and sickeningly carnivorous.
6) Liver? I don't know whether or not I ever actually ate this - but I saw Baria preparing it in the kitchen. She took huge chunks of the raw stuff, sat them on top of a grill that sat on top of a flame that sat on top of a propane tank. But it didn't show up anywhere in our meals that I could detect...My new spy novel is to be dubbed: "The Mystery of the Disappearing Grilled Liver".
7) Lamb Brain - "Only on Rosh HaShana". They had the ENTIRE head of lamb ("Rosh Keves" insisted Jakob) on a plate at the table. And we ate the brain. Let me repeat: WE ATE THE BRAIN OF A LAMB.

I don't have the energy after that list - and I can imagine that you don't either - to write about the actual night/day/night/day that was my Rosh HaShana in this post. Stay tuned for Part Deux. For now, based on my mood of the moment: Gravity, by Embrace.


  1. so basically what you're saying is moroccan host family is just like albanian relatives for holidays. because albanians eat lamb brains and crazy teas too!

    sorry to hear you are having such a rough week shev :( hope the new year goes better!

  2. Oh. My goodness. Shev, I miss you, and your antics. I hope by now you're feeling better! I love these updates!