Home is where the heart is….

Lately, I have mentioned (rather discreetly) that I have begun feel a little more than appreciation for Morocco. It is something I hesitate too loud, JUST* in case, something frustrating happens and then I can say… “See, I didn’t like it here anyway”. But of course, that is really no way to live.

As I try to put my feelings into words, I can’t help but notice that I feel like I have been through a terrible breakup and am starting anew in Morocco, and by breakup I mean, with America. Over the past year, I have been filled with feelings of loss, remorse and even heartbreak about leaving America and coming to live in Morocco…. these are some ways in which I have felt the “breakup”:

*The relationship was severed, cut off completely… one day there, the next day gone
* Many wonderful memories of the “good ole” days…. eating ice cream, running, going to see movies… OOF! Better stop there or I might have to rethink* the theme of this post!
*mutual friends that we used to see together (me and America) that we no longer see/hang out with; now I am trying to forage how to maintain those important relationships
*the bond that we shared…. vanished* with no explanation then followed by intense feelings of mourning and loss
*even at the slight mention of the beloved, the heart wrenches and breaks a little each time
*when the holiday time comes around, there is no holding it in…. it is sad and lonely and the wish that you were spending it with America won’t go away
*maybe* there are some self-help books laying around for those desperate times where a pick me up is needed
*a song comes on and you remember the exact details of that song when you were with America….

these moments can be downright heartbreaking.…..

However, being here for almost a year (ALMOST A YEAR!!!!!) is sort of like finding someone new….

*still unsure what to do/say/how to go about things
*you still have memories of your old “relationship” and sometimes it is REALLY difficult not to compare
*you can be REALLY happy when you are with them, but when you are by yourself… sometimes the sadness can still take over
*the newness of the relationship can be REALLY EXCITING!!!!!

and slowly but surely…. time begins to heal and the vivid memories of what WAS fade and the appreciation for what IS comes into focus, BUT*  there is still hesitation to admit that it is love.

This is my crossroads.… the difficulty is that I know I will see the lovely America again and as with a breakup sometimes it is hard to see the future with the past glaring in, but my love for Morocco is still blooming. I even find myself going through the “anger stage” of a breakup, remembering certain aspects about America and finding them appalling……

“Why is is that American produce is NOT cheap!!!!” It really makes me angry to think that sometimes we can pay up to $2/3 for as many as THREE tomatoes and I can buy TWO POUNDS here for FIFTY CENTS!!!!!!!!!!!! Its insane!

Or… “Why is there SO much pressure to own a car?”. I know that many people get by in America without having a car but here it really is TREMENDOUSLY easy… sometimes it takes a bit more time, but if there isn’t one kind of bus- you can try another! Or, if you don’t want to take a bus, you can take a taxi from city to city! Or, if you are in the North, you can take the train! Obviously, there are pros and cons to both and all of these may not be available (depending on the area of Morocco) but… it is much easier than I assume it would be in the states!!!

Anywho, back on track……I think that after this past week… I am ready to admit that I sort of love Morocco. There were three specific instances where I felt myself fill with warmth and happiness which when combined with many of my other feelings over the past 11 months can be attributed to love. Before I tell you about these instances, I want to preface the explanations with the idea of personal space. Here in Morocco, there really isn’t much in public areas… in a taxi between cities there are as many as seven people in the car, often times when you pass someone on the street – there is rarely much notice let alone an “I’m sorry”- and of course, you kiss almost everyone you meet (sometimes this is only women) anywhere from 3-7 times on the cheeks. However, I have found that within these routine actions… even though you are touching someone, there usually isn’t care or meaning behind the action. Which made me realize, I really miss hugging my friends and family or just being close with them!!!! So when first, a friend hooked her arm through mine as we were walking down the street, I was filled with warmth and belonging. Then, when I was feeling a little sick, our assistant mudir immediately took notice and reached over to feel my head to see if I had a fever. Even at 25 years old, this makes me feel cared for and I genuinely appreciated his concern. Lastly, this morning when I arrived to workout in my women’s class, one women put her arm around me and gave me a little squeeze. It may not sound like much, but these three actions all made me GLOW with happiness, belonging, and well… if I have to admit it…. love. Specifically love for Larache and the people that I have come to know, but also with deep appreciation for Morocco and its natural beauty.

So, although I wouldn’t say I am completely OVER America…but each new relationship helps you grow and learn, to be better and more well-rounded person for the future. And Morocco and I, of course, will have problems in the future- but what good relationship doesn’t? The important aspect is that you stick with it… work through it…. and have the good times to look back on.

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