This post will be without pictures, but needs to be written. I am very happy to be back here in Sefrou with Hanane. It’s a bit surreal, but not for the reasons you might think.
Here’s the thing. When I left Morocco, I felt just a bit persecuted. Maybe it’s the wrong word. I felt like a foreigner, I felt a bit threatened. In the Medina, I always felt as if I were going to be robbed, walking down the street, I always felt a bit of a threat, especially with Hanane by my side. I felt as if everyone was out to get something from me. It’s hard to explain. I was a stranger in a strange land.
And now, returning. I just don’t care a god damn bit about that. I don’t care if I stick out like a sore thumb, I don’t care if someone takes the last money out of my pocket, I don’t care if I get the shit kicked out of me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want bad things to happen, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I felt a lot of fear before, and now, it is gone.
It feels good. I wind through the narrow alleyways of the Medina with my friend Yassine well after dark and dance with Hanane in the moonlight on the dirt road in front of her house. In the process, I am meeting with old friends, making exciting new friends, and I can tell you, I am happy to be here.
Of course, not everything is peaches and cream. The flies are out in massive force. There are still hostile stares as Hanane and I walk hand in hand. And her family…
On the one hand. I love these people. Her sisters and brothers, mother and father. Her sister Fatima met a Belgian man online and is trying to rush through the marriage process with him.
Hanane and I were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to notify the police and file the paperwork that says I am her fiance and am staynig with her family. Personally, I think the whole process will unfold like this.
However, I can’t keep staying with her family, so I am going to rent a small apartment in the Medina. Her family and the law have no problem with me being here, but seriously, I will become insane if I do. It is a constant state of activity and thus impossible to actually do anything. While I love Hanane’s mom, she is completely inefficient in her time management and as head of household she pushes this inefficency onto her daughters. Instead of starting and completing one task, the de facto method is to start twenty tasks and finish none of them and thus leave everything in a complete and total state of chaos. Before the floors are all washed the process of washing the floors must begin again because it was interrupted by the process of cooking lunch, visiting with friends, doing laundry, and more. They are having the interior of the house painted. The painter comes at night to paint one room. Yesterday he was to paint Hanane’s which is the defacto storeroom for the entire family so Hanane and I moved everything including the big cabinets, the books, everyone’s clothes (too many clothes…) and about 1000 blankets to the salon. Hanane also spent the whole day doing laundry while her sister’s galivanted around Sefrou.
Then in the evening, Hanane and I went out to meet with friends and when we returned we learned that Mohammad, her brother used the rest of the paint at his house so the panter showed up and there was no paint and since Fatima’s engagement party is today the Salon needed to be cleaned and everything from the room was in it so we had to move everything back into the room and we will have to move it back out again soon and meanwhile the laundry is piling up again and …and… and…
And for some reason, and to be honest, perhaps it’s even a bit why I fell in love with my little Cinderella, her mother and sisters expect Hanane to do everything! Here she is, the only person in her family with a university degree, the only person who is capable of actually completing anything, and really, the only person who isn’t stuck in this cycle of poverty mentality and while her one sister meets with her boyfriend and spends money but has no job, and her other sister is married off to a man she has known only one week, and her mom comes in to yell, and her father is probably sipping a little wine while he tends the sheep, and the woman who bought the furniture, the computer, the television, and paid for nearly everything else that is nice here, is treated like a servant girl, yelled at, and made to work like a mule.
Frankly, it makes me livid with rage. And so, I have to get an apartment of my own and when I get the marriage papers, I will bring Hanane with me, and then, I will take her away from her family because she is a loyal daughter and if we stay in the same town, she will still allow them to treat her badly although, once we are married, I won’t let her. Instead, I will laugh as the laundry piles up, the rugs stay rolled up and the floors wet, and when the computer breaks because no one is there to put the screws in the desk in tightly and it falls to the floor, we will not replace it.
For the moment, all I can do is laugh out loud when Hanane’s mom comes and yells, but in not too long, I will steal their treasure and leave them wishing they had treated it better.