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The importance of being small

22 September, 2010
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Have some change to spare?

Neither do I… because I am carefully guarding my small bills and coin.

It seems that here in Morocco, smaller amounts of flus, or money, are at times more valuable than larger bills.  More than once, I have tried to pay for something (say totaling 24 MAD) with a 50 MAD or 100 MAD bill and have been told that I need something smaller.

In Chicago, it was a rare occurrence for me to have cash of any type on me because just about everywhere accepted credit or debit cards, even for small purchases like a pack of gum. I feel like I am adjusting with ease to living in a land where cash is preferred, if not required. The importance of guarding those precious small pieces, however, is something I’m still working on.

I’m also still working on keeping my profile small, and I would like to think that I’m getting better at it. Even though, as my host mom pointed out this weekend, I’ll never be small enough to totally blend in due to my fair skin, green eyes and dirty blonde hair, I have been able to tweak a few things that have made me feel more comfortable while in the public sphere. I’d also like to think that is why any harassment I was experiencing here has almost entirely disappeared.

What I have found to be helpful:

– Walking like I’m on a mission. I walk fast as it is, but looking confident and moving quickly seems to invite less obvious attention.

– Not making eye contact with everyone I pass on the streets.

– And my favorite, practicing my “bitch face” as it was called by the female co-owner of my language school here in Rabat. By looking unpleasant and unapproachable, I am made smaller and happier.

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