Be brave– try new things
This is my mantra for the Peace Corps– which I guess if you are a Peace Corps Volunteer (or PCV) and you don’t follow this, I am not sure how you survive!
So we are OFFICIALLY* in Morocco! It took me awhile to update because things got a little* crazy! After arriving in Rabat, we had a ton of training, language learning and shots 😦 (which is apart of being brave, even though I have been a bit stubborn in receiving them– the bravery is that I have* received them, right?)
We are in our training site which is in a little town called Ifrane (pronounced EE-frahn). In Morocco it is known as “Little Switzerland”– which looks like an adorable, quaint European town. Not exactly what I pictured when I imagined a Peace Corps site… but* keep in mind that Switzerland is cold. So basically in the desert of Morocco– we have been placed in one of the coldest climates. Which, if you know me and how much I despise being cold, you will see the irony.
Anyway, the picture below is of one of the more well-known landmarks of Ifrane. The statue of the lion (sbaa in Darija) represents a type of Lion that used to live in the Atlas mountains, I guess they were GIGANTIC and could only be found in these mountains. However, now they are extinct in the wild– but they are still a significant symbol in the culture of Morocco (their soccer team is named after the Lion).
We will be living with a host family for the next couple of months which is where my next pieces of bravery come in… Arabic is NOTHING* like English, for those of you who don’t know. And well, Darija (pronounced- dar-ee-sha, which is the Moroccan dialect) is very different from standard Arabic. So all in all…. communicating with the family has been, interesting. 🙂
Although it is difficult and takes a ton* of energy to think of the simplest questions, every day* seems productive. We have only been with the family for three days and already it seems like we have our own inside jokes and can eventually figure things out– even if it does take an hour for my host mom to figure out that I am asking if she needs any help in the kitchen. Or… if we still don’t know EXACTLY what our showering situation is like 🙂 Its all “shwiya b shwiya”… which is a saying for “little by little”.
Another act of bravery on my part has been the food. Now, I’m not saving lives or anything but… I officially am able to eat food OFF of the bone! After being a vegetarian//vegan for five years, I am really excited that I can do this! Now, this isn’t saying that I don’t still imagine the little chicken being alive and clucking around a farm or… the fish (like Nemo) wriggling around, BUT* I can eat it! Today’s lunch, albeit delicious, was a HUGE* milestone. I have never eaten fish off of the bone, let alone the skin and everything* else, well except for the head and tail. Our host family served three types of fish: anchovies, sardines and a big fish that I couldn’t understand the name… and I ate all three! After a bit of hesitation, Tyler and I dug right in. Of course our host family made jokes about how slow we took apart the fish and how terrible we were at picking the meat off of the bone– it was all in jest and in the humor that we have developed with the family. 🙂 After I was done– I felt brave and accomplished for trying something SO* new and SO* different from our culture.
Until my next post…… shwiya b shwiya 🙂