Monday, February 06, 2006

first official breakdown???

Okay, so I think I'm finally really feeling the effects of culture shock...still love it here and want to spend more time in Morocco, but yesterday a couple from the States who I'd met in Malaga came with their daughter to Rabat. Seeing/talking to westerners for the first time in 10 days triggered a few emotions, never mind the fact that part of their reason for making the effort to see me was just to make sure I was doing okay and was taken care of. Gayle and I really hit it off back in Malaga and she sort of became this surrogate mom figure for me! Anyway, the hardest part about being here really hit me yesterday with full force. Because I'm a girl, it's not safe for me to be anywhere alone, which makes photography really difficult at times. My favourite times to take photos are just after the sun has risen and just before it sets...the light is perfect and the people are out and about coming to and from work, buying food, catching public transportation....I wish I had the freedom to make my own schedule so I could photograph during these times, but those times are when WE are coming to and from work and aren't really appropriate for whipping out a camera. Basically I am whisked from taxi to bus etc., as the masses push and shove their way through the streets...perfect time of day for pickpockets!!! Okay..sorry I'm rambling's just going to be one of those days...Anyway, like I said, no freedom to make my own schedule. And when the girls finish work either for the evening or the weekend, they stay at home indoors. As a western girl I am used to going wherever I want, when I choose, with whom I like (you know, within reason...I don't spend my nights hanging out in Vancouver's Downtown East Side)...and I pretty much have the freedom to make my own shooting schedule! On Saturday I asked if the girls ever took walks around the neighborhood and they looked at me like i was insane!!! The sun was shining and all I wanted to do was walk around the block, but it wasn't safe. However, I was allowed on the roof, so I went up their for about 15 minutes, but I mean, how long can you hang out on a roof full of laundry lines and satelite dishes? And so after no time alone, no way to photograph during my favourite times, and no westerners to talk to about it...I officially broke down. Plus yesterday was a completely overwhelming (but amazing) afternoon as I experienced a Moroccan baby shower. It's men and women and TONS of people and LOTS of food, but when the room exploded with dozens of people I didn't know, all speaking in a language I couldn't understand, I felt like Ian from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when they all rush at him at the Easter dinner. I sat on the couch and thought, 'i should be shooting this!!!' but literally was stuck in my seat, absolutely culture shocked and totally speechless. Any Moroccan I'd learned had taken the day off and my French was a total gonner. I swear I didn't leave that position for 10 minutes. Later as I eased into the atmosphere I did a lot of shooting which was amazing. I also connected with a 7-yr. old girl who's French was far superior to mine...but she had the patience to speak 'plus lentement pour moi'. Plus I think my body is starting to feel some of the effects of new eating regimes. Basically breakfast is really sweet and full of sugar and no my body is a bit shaky and unstable in the mornings...lunch is fine during the week...lots of meat, and then dinner is maybe some bread, yogurt, and a piece of fruit. The mother of the girls I live with came by and commented that I'd lost weight...she'd seen me shortly after arriving. I think that even though I'm eating so much bread, the smaller portions for breakfast and dinner have been taking their toll. Not that I want the bread to be helping me put on weight by any means (!) but I feel a bit nutritionally unbalanced and today very weak. But it's Monday and the guys will go for lunch again, however, I've told them I need something normal today!!!

Okay, I gotta run! Please pray for me...I'm truly doing wonderfully, but you know, there are always hard days and the last 24 hrs. have proven to be one of them!!! I sleep great though, and am nice and warm once I crawl in bed!!! All in all, life is great...can't really complain too much!! Plus being with the girls and not in a hotel with a guide and freedom to schedule my day enables me to understand what it's like for girls here...if I were in a hotel I'd be hoping to experience everyday life...maybe some great pics, but little understanding which is really more valuable!

Anyway, I'm about to go shoot and really just want to burst into tears, so if you could pray that I will have the stamina to put on a strong face and go out there, I'd appreciate it SO much!!!

"Because the Sovereign Lord helps me I will not be dismayed. Therefore I have set my face like a stone determined to do His will. And I know that I will triumph!" Isaiah 50:7


  1. Jaimes,
    I always look forward to reading your posts! It's 1:20 in the morning, gotta be up by 6, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to see what's happened in the last couple days. All I'm going to say is that maybe certain "situations" will open some previous communication barriers between you and Jacqui :)!! Haha, love you lots,

  2. Hey Jaimes

    Your trip sounds amazing! I love reading your posts, you have a knack for storytelling.

    Be encouraged...the first breakdown, from what I've heard (and experienced) is usually the hardest.

    Much love!



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