makethislast

kids say the darndest things

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on August 7, 2011

The following conversations unfolded this evening.

Convo #1: Walking around souk

Rkiya, oldest of my host sisters: You’re coming to our house tomorrow to break fast right?

Me: No, I’m going to Fatima and Ahmed’s house.

Rkiya, a hint of jealously in her voice: Fatima and Ahmed are mean to me.

Me: What? Why do you say that?

Rkiya: They hit me.

Me, shocked: When?

Rkiya: The other day.

While it’s not uncommon for kids to attack each other when they play together, I find this story unbelievable. Why? Mostly because Rkiya (as do most kids here) has a flair for exaggerating and also because, having known Fatima and Ahmed’s family, I find that their upbringing would not instill this level of violence in them onto others.

Convo #2: At my host family’s house between breaking fast and having tea

Annoying kid, I shall call you Yassine as a placeholder for your actual name because I’ve forgotten it by now. Yassine’s maybe 10 years old.

Yassine comes over with his mother and siblings. At first, he sits down across from me in the living room and eagerly greets me, making sure that I know he’s there. Done.

He gets up and steps outside. The next time he returns to the room, he makes it a point to sit, not on the other side of the pillow next to me but rather between me and the pillow, which leaves less than a foot of space between he and I.

That irked me because culturally, and more appropriately, a young male his age would not choose to sit so close to the taromeet (female foreigner) unless maybe she was a good friend with his family which I am not. Moreover, and unfortunately, that set off my creeper radar. Sadly, I get the feeling that this kid will grow up to be a creeper, unless an intervention, discipline, and education occur.

The next time he got up, I made sure to move the pillow next to me so that he’d have to sit on the other side of it. What does he do? He sits on the dang thing. Third time he got up, I propped the pillow up and placed my arm on it, pretending to use it as an armrest. What does he do when he returns? Also uses it as an armrest; in fact, his arm seems to fall just where mine is resting on the pillow. Clearly, I remove my arm at this point. Ew, ew, and ew.

I’m watching a show with Fatima, my youngest host aunt. I ask random questions around the show because the scenes challenge a lot of the cultural norms in my site, i.e., women with uncovered hair going to the hair salon.

Yassine mocks my Tashleheit and says, “She doesn’t know any Tashleheit.”

[Insert PC moment: There are the sweet wonderful people in site that are always happy to see you and vice versa. Then there are the people who pretend they know you and take every moment to disregard your efforts by saying something as discouraging as you don’t speak any of the language. After a while, you know whom you want to surround yourself with and who you can effectively ignore.]

I was playing with Rkiya. Specifically, we were play-boxing and I did a high circle kick above Rkiya’s head. Yassine was impressed.

Rkiya’s uncle enters the living room so we move our game out to the courtyard, where family members and a few guests are sitting around.

Yassine immediately tells everyone what I did. “Do it again,” he says, “do it again.”

Me: No, not yet.

Yassine: Hey, Diana, do it now. Do it now.

Me: No, I don’t want to yet.

Repeat for at least 10 times.

Yassine, turning to the family members and guests: We were watching a show inside. Diana said she knew what they were saying but she doesn’t even speak Tashleheit. She doesn’t even know the language.

…a few moments later…

Yassine: Diana, Diana, do it now. Do it now. Do the high circle kick.

Me, in plain Tashleheit: Sorry, I don’t understand Tashleheit.

That shut his trap effectively in that conversation.

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