Friday, July 09, 2010

Moroccan Memories

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Remember I mentioned that my older son would be attending Arabic Language and Culture camp this summer? Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, I just prayed my son would enjoy himself and not hate the experience. I mean it was free after all. Suffice it to say, somebody heard my prayers. My son, the boy who shows about as much enthusiasm for school and most extra-curricular activities as a possum playing dead, loves Arabic camp. He comes home singing his Arabic songs and spouting off phrases like 'I would like a banana please," in Arabic. His pronunciation and accent is amazing, although I'm no expert, but he sounds really good. Because of the heat wave the campers haven't even been allowed outside, and still my son comes home exuberant and excited about his art, poetry, and percussion classes. He did insist that I stop calling it camp though. "It's really more like school," he informed me after the first day.

So, he's happy. And I'm totally stoked. I found out my son's language teacher is Moroccan. And for those of you who haven't read my riveting memoir, I lived in Morocco for a summer as an exchange student, so I always linger at drop off and chat with the teacher and relive all of my Moroccan memories and try to recall my 10-word Moroccan vocabulary. If it wasn't so ridiculously hot here in Philly right now, I'd be dusting off my Moroccan cookbook and trying to recreate some of my favorite meals from that time in my life. It really is amazing how hearing Arabic spoken again and meeting young children with names like Jasmine and Merriem (the same names as my host sisters in Casablanca) can transport me back in time.

The funniest thing about the whole camp experience is how much my son "fits" in with the other Arabic kids. In fact, one of the teachers asked my son if his father was Moroccan. In the mix at the camp, my son seriously blends in and I kind of wonder if that's why he's so happy there. I don't really care, of course. I'm just thrilled for this rich cultural experience.

Now of course, both kids want to go to Morocco. It's a short boat ride from El esposo's home in the south of Spain, so I say, let's do it! It's time to make some new Moroccan memories. Has anybody travelled to Morocco recently with kids? How was it? Please share.


Oh, P.S. We have a new blogger over at Sam, a former student of mine of African-American and Lithuanian descent, is going to be keeping the conversation alive about identity politics, perogies and pork rinds and mixed-race identity on our blog, so please check in on Mixie Mondays and say hello. Thanks.


Ola said...

I don't have any personal experience with Morocco but I just watch a series on LinkTV (an independent channel i think you'd loooove)called "Future Express" and the episode was called "Morocco: love and Sneaky Sex". Basic premise is a train ride through 26 countries and getting to know the world. Here is the link.

Hopefully you could find the Moroccan epi.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's stupendous! A few weeks ago, I discovered you and your book on the Barnes and Nobel site, and shortly afterward I discovered your amazing blog. I was even more intrigued to find that you've written books, seeing that I am a very avid reader. To my surprise I found your book 'Substitute Me' in the latest Essence magazine! Great reviews and all. Just thought I'd share that information with you in case you're unaware. Looking forward to reading your book and more stories here on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Aww, that is amazing. I went to mostly white schools growing up and I NEVER felt like I belonged or fit in. Looking back, I realize how important it is for a child to feel like they belong. I hope your son continues to love it!

evelyn.n.alfred said...

That's cool that your son is enjoying the camp/school.

On a totally different note, I saw this documentary of these high school kids in Philly who work hard to get culinary scholarships for college. It's called Pressure Cooker. You might like it, it's on Netflix instant queue if you wanna check it out.

LT said...

Thanks for the link I'll check it out.

Thank You! And welcome to the Meltingpot. I hope you'll keep visiting.

You are so right about kids wanting to fit / blend in. I know i didn't feel that way until i moved to NYC. That was an amazing experience.

You know I heard about pressure cooker, but I didn't know it was in philly. I'll def, check it out.

Waiting for Zufan! said...

How cool is that! I would love to go to Morocco, too. Someday...

SweetKinks said...

I'm still jealous of your Spain relations. I wish to visit there sooner or later.

I hope you son enjoys camp. Is language something he was always interested in? Because it will take him ridiculous far.

LT said...

Let's do it!

I think my son is just good with language b/c he's being raised bilingually. I'm completely amazed by his abilities.