For those of you keeping up, as far as medical issues are concerned, the blood results came back. As with the same tests this summer, they indicated my HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind) was a little higher than it should be, but that was it. So it appears to be kind of a fluke that my carotid is blocked. I've experienced some occasional numbness or pins and needles in different limbs, which I've reported to the doctor. But she didn't seem to think it was a large deal. But continuing with the regimen- taking 1/2 days off for the first week, taking drugs (mild asperin and cholesterol reducing drugs), reducing fat (which is very depressing since so much good stuff evidently has fat in it), and exercising. I'm supposed to do 40 minutes twice per week, and I'm trying to build up to that. I biked back to home from school the other day, which took 25 minutes, partly uphill. So I added to that a 15 minute speed-walk along the water's edge at the beach- which is actually a lot of fun, since you have to avoid all the guys playing football right there- about 200 guys in 15 minutes. Made it more like an obstacle course. 15 minutes speed walking brought me to just in front of Sidi Abdul Rahman. There are tombs to saints all over this country. It's a major part of folk Islam, the primary form of Islam practiced around the world, but especially present in this country. Similarily to how Christianity is often practiced, it mixes the orthodox elements of the religion with more popular ideas or practices. (In Christianity, think little angels with wings, astrology, or the idea that satan is a fallen angel, to name just a few- ideas not supported in the Bible, but expressed or practiced by some Christians.) There are a huge number of these tombs in Morocco, and if you go there and tie a ribbon or leave a sacrifice of chicken for the saint, etc., you get to be pregnant, or some malady is cured. (I left no chicken, and the ultrasound I mentioned in the previous post showed I wasn't pregnant.) Actually, we are banned from these tombs- like mosques, officially they can only be visited by Muslims. And though there are many throughout this country and most Muslims in the country believe in folk Islam and visiting saint's tombs and protecting yourself with amulets, these practices are severely frowned on by official Islam and in the large cities, like Dar Baida, Casablanca, and so there is only one, albeit very large, saint's tomb in the city environs.
We just had our first full on home tournament for football at the school, hosting 4 other schools. Girls came in 2nd, boys in 1st. I was unable to fully participate because of needing to take time off to recuperate. But the highlight for me was Imam Kelley's chearleading-dancing- she managed to get every one from every team excited about football! If they weren't excited and dancing, this bundle of energy would start dancing to the music being blared out until they joined with her.
This weekend, looking forward to heading back to Shoofshowen (Chefchaouen in French), where I've planned a retreat for a minority of the Global folks. (Pronounced Chefchaouen by the French- which is why their transliteration system never became universal.) Shoofshowen has to be perhaps the most beautiful town I've seen in Morocco- all painted the most beautiful blue from the Jews that used to live there. Very laid back, but looking forward to enjoying each other's company and spending time hanging out with my Dad. Only 6 rooms in the hotel for 16 people total, so we've booked out the entire hotel for our privacy!