Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Visit with my Friend, Rachid

I have a handful of friends that I skype with on a regular basis. [Skype is a free internet service that allows people at different computers to talk with each other, whether in chat mode, audio mode, or video mode, for free.] Of course, my UT teammates and I get together several times a week, my UH friend Debbie and I try to talk once a week, I'm trying to get Mom set up so she and I can talk once a week, and my husband and I skype daily when I am away from home. Today, however, was my day to skype with Rachid. My friend Rachid lives in a village in Morocco. Before today, all we have done was "chat" just a bit, but today he convinced me to spend a few minutes with him on a voice call, and I'm glad he did. When he got on the line, he chastised me a bit for being too busy, and reminded me that life is too short to rush through. He's right, of course. I assured him that my whirlwind existence is just for another year, then I will settle down and begin enjoying life. There are two problems with this story however. One is that I really do enjoy the whirlwind most of the time, and the other is that I am not so sure after all these years I can slow it down. I guess a year from now, we'll see. Rachid also talked about his business and his town. He told me that he runs a shop that sells items of interest from other parts of his country. I think it focuses on handmade items from craftspeople in the area. He explained that these people are very creative and very knowledgeable about their crafts, even when they do not have any higher education. His shop is near the tomb of a holy man, so he gets a lot of business from pilgrims making the journey to the site. When I asked if he traveled much, he told me that he has only been to other parts of his country and other parts of Africa. He told me of transporting wares in a camel caravan and promised me that the desert skies are much bigger than our own and that the desert stars are an amazing sight. When I told him his stories were making me want to buy a airline ticket, he joked that a flying carpet was more authentic (and warned me that I would not enjoy such a long camel ride). We had a very nice visit and talked of many things. Although there are a lot of my friends who would find the conversation as engaging as I did, I got the idea he thought my openness and acceptance of other cultures and ideas was not typical of Americans. I hope he's wrong on this point, but wonder if he's right. I promised that if Leo and I get a chance to come for a visit, we'll let him know ahead of time. He said he would be sure and prepare a nice meal, "fit for a queen". In the end, I told him that I would try to talk with him again next Sunday, if possible, since the conversation was so enjoyable. Now I'm thinking I might like to invite some others, with interests similar to mine, to join us for a discussion of how our lives and ideas are similar, how we are different, and how much fun it is to explore those amazing facets of who we are. En shala, Rachid, God willing.

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