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.