I believe we are all feeling the Moroccan Time warp right now, we have been here just over a week yet it feels like a lifetime ago that we were sitting on our couches at home sipping un-sweetened tea and munching peanut butter and jellies. Fortunately, with Eid al-fitr yesterday came the end of Ramadan and the beginning of an era where we can eat and drink during daylight without the slightest twinge of guilt. Eid is also a holiday that emphasizes families getting together. I live with an old married couple who have raised seven children and played with many more grandchildren. So, as my family often does on Christmas or Thanksgiving, everyone got together at the grandpartents house and I had a chance to really observe a close-knit moroccan family who was completely comfortable with my presence (probably mostly because they knew I couldn't understand a word of their rowdy discussions unless one of the grandchildren explained it to me in French). So instead of listening to the words being said, as I would have at my house, I just sat back and watched the families physical interactions. In doing so I discovered that apart from the various djellabs, headscarves, shoes that are always worn in the house, and food, my family and this Fessian family, are almost exactly alike.
In this family, as in my family, there is the littlest grandchild at a year and a half will do almost anything, including attempting to climb stairs the same size as her, to keep up with the older grandchildern. The next oldest, at two and a half, was doing laps around the center room attacking all the oldest grandchildren trying to snag the cards they are playing with, then continuing the laps knocking anyone who is small enough out of the way. When it came time for dinner he sat in his grandfather's lap sipping orange soda and munching on the chicken that he was given. He then stood up and snatched the white hat that men where to pray off his grandfather's head and placed it on his own. I then watched as the oldest and most patient grandchildren gave airplane rides to all the little ones again and again. Yes I was stunned as they lifted the little kids off the ground the same way I remember being lifted when I was that little. As we work up the ages there was the grandchild that was so desperate for attention it came off as a little less than adorable and she ended up unhappy until an older grandchild took pity and wrested with her for a while. I continued to observe as the next to oldest grandchild playfully joked with all the older men and was the first to laugh at a joke. Her older sister would look on with that I'm-wiser-than-you smile that most older siblings have perfected by the time they're ten.
I watched as the oldest uncle, tired from the constant screeches and games of the little ones passed out on the sofa. Then the 'fun' uncle came and instantly the family perked up and began to get even rowdier, playfully punching and cracking jokes. After a while all the older boys and uncles snuck out and smoked their cigarettes, presumably chatting and sharing less apropriate jokes. Watching everyone interact in the same ways that I had been with my family just a few weeks ago made me feel both far from my own home, and closer to this new one.