Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Pencil Sharpener and Moroccan Wine

Today, my life had two parts to it; the school part of the day, and the after school part of the day. This was the last day of planning before our students arrive. I worked feverishly on all kinds of organizational strategies. Artists have to work feverishly on organizational strategies, or at least it feels like that, because artists are not organized by nature. We are squiggly lines by nature. Think jumping bean in a cubicle. 

OK, so I spent hours on my bulletin boards after I poured over my rules for the classroom. Decorating my bulletin boards was so much more fun! I thought you might like to see my art room before everything begins. While I was decorating and designing, I played classical music being piped through iTunes via Venice. Yep, classics from Venice. I think the Moroccans trying to put in my classroom sinks just before school starts liked the music. Maybe?
There were lots of smiles.

Of course, the music came and went depending on whether the satellite was lined up properly with Morocco, but we heard most of it this morning. It got more spotty by the afternoon, so I changed to Jazz tunes from France. When not fiddling with my iTunes, I nailed down 3x5 cards so I could make cards with my students' names. By nailing down, I mean, I had to ask, beg, borrow and almost steal 3x5 flashcards from other teachers. The librarian saved the day when she came up to me with 100 3x5 flashcards from a teacher who did not come back this year. I sat with her a while basking in the glory.

Back in my classroom, I found my plan book, and I made a xerox copy of the first 4 weeks of my year - all planned out - yes, by me. I handed it in to the assistant to the elementary principal, and she said I was the first one to hand in my plan book pages. I was almost radiant when I returned to my room and saw a few men with all sorts of power tools. They did not speak a word, made huge amounts of noise, and when the dust settled, there was a real, live pencil sharpener on my art room wall! Miracle of Miracles!

Almost immediately after this miracle, another teacher ran in with an important looking document and said I needed to bring that to some finance guy, and I'd get paid. How kind of her to think of me and get that paper for me. I ran down to that office, well, walked quickly in this heat, and found him. He was enjoying some AC, and was happy to take my paper. He said I'd have direct deposit  next month; this month I get a check. 

The check was in another office. I raced calmly over to that office, signed my check and was told a currier would return in a day or so with cash for my check.  I am  hopeful I will see the cash because so many miracles occurred today. I'll let you know. When I returned, 2 freshly made chocolate chip cookies were on my desk from a fellow teacher, along with an encouraging note. Amazing! I popped them in my petite cuisine in my file drawer.

After school, Jill and I were determined to find some wine. We went to Label Vie, which is pronounced La Belle Vie, and I ran up to the first official looking guy I saw and asked, "Ou est le vin?" (Where is the wine?)  He said it was at another Belle Vie. Right. Well, as we finished up our shopping, we bumped into someone from HR who has been wonderfully kind to us. He said he'd drive to the store where we'd find some wine. (It is Ramadan and they don't sell it as a general rule. Muslims don't drink anyway.)

Our HR friend got us to the next grocery store, and I bolted in there as slowly as I could. I asked, "Ou est le vin, s'il vous plait?" They said it is Ramadan. I said I am American. (I wasn't going to quibble about whether all Americans drink or not or mention I had not had wine in a month.) One man took my passport, and another man led me to the back of the store, into a locked area...dark, wine spilled on the floor, and hard to read labels. I wondered if I'd ever see my passport again, and if wine was worth all this hassle. I quickly grabbed 2 different Moroccan red wines. I had no idea what I was getting, but I wanted to head back to my passport.

Yes, I got my passport back, and Jill and I got home and toasted another great and interesting day in Morocco. Salute! Of course, we dashed into our dear bakery right before it closed, so we had yummy things to eat with wine and couscous while the BBC came in and out on the TV.  I am well fed and safe. Tonight, I am thankful for a pencil sharpener and Moroccan wine, and much more. Yes, odd, bizarre stuff happens here every day, but Miracles are happening, too!
Cactus flowering outside our apartment

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