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So I was surprised by several things last Sunday:

  1. How much these Moroccan ladies can eat. Oh my goodness! "Viviana, just one banana!" No, I could not eat "just" one more banana after having eaten chicken and beef and (of course!) bread only three hours after I had eaten lunch. One more banana would make me pop. I was certain of it.
  2. How these Moroccan women can shake those hips!! Colombian women can certainly move their hips, flowing perfectly with the music. But Moroccan women? The quick drums and the ultra-fast rhythms made for some incredibly fast hip movements. I was simply amazed. When it was my turn to try, I wasn't even sure how to move in that way. What was I trying to move to? There was no way I could move to the speed of those drums.
  3.  There is always room for one more woman on the couch. Oh, yes there is. I'm not sure how many women fit on the divans, but there always seemed to be room to squeeze one more on. I thought I'd feel less squished when one would stand up to dance, but alas, no, somehow, we were constantly squished on the couches.
  4.  I was told I might be cold. I might be cold... so I should wear leggings and a tank top and two sweaters under my caftan in case I was cold in the house with dozens upon dozens of dancing women in it. Maybe. At one point I was wondering if I should brave the bathroom with the light that didn't work to try and take off one of the sweaters.

So I went to a typical Moroccan subha today, celebrating the birth of a beautiful baby girl. Subha comes from the number seven; the celebration generally is held seven days after the baby's birth. We arrived around 3:30, though the celebration had been going on for at least an hour by then. At least 40 women were in the two living rooms; many sat on the divans lining the walls, a few danced in the open space.

I was pulled into the "dance floor" a couple of times and the Moroccans loved seeing this white girl try to move her hips. "Just move your HIPS," they'd tell me. Yes, I know what my hips are. I just don't have the same kind of control over mine like you do over yours. I can see their confusion, though. I'm positive my hips weren't moving when they told me to move them, so it made sense for them to conclude that I didn't know what my hips were.

After a while they took us downstairs to eat. Oumaima told me to get ready to eat a lot of food. I breathed in sharply; lunch couldn't have been more than four hours ago. I still had plenty of tajine and bread in my stomach. But more bread was brought out and then a huge silver platter of chicken was served. I ate sparingly, but still found myself quite full. She leaned over and told me that more food was coming. The chicken was cleared and a silver platter of beef was brought out. I ate a bit, but didn't think I should out of fear of the food coma. But then an entire platter of fruits was brought out. I was urged to eat more. I had two small slices of pineapple, then scolded for not eating more fruit. I found a small strawberry and ate that. Oumaima's aunt asked my why I didn't eat just one more banana. Ma'am, one more banana would be the death of me.

We returned upstairs for more dancing, more food (yes, cookies and tea, of course) and more laughing.

Wowza. What a way to celebrate new life!


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