Sick! Oh, and Music

I’m only kind of sick but its still irritating. I had a stomachache all morning and now I have a splitting headache. The original plan was to take a nap as soon as I got home from school, but I have an Arabic midterm that I need to study for (the test is Wednesday) and a 5 page paper also due Weds that I was unaware of. LAME… but such is school. I am thinking back fondly upon the days when summer break was really just for relaxing. I’m talking about the days before summer school and for that matter, summer jobs. Can I be 16 again?

Anyway, time to study Arabic. There is so much I don’t know, but the amount of words I’m given each night are really way too many to learn in such a short time.

Anyway today, for part of our class, we visited a recording studio and the producer there gave us small lecture about Moroccan music–traditional stuff and modern stuff. We watched a video by my prof’s niece Nabyla (who, according to the lecturer is one of the only distinctly Moroccan artists to achieve mainstream popularity here–most popular Moroccan artists are hip-hop). Moroccan music has influenced musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and yes, Led Zeppelin!

Here’s a video that my computer won’t play for me (javascript is having issues and I am none too pleased about it) but this is one song in particular he was talking about today influenced by Moroccan music.

Lack of Update

I really don’t want to miss a day of updating, but I always feel lame and cheap if I just put something (such as this) so as to “update” with my lack of anything to say.

Today for class we went to the archaeological museum, which had a lot of interesting things but kind of seemed like it’d been built in the 1970s and not updated since. Not that I was around in the 70s. But I guess I’ve gotten spoiled by going to really cool museums in the US that are all about fancy lighting and laser security systems and two inch thick glass and stuff. I mean there were these skeletons, a couple of the earliest complete skeletons found in the region, and if I had a mind to I could have reached down into the enclosure and touch them. Obviously this was out of the question, but a layer of vaccuum-sealed 2 inch glass would have made it even more out of the question.

I most certainly was not supposed to take this picture. Sneaky sneaky, flash set to "off!"
I most certainly was not supposed to take this picture. Sneaky sneaky, flash set to "off!"

The thing I found most interesting about the museum was the huge quantity of Roman artifacts found in all corners of Rabat. It really drove home to me how wide the span and influence of the Roman Empire really had been. I mean, you think about it in Europe and it sounds normal enough. Famous stories of Romans in Egypt, sure. Israel? Of course. But Morocco? More surprising and interesting, I think.

Similarities and Differences

Arabic is getting easier! Notice I said “easier,” not “easy.” Its still hard. Boo. I learned my numbers 1-10, now I just have to learn how to write them. (I can write my name though: سنئسئ) I am getting better at recognizing random letters in words, say, as we drive (but generally i’m focusing on what the cars around us are doing. More on driving at a later date–hopefully with a video to follow). The big news with Arabic is that tonight for homework I am writing sentences. Actual sentences! Hopefully I can wrap my brain around the grammar and agreements and stuff and write even MORE sentences in the future!

What else is there to report? I’m trying to keep this away from a daily “I did this and this and then this” because that’s really just fluff at this point.

Oh, here’s a deep thought… today in class we talked about “Orientalism” which you may be familiar with if you’ve taken an University humanities class in the past 10 years… anyway, its basically a really complicated way of saying that Westerners put “others” into stereotyped categories, showcasing how different the “others” are in quaint and antiquated ways… I hope that my blog doesn’t do this, and if I do, I’m sorry. Really, there are more similarities than there are differences here. Obviously I’m on the internet daily, and the apartment I’m staying in is spacious, and people here can speak two or three languages–they definitely have most Americans beat on that subject… Everyone has cell phones… Maybe this would have been different ten or even 5 years ago but Morocco isn’t as different as I expected it would be. I don’t really feel like I’m in Africa. Physically I am on the continent but the city and society I’m in doesn’t fall into the thought most Americans have of “Africa” as this mysterious, mystical place of civil wars, voodoo and naked children. There’s more to the country than that!!! That’s all the deep thoughts I’ve got for now I think.

gorgeous sunset I snapped from my bedroom window!
gorgeous sunset I snapped from my window!

Tomorrow: expect a little info about my experience at a  turkish bath!