Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Staring Issue

Since I was a child the grown ups in my surroundings have always told me that it's impolite to stare and/or point a finger at someone. Why is that? I sat down to think about the reason behind this cultural taboo. Obviously a person that doesn't fit the socially accepted standards of look can, or can not (depending on that person's self esteem I suppose) lead to that person feel exposed and ridiculed. If on the other hand someone you just walked by is wearing a gorgeous dress or happens to have eight young children running around her feet I can't really come up with a good excuse to why it wouldn't be ok to look.

In Morocco things are of course different. You can sit on a bus and be aware of at least 3-4 people staring at you for God knows what reasons. And the thing is, in Morocco it's totally fine to stare, even at disabled people or those who look funny for whatever reason.

Throughout my travels I have learned to accept the fact that people stare at me and now it's not a big deal at all. But if the same thing would happen to, let's say a typical (maybe drunk) male in the street or in a pub, the poor starer might want to watch out if he wants to avoid hostile situations.

I find it funny how small things like this can be such a big issue if you're not aware of them and are in the wrong place at the wrong time. So my best advice to anyone who is planning to go on vacation somewhere is to look into the culture of your destination. Find out what social taboos there are and what certain noises can mean. Not too long ago I called (for fun) for my fiancé by making the sound "kssss kssss". Where I come from that's what you say when you want the attention of a cat. Little did I know that that very same noise means that you're a prostitute and want to attract a customer. Needless to say, I learned my lesson and is now saying "missss missss" whenever I want to call for the cats!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Update

So, things didn't go exactily as I had planned. The visa that I had planned to renew in Spanish Ceuta (in north Morocco) didn't get renewed. The border control said that since I had already prolonged my visa with three months I had to stay out of the country for one month before I could come back. A little panic struck and with only 4 days before my visa expired I managed to book a ticket out of the country, but once in the airport the passport control didn't want to let me through to the gates. They said that the visa extension wasn't valid! After some struggling, a few phone calls and angry looks I got through the control in the very last minute before the gates closed. A little confused I landed in cold cold Sweden (with a quick stop in London) and was met up by my dad and brother. Naturally it was great to see everyone, but it took a few days for my brain to land

I don't know if it was the stress or something else, but as I came back to Sweden my mysterious allergy got worse and now, almost a month later, I've been in and out of the emergency and is pumped up with a whole pharmacy of pills of various kinds. And because of this I can't go back to Morocco yet, since I don't have a car there and can't get to the hospital fast if needed. It. Sucks.

Sweden is as it's always been. Spring is coming, family intrigues are blooming and my face is swelling up like a balloon a couple of times per week. Morocco seems far away, almost like my life there is only a dream - a dream so good that you regret waking up. Thank god I have my family and my girls Anna and Frida. Whatever would I do without you!

I've started the countdown to Anna's wedding in June. I hope I get to go back to Morocco before then so I can buy myself a nice kaftan and the wedding present I've already chosen. I can't wait to see Anna in her wedding dress, taking the big step into the adult world!