“Experience”

As I sit here and bite into a DEEEEELICIOUS fresh fig, I have a moment to ponder. Strangely enough, I find myself in a homesick sort of revery. My tastebuds bringing on and creating new memories while my thoughts are focusing on old ones. It is a strange sort of feeling that happens more often than not. It is the feeling that I am living life here… going through the days… struggling through communication … taking three steps forward in a project, only to take three steps backward not soon after and all of this happening with a nostalgic feeling biting at my heels. The ease of summer …enjoying friends and family… Fourth of July… birthdays… pools… oceans… driving… all that reminds me of summer at home. Which of course brings memories of everything that reminds me of home… heaters, nice showers, Christmas trees, Christmas, Halloween, weddings! WEDDINGS!!!!! I am so excited for all of my friends that are getting hitched in the coming months-personally knowing that special feelings makes me more excited for THEIR WONDERFUL AND SPECIAL DAY!  I am forlorn, though, at the idea of not being able to celebrate their days with them… all for gaining “experience”? These feelings bring about notions and questions about when does gaining “experience” and living abroad become too selfish?

For as long as I can remember I have been ENAMORED with the idea of living abroad! The excitement, the culture, the PEOPLE! I adored* my time abroad in Spain and did not want to leave at the end of three months… there were few times where I found nostalgia for home creeping up behind me. However, here in Morocco- it is more like a friend that I carry around on my back. As the months have gone by… of course there are wonderful times and places that I have been. And much like many other aspects of life… it is really unfair to compare experiences/countries/people etc. But* when there are dear friends having babies, graduating, birthdays… and GETTING MARRIED*. I find myself thinking… “what am I doing here?”. I was fortunate enough to be able to share in my best friend’s wedding festivities (hopefully another post on that) but there are many more dear friends that Tyler and I are missing! And it makes me think… in the middle of our twenties… are we missing our prime?! Our time to go out and have a night on the town with good people and good food?! As I sit feeling less independent and sort of stuck in my “the town is a ghost town rut” with the call of prayer playing as a soundtrack to my thoughts, I know that my feelings have not been as positive about my experience as I might want them to be. I know, deep down, that negative feelings often complement and even encourage negative experiences. Even with the knowledge that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows at home… it is the missing out that hurts. It is the down time with family and friends… its the short visits… its the adventures into new parts of the city… it is helping friends move… having people stay with you… it is being there for the everyday life. It is the nuance of building a life in one place knowing that it will be a residence for more than two years versus the 27 months of a Peace Corps volunteer.

This post may have gotten a little lost along the way… but it is a perfect depiction of how I often feel. Never will we know if this was the “right” path – because really, what is the “right” path nor will we know how things might have been if we had never left. The only thing we really can do is make the “experience” worth it… make it worth the lost time with loved ones…. make it worth it by continuing to grow as people… and make it worth it by thinking of them often and keeping in touch with their lives. Time will be lost and some moments will never be made up but only the person who makes the choice to live abroad can answer… will this enhance my life in a way that I can add to those around me, or, am I really just giving up on those special moments than can never be had again?

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