Verbs of Ending

As an ingenious method of procrastination during finals, I decided to compile a list of the top ten things I’ve learned this semester. These aren’t the academic topics I’ve studied (and therefore had nothing to do with finals). Rather, they are some of the cultural truths I’ve encountered while studying in Morocco. True to form, don’t expect too much deep philosophizing.

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned

  1. I’ve learned that watching TV is healthier than sitting alone and studying. At least, that’s what my host mother insisted with a look of great concern. Hello, three hours of Turkish soap operas.
  2. I’ve learned that catsup is a versatile and subtle sauce fit for all dishes. How else do you explain the availability of catsup-flavored chips, catsup-and-kefta sandwiches, and Lays dipped in left-over McDonald’s sauce?
  3. I’ve learned that flip flops can be worn with socks and even more importantly, I’ve learned that there’s no shame in wearing said combination when the house is 7 degrees Celsius, water is coming in under the door, and my toes are about to fall off.
  4. I’ve learned that I speak French, despite all indications to the contrary. After all, if everyone believes it, then it must be true.
  5. I’ve learned that taxis are useful, taxi drivers are crazy, and if you ever step into a little blue car and the man in the front seat says in rapid French, speaking around the suspiciously fat joint hanging from his lip, that you should “not be afraid,” you should in fact be very much afraid.
  6. I’ve learned that sometimes, despite your feminist instincts rising within you, you’ve just got to submit to being lip-sticked in public by a neighbor-woman who feels deep concern for your future. After all, you won’t get a husband if you go walking around like THAT!
  7.  I’ve learned that public libraries have better security than national borders. After all, the library metal detectors are actually on and the guards actually take your bags away.
  8. I’ve learned that the only thing better than attending a ten-hour Moroccan Wedding is watching the wedding DVD in fast-forward. You are invited to imagine the hours of elderly ladies dancing and clapping… at double speed. And don’t forget to appreciate the groom’s chipmunk-like laughter now and then.
  9. I’ve learned that time is not a limited commodity. In fact, it exists in absolute and unlimited abundance for anyone who thinks that it does.
  10. And finally, I’ve learned that there are at least six verbs in Modern Standard Arabic that all mean “to finish, end, or complete.” Because we would hate to be redundant, now wouldn’t we? So, allow me to say that the semester doesn’t just end. It becomes completed, it finishes, it draws to a close, and finally, it passes away. Thank you, Arabic synonyms, for never leaving me speechless. Morocco, on the other hand, has a tendency to do just that.