A Semester in Morocco
From January to May 2015, I lived in Rabat, Morocco's capital city, studying Arabic and journalism at the Center for Cross-Cultural Learning.
These events happened independent of one another. That should probably be clarified from the beginning. My tooth cracked last week during our village homestay... St. Patrick's day wasn't until nearly a week later. The catch is, the tooth incident happened in the middle of a dinner where the main dish was flava beans. Soft and mushy - nothing that even needed to be chewed.
In retrospect, I probably should have realized that the tiny, bone-like piece in my mouth wasn't some ingredient from the tagine in front of me. It didn't make sense, but I was more focused on what was going on around me that with what I was eating. So yes, thinking that this was nothing out of the ordinary, I swallowed a small piece of my tooth. If it counts for anything, I didn't know that's what it was at the time. I didn't even notice it was missing until after I finished eating and my tongue caught itself on the relatively sharp edge of the tooth that remained at the back of my mouth.
What better way to really immerse yourself in a place than to check out the dentistry scene?
I had an appointment made for Monday afternoon, the day we got back to Rabat. Badrdine gave me the address of the place he'd made the appointment for and after class, I grabbed a cab to bring me to the office in Agdal. I arrived to a seemingly vacant building with just two minutes to spare. I took the stairs to the first floor and knocked on door 3. I rang the doorbell. Nothing. The hallway I stood in was dark and empty - save for one man who walked by on his way to an upper level - but it had the name of my dentist on a plaque hanging at the top of the stairs, so I didn't think I had any reason to think I was in the wrong place; the only light in the hall came from the doorbell on the wall adjacent to where I stood. I waited for a few minutes, sure that I'd get an answer from someone at some point. I gave up waiting after ten minutes and called Badrdine - the first of many calls that we exchanged as we tried to figure out where the dentist was. Eventually, after almost 30 minutes had passed, I rang the doorbell of the only door that seemed to be occupied and I had Badrdine speak with the lady who answered it. It was definitely a weird and uncomfortable exchange... I used some broken French, not even knowing if she would understand, to ask her to speak with Badrdine on the other end. She seemed to get the point, and as odd as she found it to be she took the phone from my hands.