I hope that you all had a nice Christmas and will have a fun New Years! Jon and I were invited to spend New Years Eve with a couple of nearby volunteers, but because of a number of reasons we decided to decline. Besides, as it turns out it's a very rainy and foggy day, which isn't very good conditions for traveling on these mountain roads.
One of the reasons that we didn't want to go away was because we where supposed to look at a potential house for rent that our host mother found. We also talked with our counterpart and my tutor about potential houses. We're still waiting, but we have a whole month. That's what Jon keeps telling me! After 5 months of living out of a suitcase, finally having a place of our own will be like heaven.
Yesterday was Souk day. Jon and I finally took an inventory of all the things that we bought from the previous volunteer so that we would know exactly what we still needed to buy. We figured we could buy some of the smaller items little by little (like kitchen supplies and blankets), so that we wouldn't have to do it all at once when we move in. The only things we ended up buying yesterday was a tea pot and some glasses, but we also priced a lot of other items as well.
The thing about Souk is that it's cheap, but you're also expected to bargain on most items, especially the ones we're looking to buy (you don't bargain on vegetables for example, which are already at rock-bottom prices, unless you plan on haggling for a half an hour to save 6 cents). So we'll probably go over the prices we got with our family to determine if they are fair. It's very common for foreigners to be charged more for things, but we've found that people seem to be pretty fair in our small town, maybe because they don't see many foreigners, or maybe because they see us week after week.
At any rate, we like to go to the Souk just to see all the excitement. It's kinda like having a big festival in town every week. Any this week was even more exciting, there where more venders there than we had ever seen. That's because they're getting ready for a holiday called Eashura. We can give more details about the holiday later, but part of it involves giving gifts to children and playing small drums. Therefore, there where tons of venders who sold either the drums or the small plastic toys (the really chintsy stuff found at a dollar store). We saw a few of these drums the other day when our family got some out from years past. they're made out of ceramic and some sort of skin for the part you beat. We bought somewhat large and very nicely painted drum at the Souk, only to find that our family had also bought one for us! So now we each have one. Of course they proclaimed that the bigger one was Jon's. Anyway, it was a beautiful day for the Souk and we had a great time looking around.
So this past week I decided to have a little fun and make an outfit for Blue Bear. It didn't really take very long, I worked on it a little at a time in the evening mostly. I started with the sweater first but then decided that he needed a hat (well, Jon was strongly encouraging me to make a hat too). I thought the pointy design with the tassel looked very Moroccan, since pointy is all the rage here and tassels can be found on many Jellabas (but usually women's I think). As usual, I made up the design myself, not that any patterns would exist for this particular bear anyway. Designing is the part that is most fun for me. And look at how happy Blue Bear is to have a warm outfit for the winter!
Happy New Year!
emily and jon