My acclimation to Mytown is taking longer than I had anticipated. When I mentioned this to a woman at the bus station, she peered at me over her glasses and explained that I shouldn’t just be friendly to everyone I meet because there is no reason to trust them. You have to grow your friend base slowly and carefully, she said. Continue reading Welcome to Mytown
This tomato-based soup is a classic North African dinner, served especially in the winter and during Ramadan. Although unfamiliar as a dish, you might find something familiar in the mild, comfortable flavor. Harira tastes like a food I grew up with, even though I didn’t. Continue reading Recipe: harira
We approached what we hoped was the bus stop, our suitcases rattling along behind and a disgruntled (and tipsy) beggar peering after us. Since disembarking the ferry, we were well aware that we were in foreign territory once again. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Spain anymore!” Continue reading Some ups and downs of language learning
I wanted to hold on to some of those moments. I tried to savor them while they lasted, but when I look back, their ghostly flavor still lingers in my mind, proof that I never finished tasting them. Continue reading When in North Africa- Part 2
Last year, a fellow immigrant in Spain asked me to visit her when she went back to her country for the summer. I didn’t.
But this year I did. Continue reading When in North Africa- Part 1
“He’s dying,” she says, /
As life seeps away /
In voiceless submission /
Of what it was taught, / Continue reading “He’s dying,” she says
There was still no glimmer of light between the slats of the blinds.
From the street below came the familiar creak of the neighbor’s metal garage door and the roar of the box truck. Greenhouse work doesn’t rest. A passing car dropped off noisy teenagers who were still on a high from their night-long partying. Continue reading Just a normal day
The last two nights of my North African sleep were interrupted by an unsettled rooster in a concrete courtyard just over the wall. At 4 a.m., I began to envision a warm bowl of rooster noodle soup. Just a room away, Erika was preparing to brandish her shiny knife set. Continue reading Would I do this trip again?: North Africa part 5
“Can I have your phone number?” The taxi driver didn’t waste much time. Continue reading Bargaining and boxing class: North Africa part 4
Chaimae’s hug was long and tight, trying to make up for the year and a half of missed embraces. Her mother gave me the same hug. They led me into the salon, not the fancy one for guests, but the family salon that doubled as a bedroom. I wasn’t a guest; I was still family. Continue reading Words were more than just words: North Africa part 3