Of course, it's Morocco, so everything seems upside-down here, except the ocean. My example: last Monday, I was told I had packages from America. This is monumental around here because it seems to take 2 months at the least for packages to get here. We all do a little victory dance when packages arrive. I walked briskly to the office where one picks up packages, and I was told 2 people who had sent me packages had said they were worth $100 or more.
Customs spots these, and the gal went on to say, the customs officials ask for a heavy tax from the recipient when that kind of value is placed on the package. She also said the packages are often stolen if they have over $100 listed as the worth. So, I was rather taken aback, but decided to go get $1,200 dirhams for the two packages, hoping they had big gold bars or, at least, power bars in them. I gave her the money on Tuesday. She said the packages would come the next day.
I happily went Thursday to pick up my packages, having given the currier a generous one day leeway. I was told the packages had not been picked up, but they would be here tomorrow, Friday. I went late Friday to pick up the packages, again allowing for tons of time in my little mind, and I was told matter-of-factly by the same gal, "He only picks up packages on Monday and Wednesday. Your packages will be here next Wednesday." I was a little sullen. (I used to be really nice, I think to myself.) She asked if I wanted the $1,200 dirhams back over the weekend. I thought that might be going in the wrong direction, not sure.
I have actually given up ever receiving those packages, and maybe that is the beginning of getting out of one's comfort zone and being someplace better. I'll have to ask my pastor. Of course, I was not happy, felt like things were really weird around here. However, I can't change the system here. I can't find the post office; and I can't stand in line for 3 or 4 hours during the week to pick up the packages.
Why did she tell me the packages would be here Friday? "Saving face" is what they call it here. She was preserving her honor by giving me the hope of Friday being a day for packages. Friday comes, and she maintains her honor by telling me they are coming Wednesday.
That's why I go to the beach to settle my contorted brain down a bit. Yes, I am outside my comfort zone and hoping to understand life on this side of the world. Or, maybe, I should just enjoy the little meaningful conversations, and there have been some, in the midst of CULTURE SHOCK - Morocco, and total lack of comfort zone at least once every day! (Where's my copy of that book? I want to throw it!)