The plan was to take a break from Fus-ha, or Standard Arabic, to learn just enough Darija, or Moroccan dialect, to handle travel logistics and shopping. But now, only five hours into this new language--and indeed it is a new language--I feel I am in a whole new world. The characters are the same, but now I know what they are saying, and they understand me, too.
At the hamam: bzef de ness lyoma! (a lot of people today!)
Buying clothes: wash kayn ktar sagheer min hada? (is there one smaller than this?)
Buying coffee: smehli, khamsa mia gram, la khamseen (sorry, 500 grams, not 50)
Passing a friend in the street: aandi dars deba--nashoufak min baad (I have class now--see you later)
With Fatima, my wonderful teacher: kayajibni bzef naqra adarija, ktar min alfus-ha. naqdar nahdar ma ness. kul yowm, kanataalam shi haja jadida. (I like studying Darija a lot, more than Fus-ha. I can talk to people. every day, I learn something new.)
It's like I'm Jasmine and she's Aladdin, showing me the world beyond the balcony.