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December 10, 2008 Word of the day: Djiwn

Djiwn is the past participle of the verb “to be full”. Whenever I feast at a Moroccan’s house – and just about every meal feels like a feast! – I eat till I’m full. I then thank the hostess, tell her I’ve been blessed by her bounty (with the very useful phrase “Baraka, lhumdullah, llah y xlf”, which translates literally as “I am blessed, praise God, may God replenish you”), and then sit back from the table. There’s always more food offered to me, and sometimes a whole ‘nother course, especially of fruit, which serves as dessert here. I’ll often nibble a little more, but when I’m really stuffed, I’ll say djiwngh, I’m full. If I’m stuffed beyond all recognition, I’ll say “Djiwngh kulshi”, which literally means “I’m full of everything,” but which I hope they understand as “I’m completely full.”

Today, after the Feast of Meat that was lunch, a handful of women were chatting, and Ama brought out the last of the chocolate chip cookies that we’d baked two days ago. These were from the first batch, which hadn’t had enough flour. They’d spread out rather grotesquely, forming brown puddles with chocolate chip islands clustered in their middles. They then cooled to be dark brown, somewhat crunchy, and riddled with holes. I’d also put them on the plate before they’d cooled enough, so they stuck together. On the whole, not aesthetically pleasing. After this semi-disastrous batch, we’d added flour to the batter, and subsequent batches were picture-perfect. Ama put those out yesterday to give to 3id guests, along with the cookies that she’d made without me.

Today, the funny-looking ones came out to provide GirlTalk snacks. My 3ttis were a little wary of them, since they were so flat and weird-looking, but after the first taste, they were sold. (They still *taste* like chocolate chip cookies, they just *look* odd.) Oldest 3tti said with a laugh, “No wonder you don’t eat meat. Why would you, when you can eat this, instead!” Everyone laughed at that, and I smiled. Apparently, my cousin, 3tti’s daughter, thought I was just playing along but hadn’t understood the joke (as happens quite a lot, so it was a perfectly valid assumption). She said, more slowly and clearly than 3tti had, “Mom just said to you that you don’t need to eat meat because you can eat cookies.” This time I laughed loudly, and everyone else laughed again. Between the Moroccan sense of humor, which is different from the American sense of humor, and the rapid flow of humorous conversation – which I still can’t follow at full speed, though I’m getting better at it – I don’t often get to feel like I’m sharing in a joke. This was a really lovely exception. :)

My sister only ate half of her cookie, though. I asked her if she didn’t like them. She said, “No, I do, but I’m djiwngh. I ate a ton of meat.” I grinned in understanding. Then I responded, “Well, I didn’t eat much meat, so I’m not djiwngh,” and I reached for another cookie.

I’d meant that I wasn’t stuffed beyond the ability to fit into my clothing, which is the connotation djiwn has always had for me. I didn’t mean that I was still hungry…but that’s how everyone interpreted it. Both 3ttis’ eyes widened, and they pushed the plate of cookies to me. A few minutes later, when Ama came back in from one of her many runs to the kitchen, Oldest 3tti informed her, “Kawtar’s not tdjiwn. She needs more cookies.” I protested, “No, really, I ate plenty of bread and vegetables,” but I reached for another cookie anyway. I was a little worried that Ama would run into the kitchen and make me an omelet or something, but she seemed to accept that I’d fill up on cookies. :)

So now I’m left wondering…how full is djiwn? Satisfied? Satiated? Full? Stuffed? Ready to be rolled out the door in a post-Thanksgiving-esque stupor?

I’ll check in with my tutor about it.

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