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3.20.2008

The 3id That Wasn’t

So today is the Prophet’s Birthday. Which is supposed to be a Really Big Deal. As in, we spent half an hour yesterday discussing the various ways that it’s celebrated, and we learned the phrases we’re supposed to say. We also were told that nothing happens before 9am, so we can sleep in. (L-mdrasa starts each day at 8, so I’m generally up by 7.) So…here’s my day.

7am – Wake up. Remember that H** told us that 3ids don’t get rolling until 9am. Go back to sleep.
7:30 – Wide awake. Decide to get up early and straighten up my room so that I can have my door ajar for the hordes of visitors H** told us would be coming.
8:00 – While half dressed, hear a knock at the door. Finishing dressing and discover Little Sis, announcing breakfast. An hour early…right?
8-9 – Breakfast followed by hanging out in the courtyard. Watch the boys make their windmills. Bounce the baby on my knee. He falls asleep in my arms. :)
9-10 – Increasingly confused as to what’s up. Watch Teen Bro get his head shaved.
10 – Mma tells me that my shirt is dirty. Which it is – it’s my dressy shirt, which I wore to meet the Quyd, and which therefore got massacred by the sandstorm. But I was told to dress up for the 3id (and told that, regardless of what I wore, the family would undoubtedly dress me up in traditional garb). Maybe they want me to change out of this outfit so they can dress me up…??
10 – 10:30 – Do laundry with Sis-in-Law.
10:45 – Sis-in-Law invites me into the house. Is this where I get dressed up in traditional garb??? No. She’s sweeping my room (over my protests) and wants me to watch so that I don’t worry about the invasion of my privacy. They take my private locked room very seriously. Giving me the key to the padlock on the door was the first thing they did, after all.
11 – Tea with the barber. (The guy who shaved Teen Bro’s head, anyway.)
1 – Lunch
2 – Off to l-mdrasa. Everyone else had comparable stories. H**, our usually unflappable LCF, was noticeably bummed. She said that she had talked to her family earlier in the day, and when they’d asked how the 3id was going, she’d said, “There is no 3id here.” :( On the plus side, we did get to meet the moqaddim of the village. He’s the mayor, more or less. I could elaborate on the meeting, but in the interests of political correctness, I won’t.
6 – Home again. I’m greeted with three kisses by Sis-in-Law. Is this an 3id thing, or a thank-you-for-getting-my-baby-to-sleep thing, or a thanks-for-doing-your-own-laundry thing, or is she just happy?
6:30 – Evening tea. Mma has a candy bar for everyone, including me. H** had explained that parents traditionally give gifts to their children today, and I guess this is the manifestation of that tradition, here.
8 – Dinner. Huuuuge dinner. I stuff myself silly on the vegetables in the tagine. Like every tagine, once the veggies are all eaten, the meat, nestled into the middle of the dish, is revealed. It’s usually a chicken thigh, but tonight it’s beef. It’s the first time I’ve seen beef in this house. (Note – beef is absurdly expensive in this country. Like, over 20 US dollars a pound, and that’s not even the choice cuts. And in this country, you can get a full-length outfit hand-tailored for 20 bucks. So that’s a loooot of money.) Since I don’t eat meat – and my host family has always respected that, humdullah – they’d hidden aside a hard-boiled egg for me. I protested that I was stuffed silly (djiwngh), but they protested more strongly that I had to have a meat equivalent. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gesture, and guessed that the meat was extra-important, because of the holiday. So I ate the egg, but waved off any hint of dessert. It helped that I was dozing off over the table. :) They sent me off to bed.

3id mubaruk!

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